Figuring out your passion starts with the passion profile quiz! take it ››

How to bounce back from any rejection

rejection

If reading long blogs just isn’t your deal, you can listen to me read it instead!

(Click the orange play button to start playing right here on the page, or download and save it for later by clicking the downward arrow at the top right of the box below.)

 


 

Let’s face it: Getting rejected sucks.

Whether you get turned down for a job or promotion you wanted, or you’re not accepted by a college you applied for, or someone you care about ends a relationship with you … it feels terrible, every time.

Getting rejected can awaken your most critical inner voice — the voice that tells you that you’re dumb, silly, naïve, ugly, boring, obnoxious, or generally not good enough.

And the worst kind of rejection is utter silence. When you never hear back about the job or you get ghosted by the person you’ve been going out with, it feels like you got rejected twice — not only did they not want you, but they didn’t even respect you enough to tell you they’re not interested.

We’ve all been there. And it hurts.

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t fear rejection on some level. We’re social creatures, and wanting to belong is in our very human DNA. Rejection is the complete opposite of belonging — it can make you feel isolated, dejected, judged, vengeful, misunderstood, and shameful.

It makes perfect sense that most of us would try to avoid rejection at all costs.

Except, no matter what you do or how hard you try, there’s no escaping rejection. If you’re a human who interacts with other humans, you will be rejected. Guaranteed. No way around it.

So if rejection is inevitable, we all need better ways of dealing with it when it happens. And we also need a new mindset around rejection so that our fear of it doesn’t keep us trapped and small and paralyzed.

HOW MOST PEOPLE RESPOND TO REJECTION

Because rejection is so painful, we have built-in default coping mechanisms to try to counteract it. Here are the 3 most popular strategies for dealing with rejection:

The Shut-it-Down Strategy: The strategy here is to immediately quit trying if you get rejected. Or, if your fear of rejection is strong, you may never try in the first place. (This is especially true if it’s something you really want that will feel devastating if it doesn’t work out.) Seems effective enough, right? If you never try, there’s no chance of getting rejected! Bam, problem solved.

The People-Pleaser Strategy: Your logical brain will tell you that if you change who you are — edit, alter, and contort yourself based on what you think will make you “fit it” — you’ll automatically be accepted. This approach will convince you to say the right things, wear the right clothes, and hide parts of yourself in order to avoid rejection. (This is a popular strategy for interviews and first dates!)

The Mean Girl Strategy: You know how in the movie Mean Girls, the “popular girls” are pretty much always at each others’ throats? A running theme for that movie could be, “You hurt me, I’ll hurt you worse.” The strategy here is the same. It’s the equivalent of saying, “I never really liked you that much anyway” to someone who’s breaking up with you, or “This company’s not so great, after all” when you get turned down for a job. Hating on the one who’s doing the rejecting can make the rejection sting less.

Each of these strategies is a knee-jerk reaction to the painful sting of rejection. They don’t actually help you heal and move on; they just temporarily dull the pain.

These reactions also, ironically, force you to reject a part of yourself.

The Shut-it-Down Strategy causes you to reject your dreams by convincing you to stop going after the things you want.

The People-Pleaser Strategy convinces you to put on a mask and reject the real you — or at least parts of yourself — in order to be liked.

The Mean Girl Strategy forces you to reject your humanity and vulnerability by shutting down your emotions and pretending that you’re not hurt.

Getting rejected stings; rejecting yourself is torture.

REJECTION DOESN’T HAVE TO FEEL SO HEAVY

We all assume that rejection is so personal.

We think it means that someone has identified a fatal flaw in us that from now on we have to hide, change, or defend.

But what if rejection isn’t really about youor the other person, for that matter?

Rejection doesn’t mean that there’s something “wrong” with you or “right” about the other person. Rejection simply means: We’re not a match.

Not every job, person, or opportunity is going to be a good fit for you. And that’s perfectly OK! Realizing that something isn’t quite right for you doesn’t make it bad … it just means it’s not a match.

No judgment, criticism, or hard feelings necessary.

Rejection simply means that the other person recognized that it wasn’t the right match before you did. But you can trust that, with a little more time and information, you would’ve come to the same conclusion.

You could get angry at that person for recognizing the truth before you did, OR you could choose to be grateful that they saved you from investing time and energy into something that wasn’t right for you in the first place.

More often than not, rejection is a blessing in disguise, protecting you from something/someone that wouldn’t have been good for you.

I’M NOT ASKING YOU TO NOT FEEL DISAPPOINTED

Look, it’s normal and perfectly OK to be disappointed when something doesn’t work out.

If you need some time to grieve what could have been, by all means, take it. Cry it out, vent to a friend, journal about your disappointment, go for a long run to clear your head. Do whatever would help you release the pent-up emotions that you’re naturally going to feel after getting rejected.

Just don’t make the rejection mean anything about YOU.

You’re just as worthy, smart, likeable, talented, and deserving as you were before the rejection. You simply weren’t a perfect match with that person or opportunity.

Think of yourself like a magnet. Magnets are built to attract the right things to them that, and repel things that aren’t a match. You’re just the same.

As long as you’re being yourself, you can’t help but magnetize things to you that are a perfect complement to you. If, on the other hand, you’re being yourself and you get rejected, that thing was never going to be right for you anyway.

I happen to believe that, not only does rejection mean that something simply wasn’t the right match for you … it means that something even better is coming down the line.

If that person, group, or company hadn’t rejected you, then you wouldn’t be available for a much better opportunity that’s coming your way.

So next time you get rejected, say out loud: “Thanks, Universe, for steering me clear of what was never meant for me to begin with and for keeping me available for something even better.”

I’d love to hear from you now: Can you relate to any of this? How do you normally respond to rejection? How does this reframe help? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

IF YOU LIKED THIS, THEN YOU’LL ALSO LOVE…

Are you tired of pretending to be someone you’re not?

What to do when no one supports your dreams

How to deal when life feels totally out of control

Much Love,

Kristen (& Rachel)

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

7 Comments // ADD COMMENT

The snowball effect of getting your sh*t together

snowball

If reading long blogs just isn’t your deal, you can listen to me read it instead!

(Click the orange play button to start playing right here on the page, or download and save it for later by clicking the downward arrow at the top right of the box below.)

 


 

Have you ever been in one of those phases of life where it feels like literally none of your shit is together?

It probably sounds something like:

I hate my job. I need to figure out my career direction. I need to make more money. Ugh, money! I haven’t invested in my 401K. What’s going to happen when I retire? But I have student loans to pay off! I need to do that first, right? Oh, and I want to buy a house. THAT’S gonna be expensive. Maybe I need to figure that out first. Ugh, speaking of my living situation, I haven’t cleaned my house in 2 weeks. Also, I haven’t worked out in a month. And I’m also dealing with a chronic health issue that I can’t figure out, which is partially why I have zero energy TO work out. I should eat healthier! That would probably help with the energy. Oh, and my dog just got sick. My dog should probably eat healthier, too!”

When I get to this point, my go-to move is to hide under a blanket on my couch, numbing my brain with Netflix and hoping that if I’m very still and make no sudden moves, my anxiety won’t find me.

The Netflix-and-numb method isn’t ideal, I know. But when everything feels so out of control, unfocused, and nebulous, shutting down is like a basic form of self-protection.

It’s a Catch-22. We can’t get un-stuck until we know where to start, but we can’t figure out where to start, so we stay stuck. And no amount of thinking seems to help.

Which leads me to a big existential question: How does one get one’s shit together?

NOT TO BE DRAMATIC, BUT…

One of humanity’s greatest downfalls is our unhealthy obsession with logic. We worship at the altar of “doing what makes sense.”

Logically, most people assume that when your life is in disarray, you should focus on tackling the biggest, most important things first.

Which is why a lot of people come to me assuming that the answer to getting their life back on track must be getting clear on their career direction or finding a new job. They assume that if they can figure out their passion or their life’s purpose, everything else will fall into place.

Maybe that’s true for some people. But that’s also a pretty HUGE item to try to tackle first.

And if there are a million other things in your life draining your energy and pulling at your seams, then focusing on such a monumental task might actually set you back further, rather than propel you forward.

Just because something seems logical or “makes sense” doesn’t mean it’s the ideal place for you to start. Instead …

EXPEND THE LEAST AMOUNT OF ENERGY

I only passed high school physics because I had friends who basically carried me through the year, so don’t take it from me, but … I’m pretty sure the whole point of momentum is that it starts really small and grows bigger and faster as it gets going.

Which is why starting with the “biggest boulder” in your life, so to speak, may or may not be smart — how are you going to push it up the hill in the first place?

Instead, start where your energy is LEAST drained, and work your way up.

Your logical brain may strain against this (“How is getting my house cleaned going to help me find career direction?”), but go with me here.

If you pick something that’s draining you, but not the biggest or most difficult challenge, and take care of it — whether it’s a one-time thing or a pattern you slowly master over time — then you’ve built up a little bit of momentum.

Which means that after that, you can turn your attention to something slightly more cumbersome, but again, not the hugest problem you have.

And once you’ve aced that, your momentum is flowing to the point where it becomes easier and easier to focus on the biggest and most challenging conundrums.

For some, that might look like: “OK, I’m going to focus on cleaning up my diet. My #1 priority is going to be caring for my physical body. And once I feel better, I’ll have more energy to focus on what kind of career transition I want to make. I’ll be more clear-headed and ready to devote energy to applying for jobs.”

For others, that could be: “I’m going to hire a house cleaning service twice a month, rather than spend hours every week cleaning. And with that extra time, I’ll go to the gym twice a week. And with THAT extra energy, I’ll feel more motivated to get rid of a bunch of stuff and move to a new place.”

There are endless possibilities. There’s no right or wrong place to start. As long as you have a bit of patience — focusing on one thing at a time can be a challenge, I know — momentum can’t fail but be on your side.

JUST PICK SOMETHING

If you’re overthinking and don’t know what the easiest point of entry is, then just pick something.

Seriously, it’s that easy. The reason a LOT of people are stuck is because they keep debating where the “right” place to start is, and therefore never actually do anything or make any progress.

It’s better to pick a focal point at random and commit to it than continue to hem and haw and do nothing.

Also, it REALLY doesn’t matter where you start, because in the end, all branches of this tree lead to the same root system.

In other words — momentum leads to more momentum, which leads to more momentum. If you start one place, eventually the momentum will reach the other places. The order doesn’t matter all that much, so long as you’re actually moving.

YES, THERE IS A “CHEAT CODE”

I’ll insert one major caveat into this: Everything I’ve just said particularly applies to you if you’re trying to build momentum on your own.

There is a way to knock your biggest problems out in record time, without having to inch your way toward them. And it almost always involves having help.

Whether that means getting a personal trainer, hiring a professional organizer, finding a good therapist, or working with a life/career coach … bringing in a third party expert who’s unbiased, holds you accountable for doing what you say you want to do, and can see your blind spots is HUGELY helpful.

Yes, I’m biased because I’m a coach. But you can’t really argue with results. And it’s irrefutable that you make WAY more progress (in a lot less time, with higher-quality results) with support and accountability than you do on your own.

Either way, whether solo or with support, getting your shit together IS possible. It’s just a matter of momentum. Get the ball rolling somewhere, and eventually that ball will knock everything else out.

So, what are YOU going to start with? What’s the easiest point of entry for you? Come share with me in the comments!

IF YOU LIKED THIS, THEN YOU’LL ALSO LOVE …

How to deal when life feels totally out of control

When everything’s about to go downhill

How to escape procrastination purgatory

Much Love,

Rachel (& Kristen)

9 Comments // ADD COMMENT