Rejection and How to Handle It

Rejection and How to Handle It

Lee este articuloHarry Potter was rejected. So were Bella and Edward. If authors J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer hadn't kept trying with publisher after publisher, we'd all have missed out on some great adventures.

Life is about going for things. And when we do, rejection is always a possibility.

Big or Small, Rejection Affects Us All

Rejection doesn't have to be about the big stuff like not getting into your top college, not making the team, or not getting asked to prom. Everyday situations can lead to feelings of rejection, too, like if your joke didn't get a laugh, if no one remembered to save you a seat at the lunch table, or if the person you really like talks to everyone but you.

Feeling rejected is the opposite of feeling accepted. But being rejected (and we all will be at times) doesn't mean someone isn't liked, valued, or important. It just means that one time, in one situation, with one person, things didn't work out.

Rejection hurts. But it's impossible to avoid it altogether. In fact, you don't want to: People who become too afraid of rejection might hold back from going after something they want. Sure, they avoid rejection, but they're also 100% guaranteed to miss out on what they want but won't try for.

How to Cope

The better we get at dealing with rejection, the less it affects us. So how can you build that ability to cope?

Here are some ideas:

Be Honest

Bouncing,Back,Learning,to,deal,with,rejection,,to,get,past,the,hurt,and,bounce,back,,builds,inner,st

Coping well with rejection involves working with two things: how you feel and what you think.

Let's start with feelings: If you get rejected, acknowledge it to yourself. Don't try to brush off the hurt or pretend it's not painful. Instead of thinking "I shouldn't feel this way," think about how normal it is to feel like you do, given your situation.

Notice how intense your feelings are. Did this rejection upset you a lot? Or just a little? Cry if you want to — it's a natural way to release emotion.

Now, move on to name what you're feeling. For example: "I feel really disappointed that I didn't get chosen for the school play. I wanted it so badly, and I tried so hard. I feel left out because my friends made it and I didn't."

Name,That,Emotion,How,can,rejection,make,people,feel,,hurt,feelings,or,pride,,angry,,upset,,unworthy

If you want, tell someone else what happened and how you feel about it. Pick someone who will listen and be supportive.

Telling someone else can help for two reasons:

  1. It can be reassuring to know that someone understands what you're going through and how it feels.
  2. It forces you to put your feelings into words.

Whether you decide to share your feelings with someone else or simply think about them yourself, acknowledging feelings can help you move beyond painful emotions.

Be Positive

When you're dealing with a painful emotion like rejection, it's easy to get caught up in the bad feeling. But dwelling on the negative stuff can feel like living the experience over and over again. Not only does it keep hurting, it becomes harder to get past the rejection.

Some,People,Are,More,Easily,Hurt,Some,people,are,naturally,more,sensitive,to,rejection,Having,feelin

So admit how you feel but don't dwell on it. Avoid talking or thinking about it nonstop. Why? Negative thinking influences our expectations and how we act. Getting stuck in a negative outlook might even bring about more rejection. It certainly doesn't inspire a person to try again.

Examine Your Thought Soundtrack

Now on to what you think: Consider how you're explaining the rejection to yourself. Are you being too hard on yourself? It's natural to wonder, "Why did this happen?" When you give yourself an explanation, be careful to stick to the facts.

Tell yourself: "I got turned down for prom because the person didn't want to go with me." Don't tell yourself: "I got turned down because I'm not attractive" or "I'm such a loser." These aren't facts. They're imagining a reason, reading too much into a situation. If put-down thoughts like these start creeping into your mind, shut them down.

Self-blaming or put-down thinking can exaggerate our faults and lead us to believe stuff about ourselves that simply isn't true. This kind of thinking crowds out hope and a belief in ourselves — the very things we need to get past feeling bad and want to try again.

If you start blaming yourself for the rejection or put yourself down, you can start believing you'll always be rejected. Thoughts like, "I'll never get a date" or "No one will ever like me" amplify a simple rejection to disaster level. Rejection can hurt a lot and can be terribly disappointing, but it's not the end of the world.

Keep Things in Perspective

Tell yourself: "OK, so I got rejected this time. Maybe next time, I'll get a 'yes'" or "Oh, well. This is what happened. I don't like it. It's not how I wanted things to work out. But everyone gets rejected — and I can try again."

Think about what you're good at and what's good about you. Remember times when you've been accepted, when you made the cut, when someone told you "yes." Think of all the people who like you and support you.

All,Feelings,Come,and,Go,Rejection,is,just,a,feeling,It,might,be,painful,but,it,wont,last

Give yourself credit for trying. You took a risk — good for you. Remind yourself that you can handle the rejection. Even though you were turned down now, there will be another opportunity, another time. Get philosophical: Sometimes things happen for reasons we don't always understand.

Use Rejection to Your Advantage

A rejection is a chance to consider if there are things we can work on. It's OK to think about whether there's room for improvement or if your goals were higher than your skills.

If your skills weren't strong enough this time, maybe you need to work on your game, your studies, your interview technique, or whatever it takes to improve your chances of getting accepted next time. Use the rejection as an opportunity for self-improvement.

Sometimes a rejection is a harsh reality check. But if you approach it right, it could help nudge you in a direction that turns out to be the perfect fit for your talents, personality, and all the really great things that make you who you are.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: May 2013





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
OrganizationNational Mental Health Association (NMHA) NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans through advocacy, education, research, and service.
Web SiteReach Out Reach Out helps teens and young adults facing tough times and struggling with mental health issues. All content is written by teens and young adults, for teens and young adults.
OrganizationAmerican Psychological Association (APA) The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.
Web SiteI Could Be This website connects teens with career mentors over the Internet to help teens discover their potential.
Web SiteSnag a Job This site contains part-time, summer, and hourly employment information, plus tips on writing resumes and handling interviews.
Related Articles
Am I in a Healthy Relationship? Does your boyfriend or girlfriend treat you as well as you treat him or her? Does your BF or GF support you in good times as well as bad? Does he or she get who you really are? Find out if you're in a healthy relationship.
About Stressful Situations How well we get through a stressful situation depends a lot on us. It's how we deal with that makes all the difference. Here are some ways to understand and manage stress.
Getting Over a Break-Up If you're trying to get over a break-up, you're not alone. Just about everyone experiences the type of grief we call heartbreak at one time or another.
My Boyfriend and I Broke Up. How Can I Feel Better? Find out what the experts have to say.
5 Ways to Be More Aware of Your Emotions Emotional awareness (knowing what we feel and why) helps us learn about ourselves and build good relationships. Here are 5 ways to get more in touch with your emotions.
About Getting and Giving Help Sharing problems can help us cope better. Get ideas on reaching out for (and offering) help in this article for teens.
Understanding Your Emotions Emotions help us relate to other people, know what we want, and make choices. Even "negative" emotions are useful. Find out how to understand emotions and use them effectively.
What It Means to Be a Friend Thousands of you filled out our friendship survey. Find out what some of you said about being a good friend.
Assertiveness Assertiveness is the ability to speak up for yourself in a way that is honest and respectful. But it doesn't come naturally to everyone. Find out if you're too passive, too aggressive, or just assertive enough.
Dealing With Anger Do you wonder why you fly off the handle so easily sometimes? Do you wish you knew healthier ways to express yourself when you're steamed? Check out this article for help with dealing with anger.
Stress & Coping Center Visit our stress and coping center for advice on how to handle stress, including different stressful situations.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter