A few weeks after I finished university, I realised that I had to get better at dealing with rejection.
As a graduate or just as a young person, you will be rejected from job applications, relationships and friendships, freelance work, a mortgage, loans – the list literally goes on and on.
You’re basically guaranteed that someone will swipe left on you in real life as well as an app.
So how do we get better at dealing with rejection?
As rejection makes you feel horrific. You feel as though someone kicked you in the stomach and smiled as they left. It’s infuriating, embarrassing and it is almost all of the time unwelcome.
In a similar way to discussing how I’ve failed so far this year (here), I’ve also been rejected a considerable amount this year. And most of those rejections made me feel as though I was a failure.
Rejection is an inevitable part of life, so we’ve got to take in on the chin and get back up again and be ready to get rejected again.
I’ve found that the more I’m rejected and the more I embrace it, the more I feel better about the experience. It doesn’t have a hold over me anymore, and life is too short to be dwelling on being rejected.
How to get better at dealing with rejection:
Don’t take it personally
This is so important. If you’ve been rejected for a job, don’t take it personally. It says more about them than it does about you. Most of the time with jobs they aren’t transparent about what they’re looking for and then you waste your time and their time by being interviewed for a job that wasn’t right for you.
It’s harder in relationships or friendships, but if another person rejects you then they don’t value you and anyone who doesn’t see your value doesn’t deserve to be in your life.
I didn’t feel like this when I was dumped, but no one does at the time. But I also believe that it wasn’t my fault and that I am not unloveable, or unworthy of attention and affection. But I also would rather pluck my eyes out than see these guys again – some things don’t change over time.
Potentially friendship rejections are even worse though. It is brutal when people cut you out or forget you exist, but it’s not about you and it’s certainly not your fault. Being able to not take things personally is a skill we all need to learn.
Focus on the benefits
Maybe you now don’t have to move house? Or work for a misogynistic man? Or commute every weekend to see that guy or girl you’ve been seeing?
You’ve saved your sweet sweet time, effort, money and sanity.
There is always a positive within a rejection, sometimes a rejection is even a blessing in disguise. I applied for a job in Birmingham years ago and I am very glad that I do not live there, I’d be so far away from my friends and family and MY DOGS!
Embrace it as best you can
This won’t be possible all the time, especially straight after you’ve been rejected. Perhaps you spent three weeks doing interviews for a job and now you’ve had an email to say that you’ve been unsuccessful. That sucks.
You can take an hour or two maybe a whole evening to dwell and feel a bit pissed off and sorry for yourself. Maybe order a pizza, re-watch Friends for the 3,000th time, drink a bucket of wine and really splash out for your pity party for one.
Taylor Swift and Adele have literally made number one hits and best selling albums from their rejections. Be more Tay Tay, embrace the rejection and shake it off.
Great things happen if you use your rejection as fuel, rather than dwelling on it. So after an excellent pity party, get up the next day with the mindset of: OK that was not meant to be.
No feeling (even bad ones) last forever, but if you accept that this has happened to you then it eases the process.
Give yourself time
You won’t feel great after being rejected, no one ever does and you never will. But it’s important to give yourself time to process your feelings and the experience.
Don’t expect to ever feel ok about or like being rejected, but you can get better at coping with it over time.
Everything feels much worse in the moment. A few days, weeks or months later and that rejection doesn’t hurt anywhere near as much.
Remember the other rejections that you’re now grateful for
You know that guy or girl you went out with? Then it ended and you look back now and think THANK GOD FOR THAT. (Alexa play, Better off without you by Becky Hill.)
Well that’s how you need to view all your rejections.
Rejections are the close call between living the life you’ve got now and the life you wanted at another point in time that actually wasn’t right for you. Failing or missing out on something or an ending is a new beginning.
You wouldn’t be who you are today without your rejections.
The big picture: the open doors
When you’re rejected it means that SO many other options have now become available to you. Yes, one tiny option has gone, but that’s one option. Focus on the bigger picture.
It could be that you can now apply for your dream job, go back to university, meet new people, move somewhere new.
Embrace a rejection as best you can and utilise it as a chance to repurpose that area of your life.
How do you deal with rejection?