We all have to suffer the sting of rejection at some point in our lives, but do you know how to handle rejection? You may be turned down by a love interest, rejected for a job you applied for, or feel left out of a friendship group. All of these scenarios are hurtful, particularly when you’ve put yourself out there only to get a “no” in return.
When we suffer from the hurt of rejection, it’s easy to let it hold you back and to not be willing to put yourself out there again. This reaction, however, can cause you a lot of problems further down the line. An unhealthy response to rejection can have a negative impact on your personal relationships and in some instances can lead to debilitating conditions such as depression and anxiety.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways for you to handle rejection and come out the other side feeling stronger than ever. Getting rejected isn’t the end of the world and going through it can help you to learn valuable lessons and be more resilient. Let’s take a look at some psychologist-approved tips for how to handle rejection.
1. Recognise why the rejection hurts
Before handling rejection, you’ll first need to understand why rejection hurts so much. It’s absolutely not because you are being overly sensitive or weak!
The fact of the matter is linked to our evolutionary learned behaviours about survival. Psychologist Dr Guy Winch explains:
“In our evolutionary past, when we were hunter-gatherers and living in tribes if we were ostracized from the tribe or if we were kicked off the island, we would die. We couldn’t survive alone. So, we developed this early warning mechanism of rejection. If you experience rejection as painful, you’re more likely to change your behaviour, correct it and be less likely to be kicked out of the tribe.”
As well as our evolutionary behaviours, we also develop an attachment style and model for developing relationships for an early age. As an infant, if you have healthy interactions with your caregivers you will develop the security of feeling lovable and worthy of love. On the other hand, if you develop an insecure attachment style you will be more inclined to view yourself as unworthy and unlovable. These styles have an impact on how well we are able to handle rejection.
2. Prioritise self-care
Immediately following a rejection, the initial pain we feel means we’re not usually in the right space to think about it clearly. While you may be feeling hurt and angry, releasing these emotions i.e., by lashing out or screaming, won’t help you to squash negative feelings.
Instead, you should take some time to practice self-care and focus on you. Try engaging in the things that make you feel good and calm you down. Activities like these will help:
- Going for a run or exercising
- Yoga and meditation
- Taking a long bath
- Listening to podcasts or music
3. Process how you are feeling
Once you’re feeling calmer, you can start to think about how you are feeling and how to handle rejection. It may help you to write down all of your emotions and link them to your thoughts. Doing this can help you to unravel your thoughts and get a bit of distance that will then enable you to handle the rejection better.
4. Affirm your strengths and values
Experiencing a rejection can cause us to place a lot of blame and self-doubt on ourselves. This is why it’s important to remember what your strengths and values are and ultimately, what makes you you. You’ll feel stronger once you remind yourself of what you have to offer and what makes you great.
5. Spend time with loved ones
Any time that you are faced with how to handle rejection, one of the most important things you can do is remember all of the people that are on your side. Just because one person or thing has rejected you, doesn’t mean that you’re alone or that others will.
Spending time with loved ones will help you to view your rejection with some perspective and to feel connected, loved and valued by others.
6. Think about loved ones
If spending time with loved ones isn’t possible at the moment, just thinking about someone important in your life can be beneficial. Have a look back through some photos of you enjoying yourself with your friends and family and remind yourself of the connections and support you have. This will comfort you and help you to deal with rejection.
7. Don’t beat yourself up
It’s all too easy to start beating yourself up over what may have led to you being rejected but doing this will only make you feel worse. Avoid dwelling on all the reasons that you could have been rejected and focusing on what’s wrong with you. Be kind to yourself!
A better area to focus on is whether there is anything you can learn from your experience. You’ll want to do this objectively and compassionately without beating yourself up.
8. Get into some healthy habits
Are you getting enough sleep? Have you been eating healthily? If you aren’t taking care of yourself and your body, rejection will be much harder to handle and get over. To give your coping mechanisms a boost you should ensure that you are living a healthy lifestyle which includes eating well, regular exercise, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep.
9. Don’t let rejection hold you back
Whichever type of rejection you are suffering and no matter how painful it is, one of the biggest lessons to learn is not to let rejection hold you back. Getting rejected is a part of life and we all go through it. Keep this in mind and don’t let it stop you from perusing future endeavours. Let’s learn and move forward with confidence!
What did you think about our tips on how to handle rejection? Do you have anything to add? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts.