When I was a teenager, maybe 13 or 14, I sat down every Tuesday evening to watch America’s Next Top Model. Being a girl interested in the beauty pageant and modeling scene at the time, the show was a way for me to try and learn more about a hobby I was pursuing. One of the things I took away from the show, aside from learning the art of “smizing” (that’s smiling with your eyes), was that rejection is everywhere.
These models went on go-sees and got rejected. They went to casting calls and got rejected. They mailed in their comp card to an agency and got rejected. Yet they still kept trying!
Rejection is something that we as humans face frequently. We get rejected from jobs, from love interests, from colleges, from sports teams. We get rejected from huge, life changing things and little things that we don’t even think about twice. Being rejected is being human.
But how can we stay positive as our self-esteem drops each time we’re rejected? Rejection after rejection, we can start to feel like we’re not good enough, like we’re never the first choice. To combat the bad feelings that come after a rejection, we have to stay positive and find ways to move on. We can do this by:
Acknowledging your emotions
Rejection hurts, but the best way to begin the coping process is to be aware of that pain. Don’t hide or ignore how you’re feeling, it’ll just make it harder for you to analyze your emotions and move on. Be open and honest with yourself about how you feel. Sad? Angry? Relieved? Discouraged?
By being aware of your uncomfortable emotions and dealing with them head on, your recovery strategy is already healthier, making you more prepared for dealing with rejection in the future.
Try journaling or talking with a close friend about how you’re feeling in order to get all your emotions out. Or channel your emotions into a different activity, like baking, exercising, or artwork. Do whatever works for you.
Not letting rejection define you
So you got rejected, but doesn’t mean in any way, shape, or form that you must be defined by this rejection. It’s easy to second guess and criticize yourself for your rejection, but this truly isn’t going to help you in the future; it just makes it worse if you dwell on the past.
You are so much more than your rejection. Maybe you got rejected from a job or internship (I know I have SEVERAL times), but that does not mean that you’re a bad interviewer or bad candidate. You just weren’t right for that job.
Maybe you got rejected from that person you were crushing on (been here too, SEVERAL times), but that doesn’t mean that you’ll never be loved. You just weren’t what that person was looking for. There are jobs and people and colleges and so many more opportunities that you’re perfect for. You just have to pick your head up and find them.
Learning from your rejection
When facing rejection, it’s better to treat yourself with compassion instead of beat yourself up. Focus on what you’ve learned from rejection, especially if you receive feedback from the rejector. You have the power to grow, and you should! Use this rejection as an opportunity to motivate yourself to succeed.
Rejection never feels good, but that doesn’t mean we have to dwell on it. You can even read more here about how to make friends with rejection. If you get rejected, brush yourself off, follow the tips above, radiate positivity, and keep trying. Tyra Banks got rejected hundreds of times, and look at her now.
Also published on Medium.