5 Steps to Handling Rejection Like a Pro
Celestine Chua | Dumb Little Man
Rejection can be tough to handle. I know because I face them often in my life.
As a personal development blogger, some readers reject what I write in my articles, sometimes writing lengthy personal emails to tell me why I’m wrong. In my work as a speaker, there are times when participants reject what I share during my workshops. In growing my business and blog, there have been countless times when I reach out to others for collaboration opportunities, only to get turned down.
Even in my personal life, I experience rejections too. For example, my family members are private individuals – they don’t like to talk about themselves. There have been times when I try to connect them on a personal level, with limited results. Some of my friends can be quite nonsocial – Often times I contact them to arrange for a meet-up, only to receive lukewarm responses. Here, their rejection comes in the form of non-reciprocated efforts.
Needless to say, rejection can be quite a downer, especially when you’re banking your hopes on a positive outcome. No one likes to receive a “No”, when it’s so much better to get a “Yes”.
The thing is, rejection is part of growth – be it in work, relationships or life. In the past few years of actively pursuing my growth, I’ve learned it’s not possible to avoid rejection if you want to truly develop as a person. Rejection helps you to uncover blind spots, to learn more about yourself, and ultimately to grow.
The only way to avoid rejections is to box yourself tightly in your comfort zone, in which case you fail to live by default. This is not how you want your life to be – You’re capable of so much more.
While rejection isn’t easy, there are ways to deal with it and make it manageable. Here, I’d like to share with you 5 key steps that have worked very well for me:
1. Don’t take it personally
When you approach someone, you open yourself up, so getting a rejection naturally makes you feel like they’re rejecting you. That’s why most people tend to take rejections personally.
For example, when I get rejections on things that are very important to me, I feel hurt. I’d wonder if there’s something wrong with me or if I’m not good enough. I’d also wonder if there was something I could have done to make things different. This puts me in a state of self-doubt.
Of course, such thinking doesn’t help. It only makes you feel bad about yourself. For whatever rejection you’ve faced, recognize it’s a rejection of the request, not you. Your request is merely an extension of your thoughts; it does not represent you as a person. Both are two entirely separate things.
Recognize that many rejections are rarely personal. They usually reflect more about the other person and how the request doesn’t meet his/her needs, than about you. By taking yourself out of the equation, you’ll realize a lot of your emotional responses with the rejection are unnecessary.