I am usually the first person to text after a first date. I’ve always applied to jobs I am underqualified for. I raise my hand for opportunities at work that I will probably fail at. When I was 15, I called my crush and asked him out via VOICEMAIL.
This is all to say, I am really good at “putting it out there.” And by necessity, I am also really good at good at handling rejection. But not everyone is – hey it’s tough! This is a guide for everyone afraid of a “no.”
1. Figure out when and where people’s opinions of you matter: I am not of the opinion that other people’s opinions of you never matter. Most personal rejections rejections are instances where the other person’s opinion of you doesn’t matter. For example, if he doesn’t want to go on a second date because he thinks you’re too political, his opinion doesn’t matter (and is also wrong). If it’s a professional rejection, the other person’s opinion may matter slightly but think of it more as constructive criticism rather than outright rejection. If you don’t get that job because you’re lacking hard quantitative analysis skills, it’s not outright denigration of your professional self. It’s a recommendation that your already rock star resume would be further strengthened by learning Stata.
2. Rejection often has to do more with them than it does with you: I think this lesson is more applicable to personal rejections, which in my opinion hurt more because they feel like a rejection of your whole self rather than just your professional self. But a lot of the time, it has very little to do with you and what you did. It’s genuinely a “it’s not you it’s me” situation. Maybe it’s the wrong timing for them, maybe they have baggage to work through, maybe they’re going through a really tough time. So many times, when I’ve been on the giving rather than the receiving side my “no” was mostly about my own fears and complexes rather than their love of the Office.
3. There doesn’t always have to be a why: You’re going to face some Nos that don’t have a because attached to it, and that’s okay. People aren’t always going to explain themselves, and personally, I don’t think they have to. Not every feeling has a clear reason, or maybe you just don’t need to be privy to that reason. Feel all your feelings – but know that they’re entitled to do so as well without explaining themselves to you.
4. Don’t let it shrink you: Whether you need to post a fire selfie on Instagram or listen to Lizzo for 10 hours straight or get a bathroom pep talk from your BFFs, do not let rejection make you any less than you are. Do not let it chip it away at your sense of self. Do not let it dilute you, scare you, shame you. Instead, become even more yourself. Chase out any bad thoughts by filling the space with so much you there’s no room for them.
5. Rejection does not have to be an impetus for change: Unlike Khloe Kardashian’s “Revenge Body” show would suggest, rejection doesn’t have to be that final push you need to “be your best self”. In fact, I think the strongest, most impactful self-improvement is driven by a profound sense of self love. Like, I already love myself so much can you imagine how much more amazing I would be if I decided to build more joyful movement into my day? Someone saying that they don’t like you, or that you’re not the right for the job isn’t always a sign you need to change. Maybe you just need to change the kinds of opportunities and people you’re chasing.