At one time or another throughout life, nearly all people find themselves on the receiving end of rejection.
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Whether rejection is professional in nature, such as not gaining admittance to your university of choice or being passed over for your dream job, or personal in nature, such as being turned down when seeking out a friendship or romantic relationship, the process is an emotionally challenging experience.
While you may dread the prospect of going through rejection due to the potential for embarrassment, a loss of confidence and despondence, surprisingly, these situations are not all bad. They can actually be highly beneficial to your social and emotional development.
Explore six reasons why rejection can be good for you, and learn how approaching your disappointment productively rather than unproductively can make you a stronger, more well-rounded and more authentic person.
1. Experiencing Rejection Fosters Resilience, Self-Esteem And Self-Reliance
The initial shock of rejection is never easy to deal with, but you do not need to let your unfortunate circumstances influence your overall belief in your abilities. Get through one experience of rejection, and you have the potential to face subsequent ones with resilience, strength and a thick skin.
Unproductive response: Letting rejection send you into a negative emotional spiral in which you view yourself as a failure, suffer a loss of self-esteem, doubt your capacity to look after yourself and become too fearful to face any type of rejection again.
Productive response: Telling yourself that you are a smart, self-reliant person who has much to offer the world and who will not be hindered by one bad experience. Let this instance of rejection guide you in being your own best advocate.
2. Dealing With Rejection Helps You To Be More Forgiving, Empathetic And Kind
When you are rejected, you almost certainly do not enjoy experiencing intense hurt, sadness, alienation, anger, jealousy or other negative feelings that commonly arise in these situations. Keep this in mind when someone whom you care about is going through rejection, and your capacity for empathy can flourish.
Unproductive response: Allowing destructive emotions and thought patterns to not only tarnish the way you view yourself, but also cause you to become bitter and uncaring toward others who are facing misfortune. This can have a grave impact on your social well-being.
Productive response: Using the lessons that you have learned from being rejected to provide others with advice and strengthen your social bonds. Foster a kind, compassionate, loving and forgiving spirit within yourself, and apply these feelings toward everyone, even those who rejected you.
3. Rejection Allows You To Realize That Most Situations Are Not Personal In Nature
Sometimes, it is difficult to view a rejection logically while you are still processing it, and your “gut” response may be to interpret the action as a personal judgment. Realize that in the vast majority of cases, rejection is not a reflection on you personally; it is simply a reality of a competitive world.
Unproductive response: Internalizing every action and experience that does not go your way as an intentional slight, insult or attack on you as an individual. Taking rejection to heart can lead to a universal lack of trust and excessive, misplaced and irrational anxiety.
Productive response: Analyzing the situation in a factual manner; for example, you likely did not get the job you wanted because you were up against a dozen other people with similar qualifications, not because the interviewer disliked you on a personal level.
4. Being Rejected When You Really Desire Something Can Increase Your Motivation To Keep Trying
Rejection can particularly sting when it means that you are going to miss out on an opportunity that you greatly coveted and worked hard to obtain. Channel your passion productively by resolving to try again, and you just may find that your desire to prove your naysayers wrong leads to something even better.
Unproductive response: Giving up on your dreams as a result of being rejected one or several times when you truly do love a certain hobby or career area. Do not allow rejections from publishing houses convince you to stop writing entirely, for instance.
Productive response: Taking the initiative to gain more experience in a certain field or earn more qualifications toward an educational program. Learn from your mistakes, keep working hard and seek more opportunities for success as they become available over time.
5. Rejection Can Encourage You To Alter, Re-Evaluate Or Re-Envision Your Life Goals
Although this may take a bit of time for you to acknowledge and accept, rejection can be a blessing in disguise in certain circumstances. Delve deep into your thoughts and evaluate your life path thoroughly, as experiencing rejection can cause you to realize that your goals may be different than what you expected.
Unproductive response: Refusing to do an honest and thorough self-assessment of your skills, opportunities, overall strengths and weaknesses and personal interests. If you are on a life path that you dislike, sticking with the status quo will make rejection even harder to face.
Productive response: Asking yourself if the rejection that you just experienced, whether in your professional or personal life, truly was about something that would have improved and enriched your life. If not, you have a new starting point from which to re-assess your priorities.
6. Processing And Working Through Rejection Can Strengthen Your Spiritual Faith
If you are a person of faith, rejection can bring about complicated emotions in regard to what your higher power has in store for you. Commit further to your spiritual faith or beliefs in the wake of rejection, and allow a sense of inner peace to help you heal and move forward.
Unproductive response: Blaming the higher power in whom you believe for the rejection that you just experienced, and shutting yourself off from spiritual practices and lines of communication. Do not run from your faith when times are trying and your pride is wounded.
Productive response: Strengthening your spiritual belief system through purposeful prayer, meditation or other methods of opening your mind to receive higher guidance. Stay steadfast in your belief that the universe has a plan for your existence and rejection plays a role for a reason.
Support During Rejection
When you are freshly experiencing rejection, your emotions may be too raw for you to effectively “look on the bright side” all on your own. Be proactive about seeking advice and support from caring, non-judgmental people who are not involved in the situation itself.
You may be surprised at how kind words and a wise perspective from friends, family members, mentors or groups comprised of people with similar stories can help to reframe your outlook. Seek understanding and acceptance from one or more sources of support, and you can be all the more productive in processing the rejection and moving forward with your life.