As a writer, I’m familiar with rejection. Not every article I pitch, book idea I propose, or conference workshop I submit is accepted. When rejections come, I have the option of accepting them, re-evaluating the ideas, making necessary changes, and finding other markets, or I can react with anger and take rejection personally.
Whether a disappointment over having a work idea rejected, bypassed for a promotion, omitted from a social invitation, or the breakup of a relationship, we’ve all encountered some form of rejection. Being rejected or excluded can be an awful feeling and may negatively shape your perspective on life if not handled correctly.
Start by considering some key elements in moving beyond rejection:
When rejection comes, it hurts, and there is no use denying the emotions you feel—anger, frustration, sadness. In fact, denying these emotions makes it harder to overcome rejection and can cause bitterness. If you find yourself constantly complaining to others about a person who hurt you, the fact that you weren’t selected, or the unfairness of life, you probably need to step back and deal with your emotions.
Start by documenting why you are angry, the hurt you feel, and how much you dislike what happened in a personal journal. This is not intended to be a draft for a future social media rant. What you write is for your benefit and any ranting is between you and God.
While it’s good to acknowledge feelings, don’t allow them to overtake your thoughts and your actions. It’s possible to move beyond the painful feelings. Focus on the blessings in your life. Remember times you’ve been successful or chosen for leadership positions. Rejection doesn’t mean you’ll never have other opportunities, but if you allow yourself to obsess about what happened and rehearse angry comebacks, you risk becoming the kind of toxic person no one wants to be around.
None of us want to acknowledge our weaknesses, but we all have them. We have different skills, talents, and strengths. If we could do everything well, we wouldn’t need anyone else in our lives. We were not designed to know it all and do it all, although the world often makes us feel that should be our goal. Admitting we have limitations keeps us honest and humble.
Realize Others are Qualified
Just because others are selected doesn’t mean the ones not chosen aren’t worthy. Perhaps you have a job, position, or ability that is less visible, but is well-suited for your personality and skills. People connect with different personality types and your quiet example may have more impact on others than those in the spotlight. You may have the opportunity to interact with people and help more than someone who is high profile. Learning to rejoice for those in positions you hoped to attain takes a level of maturity many never achieve, but make it a goal to conquer envy, be content with where you are right now, and look for future opportunities.
My grandmother used to say, “don’t get the big head.” For years I didn’t understand what she meant, but later, I realized her warning was against viewing yourself with an inaccurate perception of importance. Ego is a big problem for most of us because we like the feelings of recognition and inclusion.
It’s part of human nature to crave attention, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look beyond what you want to have happen and think you deserve. God may allow certain events in your life to mold you spiritually or cultivate humility. Or you may be in a season of waiting to allow time to increase skills and prepare for what comes next.
View Rejection through a Wide Lens
At some point, everyone experiences rejection, but you don’t have to allow it to shape your self-worth and determine how you act and react from now on. Although they feel major at the time, rejections are just a blip on the radar screen of life. Try to gain a broad overview, realizing everyone experiences low points along with highs. Don’t mark yourself as a failure and give half effort following a rejection. Maintain forward motion, facing the future with expectancy rather than dwelling on the past. Continue to do everything to the best of your ability, for an audience of One.
“For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.” Psalm 94:14 NIV
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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