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Coping with Rejection

Being rejected hurts. Whether romantic, career-related, or personal, rejection is part of the human experience, but that doesn’t make it any less shocking or painful. 

The next time you’re rejected, try these healthy coping mechanisms to help you move on.

How can I handle rejection and manage the pain?

Like we said earlier, rejection is painful—literally. Many studies have found that social rejection activates the same sections of the brain as physical pain. 

It’s important to acknowledge the pain—don’t just ignore it and hope it will go away. Forcing yourself to move on too quickly can be more damaging in the long run when unresolved emotions eventually bubble to the surface. Instead, allow yourself to feel the pain and sadness in the moment. This could look like journaling, crying, or doing your favorite self-care activities

Eventually, these feelings will be less intense.

Rejection also tends to make people put up walls, doubt themselves, and question if they’re good enough. Here are some tips to cope with those thoughts and feelings:

  • Remember that rejection is often just based on someone else’s opinion, not facts
  • Consider the ways this person or opportunity may not have been right for you anyway
  • Spend time with people who uplift you
  • Keep trying for what you want in life

How can I move past it?

It can be hard to move on from rejection without facing it head-on. 

Rejection isn’t always personal, but if it was, it’s healthy to take time to consider what role you may have played in it. Were you an inattentive partner or late to work every day? Don’t get stuck in an overly critical mindset—simply use this as a time to reflect and make positive changes. 

To move past rejection, also remind yourself of the things that are unique and great about you. Being rejected doesn’t cancel these things out. You can make a list of qualities specific to the rejection if you want. For example, if you’ve been rejected by a job, take note of the things that make you a great employee. If you’re unable to do this yet, ask a friend or family member to remind you of your positive traits. 

Another way to move past rejection is by talking about it with a trained professional. At Valley Oaks Health, we provide counseling for groups and individuals.

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