Being a human is hard sometimes. Especially when it comes to our interpersonal relationships. Within the ups and downs of love and life, we sometimes experience rejection. The mere mention of it might bring back some uncomfortable memories or a little sting – but it’s a part of being human. Knowing that doesn’t make it hurt any less when it happens.
We typically think of rejection happening in our romantic relationships, but it also happens in friendships, family, our work lives, and more. Rejection is oftentimes unavoidable. What you can change is how you react to it, and how you let it affect you. We’re here to give you some advice on how to handle the very real experience of being rejected.
Lean on Your Community
Rejection can make us feel ashamed, embarrassed, or knock our self esteem. This is why it can be so helpful to turn to the people that you feel most supported by. It might be your best friend, family member, therapist, or another trusted confidant. Who do you feel most seen by? Who can you be the most honest with about what’s going through your head? Who do you trust the most with your emotions? Reach out to that person. Chances are, they’ve experienced it too. Not only can they relate, but they can remind you of just how special you are, and how much you have to offer the world, and the people around you.
Stop The Spiral
Another thing that tends to happen when we experience rejection is the mental spiral. You might be feeling fine going about your day, then all of a sudden you get stuck in a whirlwind of thoughts about what you could have done differently, why this keeps happening to you, or whatever other stories you’re telling yourself. Sometimes the spiral happens without you realizing it, and once again your confidence is knocked, or you forget just how awesome you are. That’s why it’s helpful to have tools to stop the spiral in its tracks.
One tool is using affirmations. These are simple phrases that you say to yourself outloud or in your head until you’re able to override whatever negative thought patterns are happening. Here are some you can try:
- “Rejection is protection.”
- “Rejection is redirection.”
- “I love myself, and that is enough.”
- “I am so much bigger than this situation.”
- “I am worthy.”
Affirmations are just one tool, you have to find what works for you. Here are some other ones you can try:
- Take some deep breaths or practice a breathing exercise
- Go for a walk or take a few minutes outside
- Do one of your favorite hobbies
- Get some laughs in by watching a funny movie or show
- Get your body moving by dancing, or doing a workout you love
Practice Self Reflection
Rejection sucks, but it can also be used as an opportunity to learn more about yourself, your needs, and who you are in relationships. Oftentimes these experiences are some of the ones that help you grow the most as a human. It can be hard to do when you’re feeling super tender, but practicing self reflection is how you can heal from rejection and create meaning from an uncomfortable situation.
One of the best ways to practice self reflection is through journaling. You can start by answering some of these questions:
- What tools do I have to heal/move forward from this situation?
- What about this situation wasn’t aligned or why wasn’t this meant to be?
- What do I have to offer in (romantic relationships, friendships, work, etc)?
Journaling is a great way to do this, but some people find it helpful to just talk things through outloud to themselves. You can even record yourself on your phone and listen to it if you start to spiral or are feeling down. If you’re someone who likes to do art, you can make your self reflection more of a creative practice by making music, drawing, or even dancing.
Give Yourself Time
As helpful as these tools can be, sometimes time is the best medicine. With time, you gain perspective, and may realize that the thing you thought you wanted so badly wasn’t actually the best fit for you. Time lessens the sting of rejection, and eventually helps it fade away. You might feel an urgency to get rid of these feelings and move on, but that’s not how emotions work. These tips can help you face rejection and move through it more efficiently, but feeling these emotions are part of the process.
Rejection sucks no matter if it’s in our romantic lives, friendships, family, or even work. But it happens to everyone, and it doesn’t make you any less worthy of having the things that you desire in life. If anything, it might bring you a little closer to your dreams and goals by weeding out what isn’t working.