How to handle rejection.

There are two types of people in this world; those that can handle rejection and those who find it really, really difficult. I’ve got no shame admitting I’m the second persona - the person who just can’t deal with rejection.

I take things far too personally, and I’ve always needed an answer to why I was rejected. Not qualified enough? Not the right fit? Not good looking enough? Not the right nationality? Not the right cultural fit?

Whatever the reason, I’ve always made it my mission to find the exact reason for rejection - sometimes this can be useful (particularly with careers), but also really hurtful and not necessary to find out in other scenario (talking ‘bout chu relationships).

how to handle rejection

Recently, I’ve come to understand the true meaning behind the saying “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of happiness,” by Bo Bennett. Imagine if you never, ever got rejected. Everything and everyone you ever reached for was instantly given to you - you’d learn to not try and life would be far too simple.

I enjoy a good challenge like anyone else, and I’m vowing to turn each and every rejection into a powerful lesson. Before we jump into how the heck to handle rejection, I wanted to highlight just a few familiar faces that have faced harsh rejections and bounced back from them. 

  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

  • At the age of 22, Oprah Winfrey was fired from her television reporter job because she “was unfit” for television.

  • The first time Jerry Seinfield ever performed in a comedy club, he froze on stage and was eventually booed off the stage.

  • Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television THREE times.

  • The Beatles were dropped by their first record label, who said “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out. They have no future in show business.”

  • Elvis Presley was fired after his first performance, with the manager of the venue telling him “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” 

  • J.K. Rowling had her first manuscript of Harry Potter turned down by 12 separate publishers before it went on to sell 450 million copies worldwide. 

If you finish that list and don’t feel a tiny bit inspired by the thought of rejection, then perhaps this article isn’t for you. I know after writing that I feel like I could conquer the bloody world, and that it’s perfectly okay to be rejected.

how to handle rejection

It’s how we choose to deal with rejection and how we handle rejection that will make all the difference in the long term. Here’s my method for how I personally deal with rejection

1.  Acknowledge it

It sounds silly, but when we’re rejected we tend to make excuses up and internalise it. We don’t share our rejections as we share our wins, but it’s unhealthy to not talk about them. The first step is to say “Yep, that actually happened. And I’m okay with it.” Sure, it’s hard to accept, but acceptance is the first step to taking a lesson from the rejection. Talk about it with pals over a coffee or wine, and allow yourself to not feel ashamed or embarrassed - it happens to everyone.


2. Change your mindset

Rather than kicking yourself and thinking you’re weak or pathetic, give yourself a pat on the back. Each time you’re rejected is a reminder that you’re pushing your boundaries and taking leaps and bounds out of your comfort zone (you would never get rejected if you chose to stay inside and hide from the world). If you’re not facing rejection every now and then, how can you truly say you’re living. Next time you get rejected for a new job, passed up for a promotion of rejected by your latest Tinder date, relish in the fact that you’re putting yourself out there.


3. Learn and move on

Don’t let yourself fixate on the rejection. It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of thinking about why someone wasn’t attracted to you or thought you weren’t worthy of a promotion for days, weeks or even months after. Know that the rejection was for a reason, and remember that just as one door closes, four others open!

How to handle rejection ellie parker live with elle

I leave you with one of my favourite quotes I came across whilst writing this article:

“I know that when a door closes, it can feel like all doors are closing. A rejection letter can feel like everyone will reject us. But a closed door leads to clarity. It’s really an arrow. Because we cannot go through that door, we will go somewhere else. That somewhere else is your true life.” – Tama J. Kieves