Rejection is something most people dread. No one wants to be told they’re not good enough for something, such as a job or college, or someone, such as a potential partner or friend. But rejection is simply a part of human life, as in everyone experiences it at least once, and it doesn’t always have to be a terrible thing with no benefits.
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Even famously successful people have been rejected, usually in the beginning of their careers. Walt Disney was fired from an early job for “lacking imagination.” Vogue editor and fashion guru, Anna Wintour was once fired from Harper’s Bazaar fashion magazine, and “Harry Potter” author J.K Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before finding a company willing to publish her now famous fantasy series. All three people continued to work toward their dream despite being rejected, and all three were incredibly successful as a result.
Believe or not, rejection can free you and be a vital life-building experience. People come out of rejection more focused, more confident and stronger all the time, if they let the experience become a learning process.
Check out the following six ways that rejection can actually be good for you in the long-term, no matter how badly it hurts you in the short-term.
1.You Get A Self-Esteem Boost
When you are rejected, your self-esteem is usually knocked down a peg or two. But as you process what happened, you develop a thicker skin and do some self-evaluation. This allows you to take stock of what you’re doing and whether it is right for you. Your close look at yourself can also allow you to gain a new appreciation for what you see, resulting in a better, stronger level of self-esteem.
Take a look at yourself as a person when you’ve experienced rejection. Allow yourself to appreciate your finer qualities while acknowledging your less desirable ones so you can improve your self-confidence and move past this rejection and onto brighter, better things.
Don’t be afraid to take a closer look at your shortcomings, too. There’s no need to beat yourself over the head because of your flaws, as no one person is perfect. Instead, take an honest look at what you can improve on and where you can do better. Self-improvement is another great self-esteem boost, and it can pay off in many areas of your life.
2.You Become More Resilient
Each time you’re rejected, you bounce back. This is a boost to your resilience, because rejection helps you realize you can take risks and survive. Rejection isn’t a permanent thing, so it opens your eyes to what else you can try—after all, if you’re rejected again, you know you’ll be okay even if it stings at first.
Open yourself up to new things once you’ve recovered from the sting of being rejected. Keep the experience fresh in the back of your mind to help propel you forward into things you’ve always wanted to do but have been too worried about rejection to try. Make a bucket list if you need to, as that can help remind you of what you want to try and give you the incentive to make it happen!
3.You’ll Feel Braver
As with improving your resilience, rejection can help you conquer fears that are preventing you from trying something new. Fear of failure is a powerful deterrent, but when you’re rejected and experience failure, yet survive, it reminds you that fear can often be overcome.
Use your new-found confidence and perspective after you’ve been rejected to overcome a fear that’s been haunting you. While you may not nail it the first time, just trying to move past that fear is half the battle, and a little bravery can go a long way the next time.
4.You Become More Determined
Both J.K Rowling and Anna Wintour have spoken of becoming more determined to accomplish their goals after being rejected. Experiencing a rejection can light a fire in you, so to speak, when it comes to determination. You learn you can’t always get what you want by just asking for it. Sometimes, you’ll have to fight and prove what you can bring to the table.
Use your rejection to strengthen your focus and prove yourself, even if you’re just doing it for yourself. Remember that rejection means you’re actually trying, and that alone can act as motivation to push you forward on a path toward your goals.
5.You Stop Taking It Personally
Rejection isn’t always personal. If you didn’t get into the college you wanted, for example, it doesn’t mean that everyone there disliked you. You just didn’t meet their criteria for acceptance.
Since rejection is painful, it’s easy to think it’s always personal when it isn’t. Even if you’re rejected by someone you know and love, it may not be about you but about something that is going on with that other person.
Assess what happened with a clear eye, without assigning a ton of blame to yourself. You may find that it’s not about you, and nothing you could have done would have stopped the rejection from happening. By making rejection less personal, you’ll be less afraid of it next time and more willing to take the risk rather than missing out because of fear.
6.You Get Better At Moving On
Rejection, particularly from someone you care about or from something you truly wanted, can really linger with you. But if you hold on to rejection for too long, you may not move on when you should. Experiencing rejection and struggling to let it go can be a valuable experience on its own, as you learn from it. Next time, you’ll move on faster instead of letting one negative experience drag you down.
Look at why you struggled to move on from a past rejection, and use that knowledge to shape how you move past rejection in the future. This is one of those times where it’s okay to dwell on the negatives for a little bit, as in what did you lose when you didn’t move on from rejection when you should have? Did you miss out on fun experiences, new opportunities or other positive things because you were too busy being stuck on what happened?
Seeing what dwelling on rejection cost you in an honest light will help remind you to move on quicker in the future. Time is short, so it’s best if you don’t waste it on what could have been or what you should have done differently. Focus on what is, and move forward as soon as you’re able.
Rejection, like other negative experiences in life, can actually enrich you as a person if you let it. While it will hurt for now, take this opportunity to improve your life and learn from it as best you can.