“It is perfectly alright to feel sad and down during setbacks or stressful periods – it doesn’t mean you are weak or have failed. The real problem comes when you go down and stay down.” – Dr Enitome Bator

 Coping with rejection is the mental and emotional process of understanding that rejection does not imply we are worthless but rather is a signal for us to acknowledge our negative thoughts and build constructive strategies to bounce back from our setbacks.

The culture we live in is rejection-phobic and makes us fear rejection more than required. Being slightly scared of rejection or losing out on something important to us is of course normal and acts as a source of motivation for us. However, when we begin to either completely avoid taking the risk to do anything out of our comfort zone from the fear of rejection or sulk too much on a past rejection is when we need to re-valuate our lives and our relationship with rejection. As the famous saying goes, rejection is just redirection – hence, there is no need to stop trying if you are rejected but there is only a need for reframing one’s thoughts, actions, and goals.

When we are rejected, it triggers our most primal instinct of wanting to belong and being accepted as a part of community. The isolation and agony that comes from this instinct not being fulfilled can be intensely painful but at the same it makes us human. Feeling bogged down when rejected is not a sign of weakness; however, what our life would look life in the future is dependent on how we choose to cope with the rejection and stand right back up.

This article goes over 12 ways to cope with rejection:

1.     Understand That Rejection Is A Part Of Life

Ever heard of the popular term gifted-child burnout? Gifted-child burnout is when a child who has been raised with a lot of praise and attention for usually being great at academics eventually is unable to cope with life’s pressure because of their inability to deal with criticism, failure, and rejection. Wonder why? This is because these children might mistakenly grow up with the idea that “being good” means always winning and being the best. They might leave no room for rejection and when it finally hits them for rejection is inevitable, they are taken by surprise. Hence, rejection must be looked at as a very normal part of one’s life and never as an annual catastrophe. Make friends with rejection because it is unavoidable especially in the competitive times we live in today. Rejection is not a “negative” thing but just a part of living in divided society.

2.     Accept Your Feelings

Denial is not a good way to deal with rejection. Often people use humour or avoidance as a defense mechanism. Not only are these unhealthy coping mechanisms but also a poor way to learn anything from the rejection at hand. On the contrary, when you sit with your negative feelings, understand what about the rejection hurts so much, and whether you truly want the thing at hand or you are only latching on to it for external validation are all good vantage points to reflect and acknowledge your feelings post-rejection whether it be in your professional life or personal.

3.     Kill The Phantom

So much of our lives are wasted in fixating on a certain version of our life, a  phantom. If a person you asked out rejects you, you would of course think, this is about the way you look or who you are. Had you been more attractive, they would have chosen you. If you get rejected following an interview, you will wonder of course, if you were as clever or charismatic or qualified as another person who springs to mind, would you have gotten the role. Notice something? All this is hyper-focused on who you could be or how your life could be rather than who you are and you wanting other people to air your phantoms.

One must stop looking at other people as objects who just act as tools in our lives for self-enhancement or to feel good about ourselves. People are not going through the world trying to validate or invalidate us but are rather focused on their own selves. Hence, they should not be used a way to measure our self-worth. This goes back to the idea of grass not being greener on the other side but rather where you water it. Water your grass, stop wishing to be someone else chasing a phantom and life would feel much more fruitful.

4.     Do Not Take Rejection Personally

To become better at something or to do something worthwhile in life often takes consistent curiosity and work. The negative feelings that come out of rejection tell us to do the exact opposite. The irony here lies in the fact that when we are rejected, our ego is often triggered. Instead of accepting rejection and trying harder (for what we deem so important) our brain tells us to switch off and discontinue the whole endeavour completely. This is our ego. To rise above this would be to understand that failure is a part of life and the rejection at hand was caused because of a mixture of different reasons and not because you are inherently a worthless person.

5.     Rejection Is Redirection

After you have accepted your feelings and understood that is has nothing to do with your inherent worth as a person, it is essential that you learn from rejection. Rejection can act as one of the best ways to grow and learn. Rejection does not mean utter failure. Rather Feelings of rejection and shame can be used to do better in the future acting as motivation.

6.     Forgive Yourself

Offering yourself grace in the hard times when you feel smaller than ever is one of the most underrated life skills. Research demonstrates that in order to be successful or become better at something, we do not need to be hard on ourselves. Simply, working harder and being self-compassionate through the process increases our chances of achieving what we want in life. Hence, sometimes, the trick is just to forgive yourself transcending all other facts involved. Even if sometimes the rejection at hand is directly related to a mistake you made like studying less for an exam or being under-prepared for an interview, forgive yourself and remind yourself that rejection is just a part of life and something better is waiting for you.

7.     Talk About It And Ask For Help

One of the worst ways to deal with rejection is become reclusive. Rejection fills us up with the shame and as it goes, the best antidote is shame is expressing it to someone. Talk to a friend or two about how you feel so that you are able to purify your heart and mind of all the negativity. Apart from ranting and sharing your feelings to someone comforting however, it is important that you talk to someone who would also at the same time give you a reality check. Look for someone who would give you advice rooted in reality and not coddle you all the time. Thirdly, after you have evaluated your condition, ask someone for actual help. Always remember, being able to ask for help is a sign of emotional maturity. 

8.     Focus On Your Strengths

Too much self-reflection is just self-indulgence. After you have sat with your feelings, asked for feedback, your introspection is done. This is now the time to think about what you are good at and make that your priority. Dwelling on negative aspects of yourself or weaknesses that might have caused the rejection will only take you down a depressing rabbit hole; hence, focus on what you can do rather than what you can not do and take action immediately.

9.     Set Realistic Goals

There is a huge difference between being completely delusional and being extremely hopeful. Hope is grounded in reality and a hopeful person in contrast to a delusional person is in touch with the difficult parts of their journey of reaching a goal. Rejection is a great reminder to think about your goals and always redefine them according to what works best for you. This might come off as discouraging and a call to dream small; on the contrary, this is an encouragement to have big dreams but to set smaller more realistic goals during the long ultimate journey.

10. Think About Other Things

Never put all your eggs in one basket. When one thing in life seems like it is going down the drain, it is always good to have other avenues where you can feel a sense of purpose. Being ambitious and focusing on one thing is great but this should not happen at the expense of one’s wellbeing and sense of self. One should always be able to find joy through different sources in life and never depend on one thing be it a job, or a person.

11. Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude

Sometimes our minds catastrophise rejection because we choose to completely zoom out of the good things in life. We refuse to think about our past successes or other sources of goodness and joy in life. Hence, it is important that one sits down every day and practices mindfulness and gratitude focusing on all the things one does have compared to what one lacks. This waters down the impact of the rejection.

12. Understanding That Self-Esteem Is A Myth

A lot of people continue to let their lives be ruined by rejection and insecurity because their self-esteem is low. They wait for their self-esteem to be high again till they rebound from the setback. This is an extremely unsustainable approach to life and success. Research shows that we do not need to constantly deem ourselves as being great to do well in life, but the key is just self-acceptance. Hence, when we stop being addicted to feeling high or low about ourselves becoming neutral to who we are is when we begin to practice true acceptance integral to coping with rejection as anyone who associates self-worth with material success or the amount of attention another person in their life gives them is bound to feel low after a certain point in life.

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K Rowling

Final Word

Rejection does not mean utter failure. It does not mean that we have to stop living our lives or have to stop dreaming. On the contrary, rejection is just redirection. It is a form of light guiding us in a different direction where we could excel better. Accepting our feelings, seeking the right kind of help, and learning from our rejection are key steps to cope with rejection. In addition to this, changing our relationship with rejection also requires us to change our relationship with what we perceive as success in life. If we stick on to perceiving material success as the marker of our worth, then we are bound to feel upset for a prolonged time post rejection whereas if we look at success and rejection as two sides of the same coin, practicing detachment to the outcomes of our efforts, we are bound to lead a much more satisfying life as this would redirect our focus on the effort rather than the result which anyways is not always in our hands. Lastly, it is not quite ethical of us to rely on other people choosing us to feel worthy. People are not objects which fill up voids in our lives, and hence, looking at a rejection in a relationship in a certain way often reduces a person to that. Instead, understand that the reason for someone not choosing you has nothing to do with you but what the other person wants out of their own life.


Has this piqued your interest in this field? Then have a read of these pages:

1.  Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studes? Explore the pages of this website.
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
2. Are you a hypnotherapist looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.

Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.