Handling Rejection with Confidence
(*Originally posted May 2019)
I remember driving home that night, broken and crying. How could he like her over me? I mean, I guess she was pretty. And she was funny. And she had the most powerful personality that lit up a room as soon as she walked in. Ugh, how could he NOT like her over me?
And while I appreciated the bravery it took to tell me to my face that he didn’t like me, it would have been nice to be spared the embarrassment with a text message.
But there it was. Embarrassment, with a side order of a beet-red face.
I drove away, convinced that those words had physically ripped out my heart and torn it to pieces. That was the first time I had felt real rejection. That was the first time that I truly felt I wasn’t good enough.
But it definitely wasn’t the last.
There have been so many times throughout my life that I didn’t get a job, relationship, friendship, scholarship, or a spot on the team. But, if I walked away from all of those moments believing I’m not good enough, I’d never have confidence to do anything.
Handling rejection is not easy. It’s not easy to feel like you are less than what you thought you were. But, rejection is necessary. It’s helped me learn some valuable life lessons that I am, now, grateful for, such as:
1. Sometimes, I have things I need to work on.
When I was younger I hated criticism. I didn’t want anyone to tell me anything other than how perfect and wonderful I was. I would get defensive when someone tried to give me advice or tell me how I could be better. Or, I would just nod my head and let their words flow in and out my ear holes.
I had to learn, through some very humbling situations, that I am not perfect. In fact, I’m not the only one that’s not perfect. Once I finally got it through my head that all of us are just broken humans trying to figure life out, I opened my ears.
Several times in the New Testament, Jesus used the phrase, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Having ears to hear means opening our mind and hearts to accepting loving advice/critique from our peers. You don’t want wise words to be wasted on you.
Have enough humility and sense of self-worth to want to better yourself.
2. Maybe I didn’t need that guy/job/other.
This is not in a “Well I didn’t want them anyway” kind of way, but in a “Maybe this just isn’t right for me” kind of way.
When I first moved to a new city with my husband, I was getting letters/emails for months letting me know they were “going another direction.” We all know what that means. It means they tossed my resume aside like day-old bread never to be seen again. I must have gotten at least 100 of those types of messages.
I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t allowing me to get a job. I mean, we needed to pay the bills, didn’t we? Fast forward 6 months, and I landed a job with almost full-paid benefits, a great schedule, and enough money to replace my slowly dying car.
Not everyone will reject you. Maybe you just never needed that situation in the first place.
3. No one likes a sore loser.
I could mope around with my head towards the floor crying “woe me” and eat a tub of Ben and Jerry’s (Phish Food is the best flavor, by the way). But the only things that will come from that is annoyed friends and tighter pants.
Sure, it’s okay to be sad that you didn’t get a certain opportunity. But, let’s be real. No one likes a lousy attitude. Especially a prolonged lousy attitude.
Here’s a tip. It’s helped me go through the 5 stages of self-pity a lot quicker. Pick a friend. One friend. And have her be your black hole. Your black hole is the target of a one-time vent session. You can rant and rave to her about how terrible and hurt you feel, and maybe even throw a little tantrum.
But that’s it. Those words are now lost in a black hole, never to be spoken again. When those words are where they belong, you pick up your head and walk forward towards the next opportunity. Because there’s always another door to be opened.
And there will always be doors that will close.