How to Overcome Rejection

Consider the ways in which your experience of rejection offers opportunities for self-growth.Consider the ways in which your experience of rejection offers opportunities for self-growth.

Being rejected can be a hurtful and even humiliating experience, whether you've been turned down for a date, a job, or pushed away by a friend or family member. After you've been rejected, it's important to gain some perspective, remembering rejection is something that happens to everyone. By choosing to empower yourself and taking steps to lift your self-esteem, you'll find you can bounce back from rejection more easily than you thought.

Take It Easy On Yourself

After being on the receiving end of a rejection, it's hard not to feel badly about yourself, and even to feel like something must be "wrong" with you. Rejection, despite feeling very personal, often has nothing to do with you, says clinical psychologist Dr. Carmen Harra in an article for Huffington Post. The person doing the rejecting is acting on her own feelings, insecurities or fears, not on specific things that are somehow wrong about you. Before you go being too hard on yourself, says Dr. Harra, remember you don't really know what goes on in anyone else's mind.

Focus On The Positive

Don't allow your negative thoughts to replay themselves over and over. In order to regain your self-esteem, it's important for you to focus on the positive. This could mean your own strengths and likeable qualities, or even the positive that came out of being rejected. On her website, counselor Elly Prior recommends you reach out to family and friends for support, and get back into doing things you enjoy, even if it feels like an effort at first. If you're having a hard time banishing negative thoughts or memories of the rejection, Prior suggests setting aside 20 minutes a day in which you give yourself permission to go over what happened.

Prepare For Rejection Beforehand

In certain situations, such as asking someone out on a date or approaching your boss about that promotion, it's possible to anticipate the possibility of being turned down. Let this knowledge work in your favor, advises Columbia psychology professor and rejection specialist Geraldine Downey, Ph.D., in an interview with She suggests that, instead of worrying about what might happen if you get rejected, focus your energy on how you can increase your chances of getting a 'Yes.' Promise yourself that, no matter what happens, you'll find a way to make the experience a positive one.

Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

Rejection will sting much less if you don't hang all of your hopes for happiness on one job hiring you or on your prospective love interest agreeing to a date, writes anxiety disorder specialist and Psychology Today contributor Dr. Fredric Neuman. People who have several irons in the fire are less likely to focus on one specific opportunity that didn't pan out. Schedule multiple job interviews until you find something, or start dating again right away even though your last date didn't go as well as you'd hoped. Don't let fear put you on the bench.

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About the Author

A New York native, Carrie Stemke is an avid writer, editor and traveler whose work has covered many different topics. She has had a lifelong fascination with and love of psychology, and hold's a bachelor's degree in the subject. Her psychology research articles have been published in Personality and Individual Differences and in Modern Psychological Studies.

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