Big Girls Don’t Cry…Or Do They? How To Get Back Out There After Rejection

Now Brewing: Van Houtte Cherry Chip Swirl. I got these K-cups last year on a whim and am so thrilled that I did. These are perfect with a dash of milk and a tap of cinnamon and nutmeg on top; a fall favorite for me now.  

Rejection hurts: I think that is a fact of life that most of us can agree on. 

And it is not always the big stuff—the college rejection letters, the turndowns on getting your work published or the “dream job” rejections. Sometimes the everyday rejections, like your friends forgetting to invite you to dinner or telling a joke that doesn’t reward you with a laugh—that hurt the most. 

But in a world where rejection is almost commonplace, we have to learn not to fear rejection. 

If you are out there getting rejected, it means you are DOING something; and that is so important.  Despite getting rejected, you’re taking the chances to do something, anything; rather than giving up. 

In a time of my life that rejection has become almost a daily factor, I’ve relied on reminding myself that being rejected doesn’t mean that I’m not  liked, valued, or important. It just means that one time, in one situation, with one person, things didn’t work out. 

I think this post is an important one for me to share not only with my fellow writers who might be struggling with rejections of their agent queries, like I am; but also my fellow upcoming and recent college graduates that are trying like hell to find a place in this world. 

As I try myself to cope with the feelings of rejection that have washed over me in the past few weeks between job applications, my agent queries and the day-to-day mini-rejections that are definite mood-killers; here are a few tips I’ve used to help keep myself afloat.

     1. Acknowledge the rejection

Be honest not only with yourself, but also others. It is not going to do anyone, especially yourself, any good if you push your feelings under the rug or try to play your rejection off. Instead of telling yourself that you shouldn’t feel this way, take a moment to evaluate why you do.

                Was this an important decision that you got rejected on?

               Was the person who made you feel rejected someone close to you?

Were you excited about the opportunity and what it would mean for your future?

 Instead of focusing on why you should not feel that way—remind yourself that you’re not alone in feeling like you do and that it is totally normal to feel this way, given your situation.

 If you chose to tell someone else about what happened and how you feel about it. Take the time to pick someone who will both listen to you and be supportive. We all have the friends who do not actually care about our problems and frankly, when you’re feeling down about rejection, you shouldn’t have to deal with those kinds of people.

Telling someone else about your feelings about the situation can be reassuring that someone understands what you’re going through and also forces you to put your feelings into words; which can help you to move past the feelings of rejection by working through them with your trusted confidant.

        Author’s Note: Your mother is by far the best suggestion I can give you for said confidant.

    2. Be Positive

I cannot stress enough the importance of this one. It is so easy to get caught up in a bad feeling when you’re dealing with rejection—and even more common when you’re dealing with repetitive rejection like you might during a job search or while trying to get your work published. Dwelling on the negative aspects of the situation feels like living the experience over and over again on a loop—not only does it continue to hurt, but the longer you take to get yourself out of the funk, the harder it becomes to get past the rejection in the long run.

So admit how you feel, but do not spend longer than necessary dwelling on it. Avoid thinking about it for small amounts of time, and then longer amounts of time until you’ve put it off your mind. Negative thinking influences our expectations and how we act, which could in turn lead to future rejection once you get back out there—so spending as little time thinking negatively about the rejection is very important to helping you get back on the horse.

Also, when you are considering the rejection, pay mind to the facts of the situation—not your analysis. For example, if you got turned down for a date, it’s  because the person did not want to go with you, not because you’re not attractive or a loser.  If your query to an agent earned you a rejection, it is because the agent did not want to represent you; not because you’re a terrible writer or your idea stunk. If you got turned down for a job; it’s not because you’re not intelligent or qualified—it is simply because they did not want you for that position.  If you continually justify your rejections with alternate “reasons” why you got turned down—it can make you feel like you always will get rejected. Rejection can hurt a lot and be terribly disappointing, but it is important to remember that life goes on and you have plenty of chances to succeed.  

   3. Use The Rejection To Your Advantage

Rejection provides us with a chance to consider if there are aspects that we can improve on. Use the opportunity to think about whether there’s room for improvement or if your goals were higher than your skills.

Although your skills weren’t strong enough this time, you can work on your game, your writing, your interview technique, or whatever it takes to improve your chances of getting accepted next time. Use the rejection as an opportunity for self-improvement.

Rejection can be a harsh reality check. But if you approach it right, it could help nudge you in a direction that turns out to be the perfect fit for your talents, personality and all the really great things that make you who you are.

   4. Take Your Time and Space 

It may take awhile to feel better after you’re rejected, especially if you were excited about the opportunity or were close to the person who made you feel this way. It is important to realize that this is perfectly normal and that feeling content about the experience is not going to happen overnight. 

It is possible that being around people that seem to “have it all going for them” can be difficult for you when you’re feeling down in the dumps about being rejected; it’s also perfectly normal to distance yourself from these people until you feel better. Sometimes being around people who threaten your happiness and self-worth is more hurtful to you than you distancing yourself from them for a couple days would be for them.  

Although rejection is a part of life, it really should not be something that we fear so much. The most important thing to remember about rejection is that it does mean that you took a chance, you did something. Like I said, you need to keep in mind that although it hurts, you gotta keep taking those chances and doing things.  Taking rejection and making it a chance for improvement can lead to great opportunities in the future—at least that is what I keep telling myself.

For more tips on how to handle rejection:

Why Rejection is Good For You and Me

Rejection Isn’t Just Okay, It’s Necessary

Time to get back on the horse,  

Kathryn E. Weast

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