Life is hard, plain and simple. It’s a truth that will stand the lengths of time. Rejection is by far one of the hardest realities, whether it comes in the form of a breakup, a friendship ending, not getting accepted into a school or a job loss. Feeling rejection of any kind can be extremely painful.

If we allow it to, rejection can leave us paralyzed with fear — the fear that we are not good enough, not smart enough, not talented enough, not beautiful enough, simply not enough. We can allow rejection to set the trajectory of our thoughts, in turn our behaviors and, ultimately, our lives.

Rejection doesn’t get to have the final say, though. We need to go back to the drawing board. Instead of seeing rejection as defeat or the end of a story, why not see it as a new beginning, a chance to start again? I know it was probably a devastating blow. It may have caught you off guard and left you on your knees, but there is yet and still hope for you, my friend.

What if what we really need is not the thing we think we lost, but a perspective shift? What if rejection is simply a teacher? All rejection holds universal truths and lessons we can take with us on the road ahead.

So grab your hiking shoes; let’s get to climbing out of this rut.

White woman standing outside on a rooftop in a black and white photo

Don’t let rejection define you.

I am so guilty of this. Anytime a relationship didn’t work out, it meant there was something wrong with me. I am not pretty enough. I am not witty enough. I am not kind enough. I am too much. When I recently was laid off from my job, it was so easy to fall back into this trap of allowing the job loss to determine my value. I began to think, Maybe I am not a good writer. I’m terrible as an editor. There are people who are better at this job than I could ever be. I’m not good enough.

Haven’t we all been there? When we lose something that is so important to us, a job, a marriage or a friendship, we begin to let the loss communicate to our minds a lack of value in and of ourselves. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Our careers, dreams, passions — the things and people we love — can easily start to define us once we lose them. I would challenge you to not let this be the case. I know it’s hard, but remind yourself that no one person or thing determines your worth. Your value is intrinsic, meaning that it can’t be shaken.

Allow a “no” to serve as a confidence builder.

This might sound counterintuitive, but anytime you hear a “no,” a “I’m sorry but we have to let you go” or a “It’s not you. It’s me,” be grateful. One door closing releases you from something that wasn’t the best fit for you. That’s all a no really means. Pick your head up and keep going.

This “no” will only make your skin tougher and your bounce back stronger. If things were always easy and all we ever heard was “yes,” then we would never know what resilience looks like. Rejection is the perfect time to see the stuff we are made of: perseverance, endurance, strength and grit. Confidence is built out of enduring hard times.

If things were always easy and all we ever heard was ‘yes,’ then we would never know what resilience looks like.

Surround yourself with positive voices.

When I lost my job earlier this year, I didn’t tell many people. I partially kept it to myself because I was in shock. I was hurting and in a sensitive place. I knew the people I told would have to be those who would let me grieve the loss and then encourage me. I needed people who would sit in my pit with me, then help me climb out once I was ready to.

When you face rejection of any kind, it’s painful, so very painful. The load of rejection gets lighter when you ask for help in carrying it. Reach out to positive people who will be a voice of encouragement. Tell them about the rejection you are facing. Delve into all of your feelings of shock, sadness, hurt and fear. Be 100% real. This is your time to grieve. Be careful not to share with anyone who will cause you to worry or allow you to stay in a place of pity or bitterness. Positive voices are the key.

White woman standing outside on a rooftop in a black and white photo

Determine that this is only temporary.

Rejection is often unforeseen. We didn’t see it coming and it can be difficult to know when it — and the feelings that result from it — will end. While there’s no definite answer, we can choose to remember that this is just one moment in the timeline of our stories. It’s only one chapter. Now is not your forever. Storms always come to an end. This is only temporary.

Get back in the game.

Dust yourself off and get back up. This is probably the most important truth to remember. Rejection can feel like a punch in the gut. It leaves you reeling and knocks you to the ground, but you don’t have to stay down. You can get back up. It’s a choice. It’ll most likely hurt at first, but get back up anyway. Rejection is not the end of my story.

And it’s not the end of yours.

What’s been the most difficult thing you’ve overcome? How did you do it?

Images via Justice Apple at Elyse Connolly Agency 


  1. “Rejection is God’s protection.” I’ve learned to tell myself that. I’m 60 and have had more failures than successes. Sometimes I’ve been stuck in a ditch for longer than I can believe. Like the past few years! But ending it is not an option – might be worse! I embrace the simple joys of life and keep going. The pressure to be successful in this country is brutal. I’ve usually taken the path less traveled. And you know, I can live with myself. My successful contemporaries don’t have all the answers either. I am grateful to have food, clothing, shelter, health and happiness. More than the majority on this earth.

    1. I really love your spirit!! I think we all have more failures than successes–it’s how we learn and grow and winnow out the not-quite-right fits and finally find the foundation for a purposeful life.

  2. Hi,

    The article is excellent. Rejection does not mean the end of life or something. When life rejects you, you have to get up and fight and fight until you win.

    Most of the people lose hope and never take chances. Take a risk and be different from other.

    Thanks For sharing great article 🙂

  3. There’s so much truth in this article. I especially like how you pointed out that “It’s only one chapter. Now is not your forever.” It’s so important for us to remember that rejection is not permanent and even though at the time, it reinforced our worst beliefs about ourselves, we shouldn’t allow it to define us. This article is so timely, I needed to be remind of this truth yet again.

  4. I needed to read this at my current stage in life. I need the rejection I’ve faced recently to help propel movement forward instead of halt it.

  5. Thanks for the tips and for keeping your article honest and real. I agree that it’s really scary to let others in on the experience of rejection. I especially love the part about positive voices. You’re so wise!

  6. This was just what I needed to hear – recent rejection has had me in a pit that I can’t seem to climb out of. And once I think I’m out, I’m not really out. The most encouraging thing that this article touches on is the need to surround oneself with positive voices who will sit with you in the pain and help you climb out of it. Not people who try to rush your recovery. Your healing is your healing, and rejection often requires the gentlest and most encouraging voices to bring clarity to our confusion. Thank you so much for this article!

  7. I’m truly thankful for this article. And I’m so happy it’s in the Dreamer section!

    I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about my fear of rejection, so this piece came in a timely manner. I usually identify most with the Dreamer Woman.

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