How To Deal with Rejection? Insights from Expert
Self Help

How To Deal with Rejection? Insights from Expert

Life is not just about success, achievements, and happiness it is also about failure, rejection, and days where you feel miserable. You might be that person who was full of hope and energy until the day your feelings got crushed because of rejection. Rejection can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time and the pain it elicits can be similar to the pain caused by a physical injury due to similar activation in the brain. The need for affiliation is an evolutionary need and the denial of such an opportunity can make you feel abandoned.

According to Clinical Psychologist Nitika Kimothi, “When experiencing rejection, self-doubt often comes, accompanied by questions of inadequacy and a decrease in confidence. This can lead to feelings of chaos, anxiety, and depression, which in turn can effect motivation badly and put an obstacle to one’s ability to pursue opportunities. Negative thoughts can also then become a significant barrier to progress.”

“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both” These words are extracted from the famous book Rising Strong by Brene Brown. This tells us that if you want to achieve something greater, then risk comes along with the opportunity.

As per Meghna Gupta, a Clinical Psychologist and Mental Health Expert, “Rejection is the disappointment coming from an unfulfilled need or desire. It could be parents love, it could be mother’s love, it could be need of your sexual partner, your romantic partner, right? It could be need of a job, right? So rejection can come into life into many phases and forms.”

“It’s important to know where Rejection is coming from. It can stem from various sources, such as low self-image or negative self-perception, insecure attachments, Less privileges like low financial support, or disrupted parenting patterns or a disruptive childhood.

Rejection in professional life is something that can clip your wings while you are planning for a long flight but, take this as a sign to reroute your journey, you do not have to give up on your dream job, you just have to find a different way in the vast sky to reach your destination. We don’t have tried and tested tips or tricks to avoid rejection. Many of us will have to face it one or the other day when beginning the journey of professional life. But there are ways to stay well-acquainted to deal with rejection more efficiently.

How to Deal with Rejection?

1. Build Self-worth

“You are the best”. You will never realize your value until you try to observe and accept yourself. A sense of self-worth will help you face rejection with more ease. This is because when you already know your value, it’s not easy to break you down with words or actions. 

Meghna Gupta further commenting on the idea, says, “In terms of dealing with rejection, there is concept called reflection, which refers to self discovery of the unfulfilled expectations or desires or needs. Also the awareness of identity, which brings the societal norms into play. So if the rejection is being faced, it’s time to dive into thyself! Working on the dysfunctional schemas related to self image and practising self-compassion and acceptance will go a long way.”

Related: How to Improve Self-Esteem: 8 Tips to Give You a Boost

2. The Gap Between Theory and Skill

Theory and skills are two sides of a coin both are important but one cannot exist without the other when it comes to a job. You might be brilliant at theoretical knowledge but at the same time a big zero while applying it, this is natural for a beginner and we must accept it. This can lead to rejection and here you must improve your skill-based knowledge with the theory by doing internships, skill-based courses, or by connecting to people who or well-versed in your field.

3. Nobody told us 

I asked a school-going kid this question “Why are you going to school?” 

He replied, “ I am going to school because when I grow up I want a good job and lots of money.” Most of us had the same answer. Everybody told us that it is important to have a job with decent pay but nobody told us that the journey is not a cakewalk. They didn’t tell us that until completing our education there is just one door in front of you at each phase but after this, you will enter a place full of doors and you will be the most confused person on earth. You will be always worried about making the wrong choice or losing the best. It is okay to get lost as a beginner, it is okay to make the wrong choice, and It is okay to get rejected because of lack of experience but remember to analyze the situation and learn from it. 

Related: “THE PERFECTIONISM”-Is it really a boon or a bane

4. What’s next?

It’s important to be optimistic in your life, but it’s also important to be prepared for the worst. What if you fail to achieve this position? Will you be stuck there or do you have another plan to execute? Everything is not going to work for you so it’s always better to have a plan B. This will help you face rejection with more power. 

Rejection is never going to be a euphoric experience but the right approach can make it fruitful. 

5. This is not Personal 

This is a big mistake that most of us commit as a beginner. While rejecting you, a person’s words might have been so hurtful that they start affecting your self-image. It is okay to feel a little broken but this feeling should not hold you back for long. Process your emotions and get back to business. Remember your life is not just about this position or organization; don’t let this bitter experience define you. 

6. Reinspect the situation

Go back to check the situation once again. Check on yourself and the interviewer or the panel of people who sat in front. What were the questions that they shot at you and how did you answer them? Is there any better way to approach the questions? How did they behave with you? How did you respond? Dig deeper to be more aware of what happened. Try to get detailed feedback if it’s possible. Now appreciate yourself for your right actions and learn from the wrong actions. You can even discuss your experience with someone very close to you or someone who can guide you.

7. Learn from it 

Experience is the best teacher. Every situation whether it be pleasant or unpleasant can teach you something new. Rejection allows rebuilding yourself and this time you will be more aware about what to work on. 

Meghna Gupta further provides her valuable insights and guides the readers on how to manage Rejection, “Managing rejection come into steps. So, first step would be to recognize that underlying need that is not being met.” Identifying this need is crucial in understanding the rejection. This step allows for a clear recognition of what is being sought or desired, providing a foundation for further coping strategies. ” What are the ways to address that? What is the need? Like what is the sensitivity of the self?, of the desire?. Which is not being fulfilled by the other person, other job, expectation, relationships.”

“Second is to accepting that the disappointment coming from unmet needs is rooted in specific emotions. So rejection could be felt because one feels inadequate. Like ‘I don’t have the adequate skill for the job’ or ‘ I am not pretty enough’. Rejection could be maybe ‘I am not good enough child for my parents’.”

“Third step will be embracing the feeling as a feeling. Crying it out, Screaming into a pillow. Writing the thoughts down on a paper, cuddling to a pet or, to someone you love, or to listen to some good music.”

“I fulfill myself about that particular need. If I’m feeling ugly and that’s why I think that this boy rejected me. So then I have to work on my self image regarding my outlook and in the internal perceptions of what beauty is. The fourth step will be changing your Thought perception changing your, changing your value system as per the, rejection? And maybe at then reach out for the support and that is where the therapist or psychotherapist come in, in picture. For reaching out for support.”

Take Away

Mark McGuiness in his Book “Resilience”  has explained why our reaction to rejection is completely understandable and how to deal with it proficiently. The pain that broke you, helped you to pick up those pieces to mold you into a better form. You might have felt that this is the end of the world but it is just the beginning. but You have learned from your mistake, now you have more experience on how to approach an interview. You are not just a better interviewee but can also be a guiding lamp for someone very new to this journey.

References +
  • Jaremka, L. M., Ackerman, J. M., Gawronski, B., Rule, N. O., Sweeny, K., Tropp, L. R., Metz, M. A., Molina, L. E., Ryan, W. S., & Vick, S. B. (2020). Common academic experiences no one talks about repeated rejection, impostor syndrome, and burnout. Perspectives on Psychological Science (Print), 15(3), 519–543.
  • How to deal with rejection: 7 tips. (n.d.).
  • How to handle rejection in your professional life. (2024, April 4). Science | AAAS.
  • Liu, J. (2023, July 5). From setback to Comeback: How to manage rejection and keep moving forward. Forbes.
  • Six ways to turn a job rejection to your advantage. (n.d.).
  • Resilience: facing down rejection and criticism on the road to success. (n.d.). Google Books.

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