rejection
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‘You are great. But…’

Perhaps it’s a typical rejection line we hear from time to time. Whenever we hear the word ‘but’, we know that the result is going to disappoint us.

Being rejected is indeed awful. But it’s something would inevitably happen from time to time. This gives us a good reason to learn how to deal with it.

There’re too many occasions where we might be rejected: when you ask someone you love out; when you apply for the job you have been dreaming of; or just simply when you ask your friends if they want to spend the holiday with you.

A simple answer, one word, two letters, ‘NO’, would already make us think a lot. Did I do something wrong? Am I not good enough? Sometimes this powerful word even causes us pain.

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We feel sad because we don’t truly know what rejection means

Think of the last time you were rejected. How did you react to it?

The most immediate reaction after being rejected is often feeling upset and frustrated. People tend to take it personally and think they’re not good enough. Self-doubt often arises and thus the lowering of self-esteem.

This has no use in helping them get back on the right track. And this also clearly shows people don’t truly understand what rejection means.

Rejection can mean mismatch of values

Sometimes rejection comes when you don’t share the same values, belief or personality with your date or your dream job. An introverted boy is likely to be rejected by an outgoing girl if she is looking for someone like her to be her partner. And it might not be surprising to see a social media editor being rejected by a traditional newspaper publisher. It’s just simply because you don’t share the same belief.

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Rejection can mean a lack of understanding

It takes some time to really know a person. But in an interview, the interviewer only has a limited time to get to know you. How can you really understand a person within just 30 minutes? So he/she can only tell if you’re a suitable candidate with your self-created perception. If you’re too nervous or not being natural, you can’t truly show who you really are. So sometimes what they reject is not the real you, but your self-created image under stress.

Rejection isn’t only about you, but also the one who rejects

An interview is not like an examination. Sometimes being rejected doesn’t mean you’re not at the top of the list. Perhaps it’s because you’re too good to be taken. The date or the interviewer may feel insecure to accept you. A small company might not hire someone who has a doctorate degree to be a receptionist. Your date might indeed feel that he/she doesn’t deserve you. Rejection is not only about you, and also about the one who rejects.

Rejection can be a blessing in disguise

When we realize that there’re so many possibilities in rejection, we wouldn’t take rejection too personally.

People are rejected not because they’re not good enough to reach the standard. It’s about suitability. Every time when you’re rejected, this tells you that the job, the date, or anything you have longed for is not suitable for you. This actually helps you to filter out what doesn’t suit you. And the options you haven’t considered may surprisingly match your interest and need.Being rejected can be a process helping you to find your best fit.

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When we realize that there’re so many possibilities in rejection, we wouldn’t take rejection too personally. But what still bothers us is how to get rid of the negative loop. And here’s what you can do:

Divert the attention from rejection

You can’t be really happy when you’re rejected. So the first step is to deal with the immediate aftermath. The frustration you feel is awful but like the other time when you feel upset, try to give yourself a cool down period. Divert your attention from rejection by doing something you like or simply taking a rest: go for a walk, take a nap, or have a nice meal. This helps to recharge yourself physically and mentally.

Reframe the rejection

The cool down period helps clear your mind and see things more objectively. And now, it’s time for you to reframe the rejection. Don’t focus on the fact that you’re rejected but instead, see it in another perspective. If you ask someone on a date and he/she say no, instead of saying ‘he/she rejected me’, say ‘he/she said no’. If you apply for a position and fail, say ‘I didn’t get the job’ instead of ‘they rejected my application’. See? Avoid saying the word ‘reject’. This way you are framing the rejection as something not personal.

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Learn from the rejection

Rejection is always helpful in the sense that it helps you identify what is more suitable for you. When you’re rejected, this means you might not be suitable for whatever you want. If you find what you pursued before might not be the best option for you, you should look for alternatives.

But if you insist that’s the best option, no matter it’s your date or your job, then you should learn from the experience. If your date says no, try to ask why. Perhaps you have said something wrong, or you have bored him/her. Then you can make adjustments according to the feedback. Even if you don’t know why he/she says no, you can still do it in a different way next time because you know the old trick doesn’t work.

Rejection doesn’t always mean you’re not good enough. If you realize that rejection is a way to help you find what truly fits you, someday you’ll find what is perfect for you and be accepted.

This piece was first published in Life Hack.

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