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How to survive rejection

It may be no second date, no promotion or no party invitation. Whatever form rejection takes, it happens to all of us throughout our lives and can really put a dent in your self-esteem. But there are ways to deal with rejection and give your emotional and mental well-being a boost.

Why rejection happens

Surviving a rejection means accepting it and understanding the realities of life:

  • Not everyone is going to like you or think your ideas (or jokes) are great — that's life, it happens to everyone and you're not alone in this
  • Popular people get rejected too — but maybe you don't see that because they've learned how to handle it and have positive self-esteem
  • Everyone carries some emotional baggage — and sometimes it's that baggage that prompts a rejection
  • Some people are more complicated than you may know — and often experience mixed emotions that aren't meant to hurt anyone

Look at the big picture

The first thing you need to do is look at things realistically and get "un-stuck:"

  • Admit that, yes, you were rejected — don't bother denying or rationalizing it since that could lead to even more emotional turmoil
  • You may not always know exactly why you were rejected — don't waste time second-guessing
  • Don't dwell and try to move on — the sooner you move on, the quicker you'll be ready for good things to happen

Healing the hurt

Personal rejections hurt on an intimate level that professional rejections don't. Here are some tips to help you through that distress:

  • Take some down time to reflect and learn from your experience — don't just dwell on the immediate situation, try something like journaling instead
  • Adjust your attitude if warranted
  • Stay positive — knocking yourself right after being rejected is a double whammy
  • Set personal goals — but be realistic

And remember, sometimes you're the one doing the rejecting — so be kind.

Search "emotional health" in Find Support for support groups and services in your area.

How to survive rejection
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