Dr. Brené Brown stated that “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them” in her bestselling book, Rising Strong. This excerpt reminds us that when dealing with disappointing moments, such as rejection, we have the power and the agency to choose how we react to those situations.

Most of us respond to rejection through the following lens, which enables us to internalize guilt and judgment, limiting our ability to learn and grow from the experience:

  1. We assume that the person/people or the organization rejecting us believe we are deficient or inherently wrong. 
  2. We assume that the person/people or the organization is ridiculous, and we focus on the people to avoid uncomfortable feelings that rejection can incite.

Below we offer some actionable ways to address disappointing moments. 

  1. Process your emotions:
      • Take time to process your initial feelings by writing them down.
  2. Reframe the way you look at the scenario by asking yourself the following questions:
      • What has changed before or after your rejection?
      • What is the story I tell myself around rejection?
      • How would you feel if you weren’t attached to the outcome?
      • When else in life has a disappointing outcome led me to enjoy something better down the road?
      • What can I learn about this experience?
      • What opportunities do I have now that it happened?
      • What would you tell a friend in this situation?
  3. Take a step back and practice self-care:
      • Workout
      • Make something (baking, cooking, artistry)
      • Listen to music
      • Meditate
  4. Practice self-affirmations.
  5. Spend time with the people you love.

As painful as rejection can feel, it has the power to serve as a form of kindness and realignment. In history, rejection propelled innovation and ingenuity. Rejection allows for us to make room for people and opportunities more aligned with who we truly are.

Written by Dr. Nadine De La Rosa and Dr. RC Stabile 

More Resources

Rejection and Resiliency Roundup

Responding to Manuscript Reviews While Avoiding Cerebral Aneurysms

Microaffirmations

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