“No. God, no” I said.
This couldn’t be happening to me. It had never happened to me before. It wasn’t meant to be nearly this difficult. Time and again, I checked my email to ascertain that I wasn’t seeing things.
For days on end, I stayed locked up in my room, coming out only for the occasional meal to keep me going. I heard the words of encouragement from my family, but I wasn’t listening. I just couldn’t listen. I heard the whispers about taking me to a therapist, but I didn’t care. One singular thought bounced around my head that now felt empty: “I had failed”.
This is my story from the first time I faced a major rejection. I had just failed to make the cut for a major examination, and that was all I could think about. I was so used to being well above the requisite scores, so I had no idea how to handle this new, scary feeling. Learning to deal with that experience brought me to the point where I could begin to handle rejections, be they minor or major.
- the action or state of not being given approval or acceptance
- the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc.
As we socialise from day to day, and make attempts in the way of achieving our set goals, it is inevitable that while we hope for the victory of acceptance, we experience rejection at certain points. After all, both situations make up the highs and the lows that make our journeys worthwhile.
Here are four pointers to help with handling rejection at various points:
1. Bring yourself to a place of acceptance
Often, the first reactions to rejection, especially if your hopes for a positive response were quite high, are shock and denial. Denial is a defense mechanism that involves a refusal to accept reality, thus blocking external events from awareness. The human mind tends to respond by refusing to acknowledge rejection or by denying that it did happen.
Except you were unjustly rejected, in which case it is necessary to take action towards rebuttal, begin to move past the feeling of denial and get to a point where you can begin to deal with the situation.
2. Understand why you were rejected
Whether it was anything spanning from a request for mentorship or friendship, to an important application to an institution, there is always a reason behind rejection. To avoid a recurrence, find out why you were rejected; what you or a third party might’ve done wrong, why the timing might have been wrong, anything! Understand what spurred your rejection.
3. Understand how you feel about being rejected
Knowing why you have been rejected sometimes doesn’t make it any easier, especially if it was an important milestone. That is why it is important to acknowledge the disappointment, pain or hurt that you may feel. Vent or talk to someone, if need be. Bottling in those feelings makes them much worse.
4. Find out how to improve on it
The purpose of a rejection is to improve you! Ensure that you move on from the disappointment by bettering yourself in every possible way. If you have reason to give it another shot, become “unrejectable” this time around. If you’re aiming for something else, take the lessons into perspective and give it an accurate shot.
Take the next big step.
Let the bigger and better you try again with even more confidence!
How do you deal with rejection? Feel free to share with me in the comments.