We sincerely regret…
We are sorry but…
We regret to inform you…
We appreciate your interest but…
What do these lines have in common? All popular openings to rejection letters. You would know if you have received enough in your time. I have, and to be honest, rejection hurts. Whether small or large-scale rejection. It just hurts more than you even expect it to. I mean you start to wonder what you did wrong and why you are not good enough and many many things. You begin to second-guess yourself and your capabilities.
I read that the worst damage done to ourselves through rejection is usually self-inflicted because at the time when your self-esteem is really low, you go ahead and bash it some more in your head. Human beings’ natural response to rejection is to become self-critical and begin to second guess yourself and ask all these questions. It is indeed unhealthy but we’ve all done it at some point or the other when we faced rejection be it from a job you really wanted, a girl you really liked, a collaboration you really wanted etc.
The most annoying kind of rejection for me is when they say they’ll get back to you but they never do. Nigerian companies and brands are very good at this one. They just leave you expectant and waiting till you finally realize and accept that you have been rejected. Apparently, people hate this kind of rejection even more.
Let’s just accept that rejection is super hurtful. I even saw somewhere that it triggers the same brain pathways that are activated when we experience physical pain. Imagine that for a second!
After wallowing in self-pity the last time I got rejected and beating myself up over how I could have done things differently, I just decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. I was set out to find new and better ways of coping with rejection because I realized that whether I liked it or not, I would still probably have to face a lot more of it in this life. I could not afford to subject myself to the “rejection torture” every single time so I immersed myself in trying to build what I call “rejection resilience”. I am not there yet of course. But here are some of the things I have been doing that have really helped me with handling rejection.
I acknowledge my emotions. Yes, this! One time I tried to convince myself that it did not bother me and I did not care. “They can shove it up their ass for all I care” I said. But the fact that I was even talking this way was proof that I actually did care and I was hurt. After some time, I just exploded with all the emotions I was feeling. Top of which was anger. If you don’t handle rejection well, you’ll just become an angry person. People that are truly strong mentally don’t try to ignore or suppress their emotions. You gotta face it head on if you’re feeling sad or disappointed. You have to face it to get over it.
Be kind to yourself. No self-criticism. When I get rejected, I usually say really mean things to myself. I feel really small and stupid and I tell myself that. I criticize myself so much inside literally breaking my own spirit. My inner critic is loudest after a rejection. This is literally me rating myself one star.
But honestly, that is the wrong way to handle it. Be kind to yourself. Say kind words to yourself. Spoil yourself a little even, but not to the point of self-pity. Tell yourself that you are good enough. Re-affirm yourself and your purpose.
Have a good support system. It helps to have people that you can trust to be there for you and help you gain perspective at times like this. Sometimes, I read bible verses that help me to gain perspective or listen to sermons that address things like this. It also helps to make social connections. We are essentially social beings so we need to be reminded that we are loved and appreciated so spend time with your friends or family.
Remind yourself of your self-worth and that you are pushing boundaries. Remind yourself of what you have to offer instead of your flaws. You can even write it down. You are worth more than you think. I personally remind myself that if I was worth enough for Jesus to die for me, then I’m worth more than I think. If you got rejected then it means you actually stepped out of your comfort zone. You took the risk of getting rejected. It means you are living your life to the fullest. You can’t know that you are actually putting yourself out there and out of your comfort zone if you don’t get some form of rejection once in a while.
Don’t let it define you. If you have been rejected, don’t take it as a pass to stop trying. Don’t give up because of one rejection. Put yourself out there again. Don’t build your goal around this rejection. In fact, let it push you to do even better and reach for even greater. If a company turns you down, don’t give up and say you’ll never get a job. Or if a girl turns you down, don’t say that means marriage is not for you. It just means that company or that girl is not for you at that time. Don’t let their opinion build your own image of yourself. You are better and worth far more than one person’s opinion.
Learn from it. Turn every rejection into an avenue for improvement and growth. Ask yourself what you could have done better and work on doing better.
Let’s just know that rejection happens and it is not always easy. In fact, it is never easy but we would always have to face it at some point. I remind myself of what I’m worth and people that love and appreciate me and I’m reminded that even if nobody does, Jesus loves me and that is all that really matters. Get back that confidence you need to keep going and try again. Keep going for gold. Hit the finish line. You are worth it!
Your tiny-eyed story teller.
Hey, what kind of rejection hurts you the most? Let’s talk about it. Drop a comment.