Treating rejection as a friend rather than an enemy

“Rejection is one of the worst, most neglected and common wounds.” – Frank Hammond, author of Overcoming Rejection.

No matter how big or small, rejection affects everyone, and its sting can be challenging to soothe. We put ourselves out there, optimistic about a new beginning, maybe with a relationship or job, only to receive what feels like a personal attack on who we are.

We can try to escape it but the truth is rejection is unavoidable. In fact, it’s difficult to have a successful life and career without it.

In his book, psychologist Kevin Hogan explains that it only takes one denial to strip a person of their self-control and self-esteem.

“The fear of rejection, dealing with rejection, overcoming rejection… it’s all part of the life nightmare,” he says.

Yet, the definition of rejection tells us nothing about how it feels to be rejected. It simply states, the act of refusing to accept, use or believe someone or something.

So, how does one learn to overcome and deal with it?

A few strategies that can help us cope with rejection and develop a better mindset towards it include:

  1. Dealing with rejection before it strikes.

Whether it from being turned down or not getting that job, rejection confronts us every day.

In his book, spiritual author Frank Hammond discusses how the fear of rejection can end up making us question everything.

This is why asking ourselves what scares us about being rejected is essential in dealing with it.

Maybe you’re worried about rejection because you’re afraid of not having a secure job.

Whatever it is, outlining strategies to deal with these worries such as having a backup plan, makes dealing with rejection, easier.

Frustrated man.

Kevin Hogan explains you should never attempt to be certain that you will achieve a specific result.

“Even if you achieve some kind of result 98 per cent of the time…it still benefits you long-term to only be certain that you will perform as good or as well as anyone can,” he says.

2. Changing the way you think and feel about rejection.

When we get rejected, we turn inwards and allow negative thoughts about ourselves and our worth to fill our brain.

We ask ourselves are we good enough? Was it our fault that person left or that we didn’t get that job?

These are the common, yet degrading thoughts that race to our minds the minute we’re rejected, which is why it’s so crucial to deal with. Our opinions of ourselves are what drives us in life so, it’s essential to try staying positive and not let the destructive emotions weigh us down.

A helpful step is, to be honest about the rejection and your emotions towards it. Whether you’re feeling upset, angry or down, acknowledging these emotions rather than suppressing them can help you develop a more constructive mindset.

“Forgiveness is a manifestation of love.” – Frank Hammond.

It’s vital to check in with yourself and notice what you are experiencing. It’s okay to cry, in fact, getting your emotions out is a good way to express what’s bothering you, plus it aids in your ability to move on faster. As does talking to someone else about your rejection.

It can be really freeing to speak to a friend or family member about your opinions. Not only because it’s reassuring to know they understand how you feel but because it helps you put your thoughts into words.

Women comforting a friend.

3. Be optimistic and keep things in perspective.

While we should acknowledge our emotions, it’s important to know when it’s time to let go. Allowing those destructive thoughts of self-doubt take over your mind can potentially lead to future rejection and negative thoughts.

Master Influencer, Kevin Hogan explains, that knowing how you personally react to rejection can help you better deal with it in the future.

When you describe the rejection to yourself, remember to stick to the facts and not the thoughts your mind makes up.

Instead of saying, ‘I’m not good enough or I’ll never get it’, consider thinking about what you did right. Remember times when you were accepted for a job, got that opportunity or all the positive comments people have made about you and the person you are.

Consider being self-compassionate (treat oneself with kindness), which is more important in negative life events than high self-esteem.

Women looking into a mirror

Another beneficial approach is to remove yourself from the position of the rejected and into the position of a friend of the rejected.

What would you say to that friend?

You’d try and lift them up, explain to them that it won’t always happen like this and tell them not to give up. It’s encouraging words that remind us why we can do things.

Kevin Hogan says that learning to be kind to yourself in times of rejection can be easier than trying to raise one’s self-esteem, as it promotes positive feelings.

So ask yourself what would a friend say to me?

4. Learn from your mistakes.

“The average person…is prone to see their surface problems rather than their root problems,” Frank Hammond clarifies.

Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of being human and there’s no shame in that, in fact, you can learn a lot from them.

Whether it’s the way you interviewed, an error in your resume or how you presented yourself, use rejection as an opportunity to self-improve.

“Correction isn’t rejection.” – Frank Hammond.

women writing in her notebook.

The most essential thing to do is to give yourself credit for trying. You put yourself on the line and did your best.

Rejection is difficult but if you deal with it right, you can bring forth a confident version of yourself that can do anything.


Ellenie Case is a 22-year-old journalist living in Melbourne. Her passion has always been writing whether that be creatively or for articles in magazines. She loves organising, planning and creating projects which are where she thrives the most.

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