A girl with her hand out in rejection

“Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.”
– Harvey Mackay

Rejection is inevitable. It’s painful and it’s uncomfortable. It’s also activated from the same part of the brain that physical pain comes from – which explains why most of us do everything possible to avoid it. Rejection knows no bounds and will invade social, romantic and job situations alike. Most men fear it even more than the last call at the bar when we’re out enjoying a great night. Whether it’s personal or professional, rejection straight-up sucks.

When it comes to personal rejection, you may find yourself being excluded from social engagements, being turned down for a date, or being ghosted online. Professional rejection can come in the form of someone else getting that promotion you were working towards, or not getting the job you thought you were an ideal match for.

It all comes with an undeniable negative emotion – which certainly makes us turn bitter and frustrated. And no doubt – whatever form it comes in – it hurts. Maybe a bit. Maybe a lot. But there are several ways to deal with these unwanted feelings.

Know Your Self-Worth.

a sitting cat with it's shadow showing a sitting lion behind it

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Confidence. Is. Everything. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “there must be something wrong with me…” especially when you don’t get a second date or that grand promotion. But your self-worth shouldn’t be dictated by how others see you or treat you. If you are truly doing the best job you can, you are less likely to be wounded by someone rejecting you. The real work comes in recognizing that rejection can be an opportunity for self-evaluation and growth.

There are always two main things to take away from every “rejection” scenario:

  1. Is this something I can improve on?
  2. Is this simply something that I have no control over?

There is a lot of value in discovering which one applies to your specific situation.

Don’t Take It Personal.

rejection sign saying welcome to rejection stay strong

Rejection isn’t (always) personal. Sometimes, it’s a cold-hard fact that “she’s just not into you”, and sometimes you just have to accept that and move on. Easier said than done, of course… but at the end of the day, it’s more about what they don’t want versus what you have to offer. If you can mentally make that flip in the brain then you can take the ‘personal’ aspect out of it, and treat it like transactional human behaviour. Yes, acknowledge that it’s not a good feeling – but recognize it’s normal and you will eventually move past it. One person’s opinion should never define who you are. Just because someone else thinks one way about you, does not mean it’s even remotely true.

Put Yourself Out There.

diagram showing to put yourself out of your comfort zone

It’s not always the pain of rejection that’s the problem. Sometimes it’s the worry about what might happen that keeps us paralyzed and afraid. We get so nervous we “reject” ourselves before we even try. Truth is, if you never get rejected, you may be living too far inside your personal comfort zone.

“With great risk comes great reward”

The famous quote that you should (literally) repeat to yourself on a weekly basis. You can’t be sure you’re pushing yourself to your limits until you get turned down every now and then. When you get rejected for a project, passed up for a job, or turned down before/during/after a date, you’ll at least know you’re putting yourself out there. We each have the capability to “bounce back” – even stronger than we were before. When we do this, we win. The world will not end because one person made you feel a little less important for one small moment in time.

Choose An A+ Support System

People's Hands layered on top of each other

From a young age, we were told to surround ourselves with good people. These people are rare, and often hard to find… but they are essential for living a good life. The mental support we receive from our friends is crucial as we get older. Whether your squad consists of one or twenty friends, you have to be able to trust them (even with those embarrassing, hard-to admit stories). No matter how minor or severe your situation may be, your friends will help you avoid extensive wallowing over a particular incident. Take a moment to evaluate your circle. Who has your back? Which ones will drop everything to sit and listen to you when you’re in a weak state of mind? Choose wisely – it’s going to be one of the most important things you ever did.

Keep. Going.

someone rolling a huge rock up a hill

The moment you experience rejection and decide to push through anyway, you automatically separate yourself from 99% of the people out there who got rejected and chose to quit. There are thousands of opportunities out there, and thousands of reasons to keep trying. With each rejection, our skin grows thicker and our energy grows stronger. We all vibrate at different frequencies and inevitably the energy we attract will be different in every scenario. From this perspective, you’ll learn to see that rejection is a merely an obstacle to overcome.

Truth is, we all face a massive fear of failure. Whatever the reason, getting rejected hurts. You want to get over it, and you want to get over it fast. So it’s up to you to keep a positive mindset, recognize rejection for what it is (= temporary), and understand you have the capability to move past it. The world can definitely be harsh at times, and it’s not always going to be fair. But in the end, it’s how you manage the fear of failure that will determine your ultimate success.