You got dumped, or you didn’t get your dream job, here are some tools and insights to get you back on the wagon of awesomeness.
Getting rejected is a confidence assault on so many levels because it reduces you to below the level you were before you mustered the courage to try. Especially if you don’t see it coming, it can make you feel like you can’t trust your gut and therefore, you should never try again. Well, I assume you’re waiting for the typical catch-phrases like, “You can’t win if you don’t try.” But that would make me annoyed if I just got rejected, so I’ll skip that part.
Here are some tips to give you some grounding if this just happened to you.
Don’t take it personally.
Just because someone didn’t choose you doesn’t mean they’re right. That might sound like a mockery of your sanity, but getting rejected only means that it wasn’t the right fit. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong or less than about you. When it comes to love or a job, there’s one correct answer, and it either is or isn’t you. If it isn’t you, that just is what it is – keep going until you find the one that’s a “perfect fit.” It’s just a numbers game, and the more you try, the more you hone your gifts, and the greater your chances of finding your happy. Usually, when things don’t work out, it’s because there’s something perfect-er coming down the pipeline and we just had to collect one last lesson to get to it. Also, there’s only one perfect and that takes its sweet time to arrive!
Squeeze out your lessons.
A lot of the time it hurts so much that we turn it in on ourselves, believing that we got rejected because we weren’t good enough. Not so! But a misalignment in what we expected and reality can reveal to us any areas that need our attention. When we go through rejection, there is a lot to be gleaned from examining what we thought – that wasn’t true, and also the truth that we didn’t know. For example, if you got dumped and you didn’t see it coming, now’s a time to examine the signs leading up to this that you might have missed. There will be clear information that it’s up to you to excavate. It’s not about blame it’s about milking this for all it’s worth. The most challenging experiences can become great gifts of growth and change – it comes down to a choice. Step out of the role of victim and keep your eyes focused on what it is you want more of in your life.
Give yourself a big high five.
You just built some depth and character. I can tell you that the most boring people in the world are the people that have never had anything bad happen to them. It’s like they don’t laugh as hard or enjoy food as much. When you go through the I-tried-my-best-trenches, you come out with super powers! You learn and grow an immense amount of practical experience, not to mention, as a person, you grow deeper and more compassionate. It’s the hurtful lessons that build the most character. So recognize this growth is something that has happened for you whether you can see it or not, and know that it’s not going to “ruin” you. Everyone thinks that their soul and spirit will somehow be tarnished forever. Nah, but it is going to suck for a while. Keep going through the motions of self-care and ensure you don’t perpetuate a depressed emotional state. This isn’t forever.
Check your perspective.
When it comes to something you really wanted, rejection feels like the end of all joy. This is what being blindsided by pain does to you – it makes you believe everything sucks and that it will be that way forever. Don’t trust anything you think when you’re chemically depressed! There will be a day not too far away that you forget this pain ever existed. Know that it’s probably going to suck for a while and your job is just to keep going through the motions and practicing diligent self-care. Your life will have great times and really crappy times, and that is part of what it means to be alive. Know that others are feeling exactly as you are, right now, and if you’re suffering right now – close your eyes and send them love. This isn’t your definition. It’s just something that happened in the epic that is your beautiful and varied life. For a bit of inspiration, look to those in your family (or history) for the rejections they overcame. Rejection happens to everyone worth knowing and has throughout time.
Timing is a MAJOR part of life.
The first person who opened a supermarket in the UK? My grandfather, after he visited the US and saw they were everywhere. But it bombed because no one was ready for it. If you tried and failed, it doesn’t mean that the next time won’t be just right. Remember the factors that influence your life are infinite. Think of this as a series of decisions that created a cause and effect, all of which lead you to this point right now. The next time you step up to the plate in love or career – it might be juuust right for the stars to align.
Maybe they’re jerks.
I say that in all honesty! Jerks reject cool people all the time. Look at the Oscars! Some of the most talented musicians and filmmakers have been snubbed countless times. “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a flop at the box office. It’s only on TV during the holidays because it was free to license. I look at this as a blessing in disguise.
The most important thing I can tell you about rejection is to use this as a moment in time to focus inward and build yourself. You have to have a love and faith in the value of yourself, and who you are that extends beyond what anyone else says or thinks. If this was an award you didn’t get, care enough about your craft that you continue to do it anyway. Because popular opinion isn’t necessarily good. And at the end of the day, all you ever have is yourself.
The most valuable asset you can foster is your best self. That includes your voice, your beliefs, your gifts, and giving them to the best of your abilities. What someone else thinks is their issue – not yours. When you act at your best, let the rest go. There will be times in your life that you’ll be the only person in the room who’s on your side – and I can tell you first hand, it’s a profound reminder to stay true to yourself. If you give your all, you have honored yourself, and everything outside of that is out of your control. Recognize that limit and accept it with peace.
Everything is temporary. The value of all things will shift. The beliefs of those outside of you are theirs and not your own. It’s not your job to read minds or become someone else’s “perfect.” It’s your job to invest in yourself, respect yourself and try your best. Make that your bar for success. If someone didn’t want you – their loss.
Focus on being in the right with yourself, knowing you did your best and being proud of that fact. Once you actually accept and KNOW what is out of your control, all the rejection gets a lot easier – because it is what it is. Someone else’s opinion, a mismatch that must be mourned – a coincidence that does not define you as a person. I, for one, believe that experiences arrive in our lives to teach us things that we need for something more important in the future. So whatever rejection you’re suffering, give yourself the space to heal and then get back up again. Your life is just as worthy and beautiful as it was before this happened. Focus on the general direction of where you want to go.
Sarah May Bates
Founder of Yay With Me a hub of practical tools to create change in yourself, from Podcaster/Author, Sarah May Bates, @sarahmaybee