There is a quotation I once read in one of my favorite books: “Without pain, we couldn’t know joy.”
Although no one enjoys problems, failures, and worst of all, rejections, one has to appreciate how rewarding it is, when the clouds subside. Everyone faces rejection in some form or the other in life, and it hurts even more when you care. It is normal to be depressed in such situations but the only way to turn it around would be to move on and not obsess over it. Obviously, getting over rejection is easier said than done. Human beings can govern their tongues but not their minds or emotions. Like everything else in life, you will not reach your ‘happy place’ in an instant. Epiphanies don’t actually happen. Everything takes time, and so will getting over rejection.
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A list of steps to how you can handle rejection is given below:
1. Accept you’re hurt.
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Repression is an action of subduing something by force. Repressing past memories is regarded as unhealthy by psychologists. Instead of trying to forget your pain and pretending everything is fine, take a moment to grieve and let it all out. Crying is not silly. It takes a lot of courage to admit your pain. As a great man once said, “the thing about pain is that it demands to be felt.”
2. Talk about it.
Talk about it to whomever you feel will understand and not judge you. A friend, a family member, a therapist, an agony aunt – whoever is considerate enough for you to confide in. Even a shout out into the void is not completely worthless. Purge it all out of your system. By the end of this cleanse, you’ll feel lighter.
3. Spend time with friends and relax.
Now that you’re done grieving, try to appreciate the best aspects of life – friends, movies, and ice cream. Or you could go shopping and have ice cream. Or go to a spa and then enjoy waffles with ice cream. Alternatively, you could try whatever that helps you unwind and for once not make you feel like your existence is pointless. But you should know that ice cream is the sole truth in life.
4. Get inspired.
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Get to know about the different kinds of rejections our most favorite fictional characters faced at some juncture. Did Tom Haverford from the hilarious NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation stop coming up with innovative ideas after his company went bankrupt because, well, he made no money? Did Joseph Gordon Levitt not get back on the horse after being rejected by whom he thought was ‘The One’ in the amazing rom-com movie 500 Days of Summer? Did Miles Teller’s Andrew Neiman not rebound after traumatically quitting his passion for drumming in Damien Chazelle’s masterpiece Whiplash? Even in real, non-fictional life, rejections and failures have given the world so much – look at Michael Jordan who had lost over 300 games. Sam Smith wrote an album and won a Grammy or two after a breakup. Albert Einstein, Vincent Van Gogh, Oprah Winfrey, Colonel Sanders of KFC, Po the Kung Fu Panda – each one of them dealt with rejection before success which means even the greats fall before rising. Life teaches us over and over again: A smooth sea never made a skilful sailor.
5. Indulge in constructive activities.
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The plan is to keep yourself engaged and occupied now that you have more time on your hands. After lightening up, pursue something in your leisure time – music, books, sports, craft, gardening – do what makes you feel alive.
Alternatively, engage yourself into physical activities. Yoga can do wonders for your body and ward off the blues that grip you. Or else, you could work out at the gym and eat healthy to remake yourself completely fit. Nothing boosts an ego like a great form.
Learn a new language. Take a course on a subject you think you might be interested in. Master the art of baking. There’s no dearth of what you could do with your spare time.
If you have an artistic bent of mind, channel your melancholy into art – drawings, sculptures, photographs, and what all of us can try doing – write. Play around with words till you can flush out all your negativity onto an empty canvas. Maybe this was the best thing that happened to you. What you pursue at this point may not only help you heal that bruised ego of yours but may also stay with you for the rest of your life.
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6. Don’t fixate on your disappointment.
Don’t let what has happened turn you into an obsessive over-thinker. Don’t dwell on what could or should have happened. Every experience educates us and it’s imperative to learn from your mistakes but fixating on the negativitiy will give rise to deep-seated resentment in you. This is an important time in your life. How you deal with tragedy defines who you are. So you can choose to be a bitter, cynical person hating everything and everyone, or you could accept all the sides to your situation, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and be the splendid person that you are.
7. Appreciate the beauty that is self-deprecating humor.
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The world laughs with those who can laugh at themselves. Otherwise, you’re just a nut job who takes themselves very seriously and the world still laughs at you. Don’t take everything so personally. Quoting a song that I love, “You’re just a speck of dust within the galaxy”. Life is too short for being uptight and self-important. We all have hopes, dreams, fears, and regrets, brimming to the surface. In the midst of all this, let’s all not forget to have a good time. If you find it odd to laugh at yourself, watch the brilliant comedian Louis CK or British YouTuber Daniel Howell who specialize in gallows humor.
8. Treat yourself right.
You are a person who deserves to be respected. And if you don’t respect yourself, who will? Rejections are not good for our self-esteem. Remember not to let the hurdles in your path of life deflate you. Get out of that pool of self-loathing and pity; do what makes you feel happy, buy pretty things, and stay with those who love you. Self-discovery, realization, and introspection are of utmost significance. You deserve to be content.
9. Face your fear.
“You’re afraid of heights? Go to the top of the building. You’re afraid of bugs?…Get a bug!” – Joey Tribbiani, FRIENDS
The most basic way to overcome anything in your life is to face it. If you gather the pluck to not hide from whoever it is that rejected you, you might not feel so good at that point but it will not be as humiliating anymore. People tend to overanalyze everything to the point that it becomes so much worse in their heads. Avoiding confrontation only fuels that imagination in our heads. When you see them, getting over rejection will be possible. Basic life hack: Instead of running away or hiding, deal with it. Life will be much easier.
10. Get back in the game!
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You, my friend, are now ready to move on. After all that self-love and self-realization, you are ready for things to go back to normal. You are now a wiser, stronger, and much more self-possessed person. Go, immerse yourself in your work, focus on righting whatever it was that you were doing wrong, and triumph will be yours. Make new friends, have amazing conversations, and find new mountains to conquer. And if it was a matter of the heart, remember – there’s always plenty of fish in the sea or pond or river.
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We all fear and have to face rejection. A punch to the gut is more welcome than rejection. However, believe it or not, we all have something to live for. Even if we were not rejected, things wouldn’t have worked out. Later, when you look back at life, you’ll realize how little it mattered in the grand scheme of things. Victory and defeat are the two inevitable constants that keep altering as per their own convenience.
Eminent writer, Mary Pickford, once said, “This thing we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” It is far more difficult to get back up on your feet than being on a winning streak. The fight in you makes you the person that you are. A river that is stagnant is no longer a river. When it loses its purpose of flowing, it becomes a mort lake, or in other words, dead. Ergo, without the fight, we’re just worthless know-it-alls. Without purpose, we’re all just atomic particles held together by bonds, drifting around in haphazard patterns, devoid of any sense.
Destinations are great but it’s the journey that matters the most. We have no power over what the future holds for us. In the meantime, let’s tread this repeatedly thorny path. Eventually, everything will come up waters.
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