Dealing with Rejection

2011/06/19 in Relationships

When you’re put down, you can feel angry, hurt, helpless, confused and alone. These feelings arise because when somebody rejects you, two things usually happen. One, you lose confidence in yourself, and two, your self-esteem, the way you feel about yourself, is damaged.


The more serious the put down. the worse you’ll feel. We’ll talk about some things you can do to make yourself feel better if you have been rejected. We’ll also give you some tips on what to do so you don’t set yourself up for rejection.

Rejection shakes your self-confidence and lowers your self-esteem. That’s why it makes sense to deal with it by doing things that will give your self-confidence a lift and help you feel good about yourself again. One way is to help others, whether it’s picking up groceries for an elderly neighbor, or doing some household chore without being asked. You might want to try volunteer work or church work. Helping others will make you feel better about yourself, which is what raising your self-esteem is all about.

Another way to boost your ego is to do something that you know you do well and to do it often. Some individuals get a lift from strenuous exercise while others find creative activities boost their spirits. The trick is to find the particular thing that really turns you on in a constructive and positive way and to use that activity as a way of feeling good about yourself again.

Also, when you’re put down, it’s probably not always all your fault. Look at what you did and how much you were responsible for what happened so that you can work on changing your behavior. But don’t forget that the person who rejected you may have done so for reasons that have nothing to do with you at all. If you realize that you’re not totally to blame, being rejected might be a little easier to take.

Rejection can make you feel miserable. And it might be a while before you start feeling good about yourself again. To help you start feeling better, do some of the things we’ve just suggested. Also, think about what you can do to keep from going through this again — and again. Many people get put down a lot because they unconsciously set themselves up for it. Here are some suggestions if that’s what you are doing.

Some people repeatedly set themselves up for rejection by setting unrealistic goals for themselves. For example, they think they’ve got to get the first job they apply for. When they don’t, they feel put down. Their expectations are unrealistic. Today, jobs are scarce, and hunting for a job can be a long and frustrating experience. Very few people get the first job they go after. Say you have your heart set on getting into the most popular group at school, or making the varsity team. Take a good look at how realistic your goals are. In reality, any varsity team consists of just a few skilled athletes, and you may not really meet, or desire to meet, the acceptance requirements of a particular school group. If you’re unrealistic about what you can achieve or what you’ve got going for you, you’re probably setting yourself up for rejection. That’s not to say don’t set goals for yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results. Just don’t set your sights so high that even falling a little short leaves you feeling totally rejected.

Something else you can do to avoid setting yourself up for rejection is to stop worrying about it ahead of time. If you are expecting to fail, your behavior or attitude may be sending out clues that will turn off others and make that fear come true. For example, suppose you want to ask someone out, but are convinced you will be turned down. Chances are good that if you look and sound defeated no one will be enthusiastic about having a date with you. Worrying about rejection may actually cause it. Relax and be yourself.

When we’ve been put down, we often feel hurt and angry enough to badmouth those people who’ve rejected us. It makes us feel good to get back at them. Sometimes we take our feelings out on our friends and family, even when they were in no way involved. But this is also a good way to set ourselves up for more rejection. The people you’re badmouthing certainly won’t be too happy with you, and your friends and family won’t put up with your weird behavior for very long.

We’ve talked about several things you can do to avoid rejection in the future. One is to have realistic expectations. Second, is to avoid worrying about the possibility of rejection before it happens. Also, don’t invite further rejection by badmouthing those who’ve hurt or angered you, or by taking your feelings out on innocent friends or family members.

If you have been put down, work on feeling good about yourself again, and on rebuilding your self-confidence. Do something nice for someone else, and do something nice for yourself. Try not to get down on yourself, because you’re probably not totally to blame for what happened. That’s pretty important to remember. Whatever happened to make you feel rejected, try to be easy on yourself. You’re going through a rough time in your life, and you’re probably pretty sensitive about the way people react to you and treat you. Rejection can really hurt and everyone experiences it at one time or another. But it needn’t be the end of the world.

If possible, try to prevent rejection, but if it happens, try to be ready for it and use some of our suggestions to deal with it.

For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)

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