8 No Bullsh*t Ways To Deal With Constant Rejection

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Consult a counselor to help you overcome the psychological and emotional effects of constant rejection. Simply click here to connect with one via BetterHelp.com.

It can be immensely disheartening when the only response you ever hear is “no.”

Constant rejection can do an extraordinary amount of damage to someone’s sense of self-worth.

If you’re dealing with rejection, you might feel like you don’t fit in anywhere; that nobody wants you. And that’s a horrible feeling.

This can be in response to jobs or schools you’ve applied to, social groups you’ve asked to join, or people whom you’ve approached romantically.

Even if people try to let you down gently, such as letting you know that you *almost* got the job, or that they really like you as a friend, the rejection still hurts just as much.

When a person feels like they’re constantly rejected, there’s an immense toll being taken on their overall self-esteem. Every “no” feels like another chip carved off them, without anything added to help build them back up again.

Dealing with constant rejection is difficult, but not impossible. There are some techniques you can try to help you get through it, and to also keep you from giving up.

1. Learn not to get attached to outcomes.

One good way to avoid the heartbreak of rejection is to not get attached to a potential outcome.

For example, a lot of people get caught up in the possibilities that might ensue from X things happening. 

Let’s say a person has a job interview coming up. They might start thinking about the perks the job has – the onsite gym (they can get in shape!), a high salary (they can get a new house!), etc. They’ll create attachments to dreams that may unfold IF they get that job.

As a result, they’ll be utterly devastated if they don’t get it. 

They’ve formed emotional bonds to daydreams, rather than remaining present. As such, their emotional wounding has happened because what they dreamed about didn’t manifest.

Try to stay in the present moment, and respond rather than reacting. If you have a job interview, great. Aim to keep your emotions about it completely neutral.

Sure, you can go into the interview with good energy, friendliness, and confidence, but on a core level, treat this interview like you don’t need it.

That way, if it doesn’t pan out, you won’t be disappointed. You can allow yourself to get excited about it if and when you get a signed contract, but not before then.

The same goes for romantic dates, school applications, etc. If one doesn’t pan out, another is certain to. 

2. Recognize that rejection can be a gift.

Many people have been cursed by receiving exactly what they wished for. Although you might feel that constant rejection is bumming you out, it could be a blessing in disguise.

You might be smitten with someone who keeps turning you down, and devastated that they “don’t want you.” But what if you are utterly incompatible in many ways? Or what if they are a toxic person beneath the surface and treat you poorly? The relationship would be a disaster and you’d end up feeling terrible.

“Everything happens for a reason” isn’t exactly comforting when you feel like crap, but it’s often true in retrospect. 

3. Understand the Law of Averages.

There’s an old folk saying that if you throw enough mud at the wall, eventually some of it will stick. 

You will succeed eventually. It’s a matter of persevering and trying your best not to feel like there’s anything “wrong” with you. Because there isn’t.

You’re an amazing puzzle piece, currently trying out different puzzles to find out where you fit best. Things will click into place eventually.

4. Keep a list of people who were rejected before succeeding.

Did you know that loads of people faced constant rejection before they finally “made it”? Furthermore, many of them made it on their own terms.

For example, you may be familiar with the dresses designed by fashion maven Vera Wang. Well, did you know that Wang was rejected for the US Olympic figure skating team in the 1960s? She ended up working as an editor at Vogue for a while, and started designing wedding dresses for fun at the age of 40. She quickly became an internationally acclaimed designer.

JK Rowling was a single mum on welfare when she wrote the first Harry Potter book and pitched it to publishers. It was rejected a dozen times before a publishing house took a chance on her. Does everyone in the world know that book/film series now? Pretty much!

Rodin was rejected by the Ecole des Beaux Arts (fine arts school) three times. So he taught himself how to sculpt, and became one of the most celebrated artists of all time.

(And to follow along with the earlier point about rejection being a gift, his friend Jules informed him that he was immensely fortunate to have escaped indoctrination at that school. He told Rodin, “It would have killed you.”)

Choose some famous people who inspire you because they kept getting back on the horse and persevering. When you feel down about being rejected, remember their stories. They’ll help you get back on the horse too.

5. Get up and try again tomorrow.

The only way that you can be guaranteed to fail is by not trying at all. 

That doesn’t mean that you need to plaster a fake smile onto your face and act like it doesn’t hurt to keep being rejected. What it means is that you refuse to let the cruelty of this world break your beautiful spirit.

Dealing with constant rejection can make anyone just want to give up. Getting hurt over and over again can make people anxious about even trying. They usually feel like there’s no point, that they’ll just get rejected yet again.

Remember how we talked about not getting attached to the outcome? Try to focus on the experience itself, rather than hoping it’ll turn out a particular way. No attachment = no disappointment. 

6. If the path you’re on leads to constant rejection, then forge your own.

Let’s say that you keep getting rejected by every publisher you send your manuscript to. You KNOW you’ve written an amazing book, but you keep receiving responses like, “we don’t know which niche to publish this in,” or, “it’s great, but don’t know if we can market it.”

This is frustrating, but there’s a workaround.

You can either self-publish, or start your own publishing company. THEN publish it.

And while you’re at it, publish other authors’ books that bigger companies won’t take a chance on.

This approach can work with every career path you can think of. 

7. Ask your friends to tell you what they admire about you.

When you give people an opportunity to be awesome, they will often step up. Reach out to your friends and family members and ask them what they admire about you, what characteristics they value in you, and what your best attributes are.

Keep that list handy every time you feel down about yourself. Knowing that other people think highly of you, love you, appreciate you, and admire you can build damaged self-esteem right back up again.

8. Get Help!

A good therapist can help you work through any potential long-lasting emotional damage from constant rejection, but that’s not the only type of help you have available to you.

Sometimes, constant rejection can let us know that we need to change something about our approach. This might be something that can be adjusted really easily, but we may have a blind spot about it. As a result, we need a bit of help seeing what has been unclear to us thus far.

For example, if you feel like all of your job applications are being rejected, make an appointment with a career counselor to do a resume review. They may have suggestions for some quick fixes that will turn your job search right around!

Similarly, if you find that you’re getting a lot of first dates but no second ones, ask a trusted friend to shadow you. They can sit nearby and observe the interaction, and let you know what red flags may be coming up. Something as simple as using a particular phrase can be pushing others away rather than drawing them closer.

Quite often, making a few small changes can lead to big differences when it comes to moving forward in your pursuits.

All of those changes aside, if you’ve been dealing with constant rejection for quite a while, you may have some deep-seated hurts and issues to work through. This kind of rejection can trigger severe anxiety and panic, for example. It may cause crippling depression, or even avoidant personality disorder.

If you feel that the rejection you’ve experienced has damaged you enough that you need extra help working through it, don’t be afraid to seek it out. At least when it comes to seeking mental health help, there won’t be rejection. This is what therapists are for! Click here to talk to one of the experienced counselors on BetterHelp.com.

Could rejection be a sign of self-sabotage?

There’s one final thing to consider, and that’s the possibility that this constant rejection may be a sign of self-sabotage.

Some people who face constant rejection could be pursuing careers, pastimes, and even partners that they don’t really want on a fundamental level. As a result, they self-sabotage subconsciously in order to avoid getting what they’re (grudgingly) pursuing. 

Let’s say that someone hates their job.

They may have convinced themselves that it’s their current work atmosphere that they hate, rather than their chosen career. Alternatively, they might be pressured into working in a specific field or workplace by their family, but absolutely don’t want to do it.

So they don’t put sincere effort into improving their resume, and if they do get a job interview, they’re completely unenthusiastic about it. Then, when they don’t get the job, they can just blame it on “constant rejection.” It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The person who’s disheartened by their attempts might even feel a sense of relief when they don’t get that job, or that date. They won’t have to keep pretending to be something they’re not.

Be honest with yourself about exactly what it is you want, and why. Then revisit the various times you’ve been rejected: it may be helpful to write about them in your journal. 

Go through these notes to see if there are common denominators that keep coming up. If you keep hitting the same wall, then you can undoubtedly find a new route around it. Or over it.

Or you can find a way to knock that wall right down and leave a blazing trail behind you.

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About Author

Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais region. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.