How to deal with rejection

“Unfortunately, we have decided not to progress with your application at this time”

I looked at the email with disbelief, leaned back on my chair and sighed. I felt frustrated, unwanted and hurt.

I can’t believe this. Again??

I hadn’t been feeling appreciated in my job lately and I was having interviews the past few weeks. This was the sixth automated email I received back, giving me the bad news.

Am I really that rubbish? I don’t even deserve a personal email?

I got up angry, made some tea and sat back down at my desk, staring at my screen blindly. I was running through the interview in my head.

Not all my answers were great, but this time I really thought I had a chance. But no.

Maybe I’m not as good as I thought I was.

Rejection comes in many forms

I’ve been rejected professionally countless times: when I asked for a promotion, I was told I still had to prove myself and that I wasn’t mature enough. When I applied for jobs, I’ve been told I don’t have enough experience, I’m not the right fit for the company and other candidates were better than I was.

I’ve also been rejected personally by people who didn’t want my friendship … nor my heart. I’ve been excluded from a team, friends stopped inviting me for social events, and many guys who “weren’t ready for a relationship” pretty much married the next person they met.

It still hurts. Every. Single. Time.

So, wouldn’t it be better to withdraw from it all and not even bother to apply for a job? Abandon others before they have a chance to reject us?


We all want to feel accepted and wanted, but playing it small will never get us a life we’re dreaming of. If we’re afraid of expressing who we are and how we really feel, we won’t be able to connect with anyone and live our full potential.

It’s a lonely, empty life.

But how can you deal with rejection? How can you just get back up there and risk again getting hurt?

How to deal with rejection

It will always be painful, but there’s a way to get over rejection faster and use it to our advantage. Let me share how I’ve dealt with it in the past.

Take out your journal, write down these questions and answer them as honestly as you can.

1.Did they reject ME or did they reject the offer/situation/project?

Just like with criticism, it’s very important to separate the ego from the equation, so step back and look at things objectively.

Write down what happened and describe what your instant thoughts were.

You need to let them out, believe me : )

For example:

  • I presented our offer for the client and they declined. I’m so bad in sales.
  • I asked my colleague to go for a lunch and she said no, because she was busy. I knew she didn’t like me.
  • I was in an interview that went well, but they said they picked someone else. I’m so incompetent.
  • I was going out with this person for 2 months, then he got distant and after few weeks he said it was better we stopped seeing each other. I’m not enough for anyone. No one will ever love me.

Now, have a look at what you wrote. Think what proof you have AGAINST your instant thoughts, what could have caused it objectively, and whether it was personal or not.

For example:

  • I just closed three deals this week, so I could say I’m good in sales. Client mentioned they had problems with the costs, so it probably was the offer. NOT PERSONAL.
  • We have had nice chats with her at the coffee machine. She did mention she has a crazy deadline, so I guess she would have said no to everyone. NOT PERSONAL.
  • They didn’t select me, but I have quite a good career and I’m proud of my projects so I can’t really say I’m incompetent. Maybe they got an internal candidate or someone with more experience on this field. PERSONAL.
  • I have had relationships in the past and I have friends and family who care for me. We did have some differences – he liked parties and I liked nights in, which caused stress.  PERSONAL.

2. How did I react and what I will do next time?

After you have broken it down, take a chance to learn from this situation. Write down how you reacted and what you could do better next time.

For example:

  • Instead of not replying back to the client, I will ask how we could improve the offer. Even if they still decline, I can use that info for the next time.
  • Instead of walking off and ignoring my colleague, I will ask at the coffee machine how her project is advancing and suggest another lunch date after the deadline.
  • Instead of being angry and not replying the HR, I will thank them and ask them to consider me for any other position that comes up.
  • Instead of spending nights up thinking what I did wrong, I will write down a list of qualities I want in the next partner.

3. What is good about this rejection?

Yes, perhaps a surprising (and annoying) question to ask when you’ve been rejected and probably your first reaction will be: NOTHING!

But think about it a bit more closely.

Was this job really the dream job you wanted? Was this person really the right one for you?

Often rejection is a blessing in disguise and helps us to get more clarity on what we want from life: there’s something MUCH better out there.

Forget the hurt feelings, take out your journal again and really reflect what is positive about this situation and what you need to consider NEXT TIME.

For example:

  • This client would have brought a lot of money, but already the time spent on calls and requirements was huge. NEXT TIME I will keep the 80/20 principle in mind and concentrate my efforts on clients who really want this product.
  • I had time to go for a walk and found a nice park. It was relaxing. NEXT TIME someone says no, I won’t sit at my desk alone, but will go to the park with my lunch and enjoy the sunshine.
  • This job would have added two hours of commute each day so I couldn’t have spent as much time with my hobbies, family and friends. Exhausting. NEXT TIME I’ll apply only for jobs that have a reasonable commute, allow me to work at home at least one day per week or have flexible hours.
  • This person was fun and outgoing, but partying all the time without any plans for the future. If we would have continued together, I would have been even more stressed and upset because I want someone who wants to settle down. NEXT TIME I will select a person who suits me better: I could get a hobby or start going to events where I’ll meet like-minded people.

Keep aiming for the life you want

Fear of rejection can stop us expressing our real feelings, speaking with the person we’re attracted to and even applying for that job we’re dreaming of.

It can stop us going for the opportunities that could change our lives.

It is tempting to aim low so we won’t get disappointed or rejected, but DO NOT EVER LOWER YOUR STANDARDS.

You deserve every single bit of the deliciousness life has in store for you.

Screw the amount of rejections. In the end, all you need is ONE YES from a person who believes in you.

Keep trying x


Ps. if you found this post useful in anyway, please do like it, share it or tell it in comments. I would really appreciate it : ) Thank you!

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