Feeling rejected is never fun, but Schnel Hanson explains how we can turn the experience from a self-worth saboteur into an opportunity for growth
This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Happiful
For some of us, it’s accompanied by confusion, for others by sadness or anger, but regardless of which emotion you most relate to, this is a feeling all of us will be familiar with at some point in our lives – the feeling of rejection.
Whether it’s the result of family relationships breaking down, or an unsuccessful job interview, rejection can come in so many different forms. The list can feel endless, with some forms of rejection causing immense emotional pain, while others may simply make you feel lost, and like giving up. Everyone will experience rejection differently, since no two people will go through the exact same situation and feelings; however, one thing that is universal is that we all do experience rejection, and it’s something we must learn to overcome.
It is at that exact moment where we are most feeling the rejection that we need to try to reframe it and, instead, see it as an opportunity for redirection. Naturally, this can be incredibly challenging to do, but this is a time where we can learn so much, and flourish from what our experiences have taught us.
As a Rapid Transformational Therapy therapist, I speak to and work with so many people on a daily basis to help them overcome personal challenges, and what I’ve seen is that the impact of rejection is very similar to fear. While fear is inside our minds, it is incredibly powerful, and when left to grow can take over and control an individual’s life – and the same thing happens with rejection.
When we don’t deal with these feelings this past experience can be brought into the present, and an individual may now be so fearful of events repeating themselves that they no longer take risks, or chances, or let themselves enjoy their lives. In the end, fear and rejection can hold us back.
The good news is that there are many different things we can do to help ourselves overcome rejection, and other similar experiences. Here are my top five tips and tricks to try if you are currently facing this challenge.
Recognise the rejection, and allow yourself to accept it
Rejection is a horrible feeling, and something we all seek to avoid wherever we can. However, if and when this does happen, it’s important not to slip into denial, or try to ignore the situation and your feelings. Instead, you must learn to accept this in order to help yourself overcome it and move forward.
Talk to people about your experiences
Seek help if you require it, or simply find someone to listen and be there to support you. The chances are they will understand and, at some point, may have experienced the same feelings you are having right now. This in itself can be incredibly comforting, letting you know you’re not alone, and that these feelings will pass.
Give yourself time and be gentle
When things don’t go to plan, it can be all too easy to become your own biggest critic. But being rejected isn’t a reason to get mad at yourself; give yourself time to process it – feelings of rejection can last from a few days to a few months, and some people end up stuck with these feelings for much longer. There is no time scale for overcoming these things, so remember to be kind to yourself. Go at your own pace, and treat yourself as you would treat your best friend if they were experiencing this.
Surround yourself with loved ones
No matter the form of rejection, it often makes you feel sadness alongside multiple other negative feelings. Make sure that, during this time, you surround yourself with those you love in order to feel that warmth and support. Try not to focus on the rejection and, instead, appreciate the other amazing things around you. Above all, remember that sometimes we can’t do it alone. Reach out – there is always help and support available if you need it.
Learn from your experiences
After the pain has reduced, and you have accepted what has happened, use this experience as an opportunity for redirection. Things haven’t worked out as you had hoped, but you can learn from this and redirect your efforts. Review past situations and experiences, take the positives forward with you, leave the negativity behind you, and remember the lessons.
It is so important to remember that nobody gets everything right the first time. The reason you experienced rejection may also be no reflection upon yourself, simply a reflection of somebody else, or a situation out of your control. However, it may also mean that you weren’t ready for that journey yet. Don’t allow rejection to knock you over, use it to propel you forwards.
Reframing an experience of rejection as an opportunity for redirection can allow you to move forward as a better, more experienced person, who has a clearer idea of the path they wish to take.