There’s no way around it. Rejection hurts. Being told you’re not good enough, you’re not what we’re looking for or you’re not who I want to be with is painful. It is a blow to our egos, and in many cases seems like a blow to our future.
- I didn’t get the girl/boy who was going to make me happy.
- I didn’t get the job that was going to solve all of my financial worries and career aspirations
- I wasn’t elected class president/football captain/scholarship nominee
- I didn’t get into the college that was going to make me successful and give me the life I dream of. (Read this if the preposition at the end of the sentence bothers you. But if your English teacher asks, you didn’t hear it from me.)
It’s a common misconception that rejection is a problem and that rejection prevents you from being happy, from solving financial problems or limits aspirations. And it’s a bigger misconception that getting into your dream school will give you a dream life and make you successful.
Rejection is not a problem. The problem is what you do once you are rejected. (We’re not even going to entertain the notion of “if”. You’re going to be rejected from something sooner or later, and IMO the sooner the better.) Rejection gives you an opportunity to be resilient, to find other ways to make yourself happy, to reevaluate your decisions and to determine if what you think is right for you is actually right for you.
It’s okay (normal, expected and good) to be sad about it. To be hurt by it. To seek help for feeling sad and hurt about it. (That’s why we’re here…come visit us.) And it’s a good idea to talk to your family and friends about it. You’ll often be surprised at how many other stories of rejection you’ll hear. And sometimes it’s just helpful to read about other rejection stories or listen to them.
Rejection is good because it makes you better able to adapt to challenges.
Rejection is good because it can improve your own emotional intelligence.
Rejection is good because you can turn it into an opportunity.
Rejection is good because it humbles you. (Yes, this is a good thing.)
I’ll leave you with a few suggestions from other people on how to handle any situation (including rejection):
- Say yes, and… lessons from improv by Tina Fey. Embrace whatever happens by saying “yes” and seeing what you can add to a situation that is presented to you.
- A little from the entrepreneur world about how your failures can help you succeed. Rejection can often work in the same way. Why didn’t you get it the first time? What can you improve for next time? Was that the right path for you to begin with?
- Don’t lose your ability to dream. As our responsibilities grow and the anxiety and stress of achieving our goals become more overwhelming (often because of rejection, fear of rejection or fear of failure), keep dreaming. The ability to dream about solutions is often the difference between people who change the world, and people who don’t.