As toddlers, we can recall how the sting of rejection made us feel when we heard the word “no”. And now as adults, not much has changed, no one is ever thrilled when told “no”. Rejection immediately opens the floodgates of emotions. Suddenly, there’s an overflow of negative thoughts pouring into your mind. And because thoughts become feelings, the negative thoughts become feelings of disappointment, frustration, depression, and abandonment. And let’s not forget, rejection feels like it’s truly the end of the world. However, there’s a silver lining to rejection. Sometimes rejection is direction.
It’s so easy to take a “no” personally. Instantly, you begin to wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” The rejector may have valid reasons for not choosing you. With your bruised ego, take it as a learning opportunity. Putting yourself out there and getting rejected is just part of the game. No one receives a “yes” all the time. Your confidence does take a hit, but be a good sport and accept that you’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Repeat after me…. Sometimes rejection is direction.
In retrospect, majority of my rejections were meant to point me in the direction of the path I was to take all along. Even with egg on my face, I had to acknowledge that a “no” was for the best. I didn’t accept this until I was much older but rejection is actually a favor in a disguise. It’s a favor because it increases your chances of finding something better tailored for you. Don’t allow a “no” to tempt you into giving up. Eventually, you’ll find that someone or something that better aligns with your values.
Here are a few tips on how to take rejection gracefully:
Acknowledge your emotions. Don’t ignore your feelings. Face the uncomfortable emotions head on. Allow time to process what you’re feeling.
Use affirming positive self-talk. Drown out the inner critic with repeating positive statements to boost your self-esteem. This helps keep you mentally strong.
Refuse to let rejection define you. One person’s opinion doesn’t determine your self-worth. Keep rejection in proper prospective.
Learn from rejection. Turn the experience into an opportunity for personal growth. Look at rejection as the “teacher” and not as the “bad guy”.
Stay busy after the rejection. Keep your mind and body busy with house chores, exercise, and other leisure activities. (Oh, and shopping. A little shopping always perks me up.) These activities will help lift your spirits post rejection. Research shows physical activity that gets your heart rate up allows your body to release feel-good endorphins.
Let it out to a friend. You can release pint up emotions to a close friend or family member. As you vent, you can see with more clarity for understanding what happened. Another person may be able to share advice for moving forward.
So whether you’ve been excluded from a social event, passed up for a promotion, or stood up by a date, dust yourself off and go at it for another round. It make take a few tries before something works out. And that’s quite alright. Occasional closed doors make celebrations that much sweeter for when the right door opens.
Listed below are just a few inspiring individuals that didn’t allow rejection to keep them from sweet success.
JK Rowling – over 10 major publishers rejected the Harry Potter manuscript. After finally sealing a deal, the Harry Potter series has gone on to earn over $400 million in book sales.
Lucille Ball – starred in many second-tier films at the start of her career. She became a household name when she received her big break on the sitcom “I Love Lucy”.
Sidney Portier – bombed his first audition for the American Negro Theatre. After working on his craft, he became a huge successful Hollywood star.
Colonel Harland Sanders – his chicken recipe was rejected over 1,000 times before a restaurant owner went into a business agreement with him to sell his chicken. At the age of 62, he began franchising his chicken business, Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Sir James Dyson – In developing his vacuum, he created over 5,000 prototypes that failed. The 5,127th prototyped worked and the Dyson brand became the best-selling bagless vacuum in the USA at that time.
Rejection is not the final destination. Therefore, rejection doesn’t make a goal unattainable. It might just take you longer to get there but keep taking the necessary steps to achieve the goal. Don’t let rejection stop you. Just pivot. Say it with me, “Sometimes rejection is direction”. Let rejection become fuel for you. You know who are and what you’re capable of so keep going after your goal.