Rejection is Simply Redirection: Learning to Handle a ‘No’

It can be incredibly difficult to deal with any form of rejection. Unfortunately, rejection comes in many different facets. Whether it be a potential love interest, a job, a particular opportunity or even a family member, the sting of rejection can run deep and negatively affect so much moving forward. The thing about rejection that many people don’t realize is that it’s part of life in the same way that laughter and tears are. It’s a guarantee. Being terrified of rejection is giving it more power than it deserves. Acknowledging that rejection is as common as winter or the bliss of hearing a tremendous song for the first time helps to negate the power it has over you. This allows you to have a quicker rebound rate so that you can enter into new experiences with the right type of energy. Rejection often means ‘elsewhere’, it doesn’t necessarily mean stop or it’s over. Navigating the monster of rejection is essential and can be done using these helpful tactics.

Acknowledge your emotions

No one is saying that rejection doesn’t hurt and that it doesn’t suck. It does, and for all intents and purposes, it should. Especially because rejection is often only tied to areas and aspects you care a lot about. Otherwise, you wouldn’t feel the sting of a ‘no’ as harshly as you do. It’s important to realize that you shouldn’t suppress or deny the pain of rejection. Acknowledge your pain, sadness, embarrassment and any other common emotion you may experience at that moment. Sometimes what makes rejection so bad is the aftermath. The moments of rejection aren’t usually as terrible as how it makes you feel and grappling with those feelings. Give yourself time, understand that your emotions are valid but also that they are temporary.

Be realistic

This may seem easy to say, and it certainly can be depending on the situation, but you should have a general idea going into a situation the possible chance for success. Even if you are naturally a very confident person, it will behoove you to think about every possible angle in a particular outcome. Don’t drive yourself crazy with the what-ifs but ponder them long enough so that you’re comfortable with each potential option. Suppose it’s a particular contest you’ve entered; be aware of the competition. While you believing in yourself is always a crucial element in putting yourself out there, realize that you not winning or even placing, doesn’t mean your entry wasn’t good. Maybe it didn’t have the exact, almost minuscule, element that put the others over the top, but that doesn’t by any means make it bad. Don’t go into an interview for a position you know you’re under qualified for and expect to get offered the job on the spot based on personality alone. Sure that works sometimes, but other times hiring managers are stringent and picky. Don’t take it too personally and prepare yourself for that possibility.

Diversify your focus

If you’ve sent a script to an agent or a piece of music to a producer, don’t be heartbroken when you get a rejection letter, or worse, when they don’t even bother to respond at all. Understand that rejection doesn’t mean you are awful or untalented or no good, it could just mean you aren’t what they’re looking for at that exact moment. If someone you like says they want to be just friends, going home to pine over them and make yourself miserable for weeks isn’t romantic, noble or honorary. It’s actually pretty sad. No one is saying you shouldn’t be allowed moments of emotion and mourning, quite the opposite, those moments are essential. But then get on with it. Send your work to other agencies and publishing houses. Date around, go out with friends, be active. Life and living doesn’t stop because you’ve had a distinct disappointment and it’s imperative to remember that.

Don’t take it personally

Even if the rejection seems to be steeped in a personal issue, usually those occurrences tend to deal with more interpersonal dynamics, try not to take it personally. As much as you can, remove your ego from the situation. Your ego is what can quickly put you in a spot of lack, weakness and negative reaction. If someone purposefully hurts you in any display of rejection, understand that it’s your ego reacting to theirs. They likely have something going on in their lives completely unrelated to you that is causing them to act out in malicious and purposefully hurtful ways. Keep as much perspective about the situation as possible even though it can be incredibly difficult in such circumstances. Though the instance mentioned above isn’t usually the standard, it can happen. Otherwise, the person on the other side of your rejection doesn’t begrudge you a single thing. They aren’t doing it to spite you and likely have no ill will against you.

Don’t let it define you

Rejection happens to everyone. As long as you start to see rejection as part of the process and not a definitive end to your particular journey, you’ll be okay. When you start to think that rejection should mean stop or quit or you aren’t good enough, you need to reevaluate. Rejection isn’t a stopping point; it is an adjusting point where you take stock of what happened and possible reasons why. Rejection can be a tremendous aid to self-awareness and growth. Instead of harping on the ‘no’ think about all the ways you can learn and grow from the experience. Think of what you can examine and put into perspective. These things you can take into your next similar situation. When you go through certain rejections, you learn how to pivot and grow in a way that can directly improve your approach the next time you’re in a similar situation. Rejection, though it can be difficult, isn’t at all the end of the world.

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