how to deal with rejection

7 ways to turn rejection into learning

Whether it's our personal or professional life, facing rejection is inevitable. Here's how you can deal with it.

In life, we’ve all been rejected at one point or the other. Getting fired from our jobs, being separated from our partners or getting snubbed by our friends can all lead to feelings of rejection—and the pain that follows can be absolutely devastating, leaving us wondering how to deal with rejection.

Like a pinned needle on the arm, rejection of any kind continues to hurt long after the initial act has taken place. It can deprive us of peace and make us feel insignificant. We start seeing rejection as an indicator of self-worth, which makes us feel even worse.

The fact is, rejection always gives us an opportunity to grow. A study found that when people get rejected, they feel embarrassed, lonely and anxious. According to Guy Winch, a psychologist and author of Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts, “Even very mild rejection can really sting.”

Thankfully, there are effective ways to deal with rejection without letting it get the better of us. We can learn the practices discussed below to curb unhealthy responses, soothe emotional pain and rebuild self-esteem.

Accept and move on

When someone with whom you’ve shared a close relationship calls it quits, the pain you feel can be paralysing. You feel sad, angry and frustrated, all at the same time. But bottling up such emotions can only make you feel worse. According to a study, Unpacking Emotion Differentiation: Transforming Unpleasant Experience by perceiving Distinctions in Negativity, “Once you accept rejection, you can fully embrace your emotions and begin to control them to finally disconnect. If you don’t, they will always be there, waiting for their chance to return.”

Learn from the experience

Whether you’re trying to sell a product or pitching an idea to your manager, if your approach doesn’t work out, you’re likely to feel rejected. The important thing here is to learn from that experience. Be open to feedback instead of taking it as a personal hit. If you refuse to listen, you won’t be able to change your performance or your behaviour. Use what you’ve learnt to prepare yourself for the next opportunity that comes your way.

Don’t take rejections personally

When someone disregards you, it may be hard to not take it personally. You tend to feel hurt and your self-esteem plummets. A major knockback is enough to make you never want to put yourself out there again. However, some rejections aren’t as personal as they seem to be. If someone rejects your opinion because they prefer something else, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It simply means their opinions are different from yours.

Take it as a sign to try something new

How you respond to rejections can make a big difference in your life. Rejection can either be an excuse for you to give up, or it could become the reason to try something new, and perhaps more challenging. If you believe in the latter, you automatically make room for something that truly excites you and direct your energy towards that. This will help you find something that aligns with your own views and develop skills beyond your arsenal.

Be around positive people

When you feel rejected, it is important to be around people who accept you as you are. Your friends and family can provide the much-needed moral support, and assure you that you haven’t been shunned by the world. It is never easy, but once you learn how to deal with rejection, you can recover sooner and move forward with confidence.

Treat yourself with compassion

It is easy to belittle oneself after failing or being rejected. Don’t be harsh on yourself when you face rejection at work. Don’t jump to conclusions and dwell on negative emotions. Begin by developing a positive relationship with yourself. When you do that, you become more resilient. One way to do so is to make a list of all your positive traits and use it as a reminder of your self-worth. Another way to practise self-positivity is through self-care. Take a hot bath, go out for a walk or work out. Indulging in such self-care activities can help release the anger and frustration inside you, and make way for positive, self-affirming thoughts.

Don’t let rejection define you

Rejection is something that everyone faces now and then. No one is perfect. Even personalities like Stephen King, whose bestselling books have been made into several motion pictures, faced rejection many times before stumbling upon success. In his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, King wrote, “By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it.”

Hence, rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough. What it really means is you’re being redirected towards something much better.


Your wellbeing is a few clicks away.

Subscribe to your daily feed of positivity, wellness, and motivation.