How to get past rejection

May 23, 2016

Getting rejected stinks, plain and simple. We wanted something — a job, a fresh opportunity, a relationship with someone — and we didn’t get it. What’s to like about that?

Nothing — right?

Even worse than the initial sting of rejection is the ripple effect it can have on our lives. We start to doubt ourselves. Our motivation plummets. We’re afraid to put ourselves out there again.

Here are three strategies for getting past the awful feelings that rejection brings with it (for more tips like this delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for the Unstuck Advice email):

1. Trust that it isn’t personal.

We know — rejection feels personal. But the truth is, when someone doesn’t choose us — professionally, romantically, or otherwise — it’s not proof of our value (or lack of value).

Instead of seeing rejection as a reflection of who you are (He doesn’t want to date me, so I must not be dateable), consider what it tells you about the other person’s needs, which are outside of your control: Pressure their boss is putting on them, a headache, or the coincidence that you happen to look exactly like their ex-girlfriend (the one that broke their heart).

The rejection may still hurt, but you can start to see it as a decision that affects you, as opposed to a decision that defines you.

2. Give yourself credit.

Rejection is actually evidence of your courage.

Trying something makes us vulnerable, which makes trying one of the bravest things you can do. Tell yourself,  “It stinks that I didn’t get what I wanted — and, I’m proud of myself for taking a chance.”

Acknowledging your bravery is the first step to screwing up the courage to try again.

3. Try saying “Yes, and.”

Saying “yes, and” in the face of rejection allows us to acknowledge the negative (Yes, it stinks that I didn’t get the job) while also acknowledging something positive that is equally true (And, I’m more confident than ever about the direction I want my career to take).

Try saying “yes, and” to rejection and see how it opens you up to a new way of looking at things.

Rejection doesn’t have to be the end of the story. These strategies can help you find the energy and spirit to try again.

More ways to live courageously:

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