No matter your cultural background, tax bracket, or religious preference, we all have dealt with rejection at some point in life. Even down to not getting invited to that sleepover in 6th Grade or receiving that ‘thanks-but-no-thanks’ letter from our first choice in colleges, rejection stings.
The more we grow and the older we become, how we process this inevitable part of life is a major factor in our overall well-being. No one likes to be abandoned or tossed to the side, especially when you had your hopes up. From relationships to career goals, it hurts when you’re turned down.
I remember applying for jobs like a mad woman during my final semester of college. Even with three internships under my belt, it seemed as if no one was hiring a wannabe news reporter. I remember finally scoring an interview with one of the TV stations on my radar. It was a total disaster.
The news director was a total jerk and the salary they were offering me was laughable. When I never heard back from him, my feelings were beyond hurt. I felt unwanted. (Fun fact: this one moment rerouted me to evaluate my interests and become a rockstar news producer). Little did I know, everything was working on my behalf.
But before I knew any of what was to come, I internalized the rejection. My feelings were hurt and I went into every opportunity with a major pessimistic attitude allowing this one moment to completely diminish any glimmer of hope for my success.
From that experience alone, here are eight ways that I’ve learned to cope.
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
You’re mad? Be mad. You’re sad. Be sad. You’re indifferent? Be indifferent.
Your feelings matter. You have every right to feel the feels. Never sweep your emotions under the rug. Take the time you need to process how you’re feeling and take the necessary steps to get back to the regular you.
Defeat is only temporary, don’t succumb to the small battles.
2. Don’t deflect.
Rejection can become the purple elephant in the room and, eventually, that elephant is going to trample you. This is why #1 is so very important.
You can pretend like nothing happened, but in all reality, the situation is alive and well. Be honest with yourself and take inventory of the moments leading up to the rejection and find a solution to heal the wounds.
3. Give Yourself a Break
Chances are you’re blaming yourself (or the world) about whatever decision has you feeling rejected. We are our own worst critic. Life throws enough daggers our way, so don’t go around disrespecting yourself too! Living in a constant state of “what ifs” will drive you up the wall.
There comes a time when we have to come to terms with things not going our way. You were turned down for a reason–some reason, whether valid or not–and maybe, just maybe it wasn’t actually all your doing. Beating yourself up won’t change the outcome. Don’t worry, there will be time for reflecting on what you could have done better later.
4. Do some soul searching
Maybe this opportunity wasn’t for you. Often rejection can provide a space to sharpen your focus and redirect your original purpose. Never allow “no” to define you.
Cleanse your psyche and meditate on the positive. Truly assess your motives and determine whether you’re focusing your energy in the right spaces. Mental clarity is often the only clarity we need.
5. Treat Yourself
Self-care is the best care. Go to bed really early. Treat yourself to a massage. Read that guilty pleasure novel you’ve been dying to buy. Go see a movie.
Whatever you do, have some alone time doing something else. This always helps me remember that my current situation is just a drop in the bucket of life.
6. Ask for Feedback
Ok now that you’ve healed and are getting your head back on straight, it’s time to get down to business.
It’s so easy to bang your head against a wall trying to figure out what you did wrong or what you didn’t do so well. So just ask.
Send a follow-up email to ask for tips on improving. Or, just blatantly ask what didn’t make you the best candidate/option/etc. Do tread lightly as you don’t want to come off too aggressive.
If requesting a second meeting or follow-up isn’t an option, find someone you trust in a similar industry or position to give you feedback. No, this doesn’t mean to call up your best girlfriend because chances are she’ll side with you, and that’s actually not what’s best for you right now.
Find the person who will be transparent and guide you in the right direction in the event that another opportunity arises. You’ll have a plan of attack. You never know how you come off to others until certain behaviors are called to your attention.
7. Seek Alternatives
Maybe this opp wasn’t for you. Every failure in life is inevitable rerouting you to the necessary path. Take it in stride. Once you’ve assessed this opportunity and why you weren’t the person for the job, find the one that is.
8. Try Again
Become one with perseverance. Boss girls don’t throw in the towel that easily! While these tips may be easier said than done, you must know that you are greater than the forces that seem to be against you.
What if rejection knocked them down to a point where they never got back up?! The odds are always rigged in your favor. Believe it! Hang in there.