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How to cope with rejection and grow from the experience

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OpinionsHealth & Body

With support from friends and a growth mindset, getting rejected doesn't have to be a bitter experience.

Rejection is something we all experience at some point in our lives.  

Whether it's not getting accepted into the school of our choice or somebody declining our romantic advances, getting rejected hurts and may even cause us to feel ashamed, angry or sad. 

One major rejection I had was being turned down by my crush.  

It had taken a lot of courage for me to finally confess my true feelings, and when I heard the words "I don't like you in that way", my whole world came crashing down. I thought I was never going to live it down. 

Fortunately, my family, friends and the Internet showed me some ways to manage my negative emotions, which helped me emerge from the experience a more confident person. 

Here are five steps that can help you deal with rejection:

1. Acknowledge your feelings 

The first step to managing your feelings of shame and sadness that stems from getting rejected is to acknowledge that you are, in fact, feeling those emotions. 

Instead of invalidating the pain of rejection, you have to face your emotions head-on. If you suppress them, you might develop an unhealthy coping mechanism towards rejection. 

Reflecting on how you react to rejection can also make you better-equipped to deal with similar experiences in future. 

woman-writing-in-journal
Acknowledge your feelings by writing what you're going through in a private journal.
PHOTO CREDIT: NEGATIVE SPACE VIA PEXELS 

When I was healing from being rejected by my crush, I would write out my feelings in the Notes application on my phone as a way of venting.  

Once I'd typed all my emotions out and read through them, I would delete the note to symbolise letting the feelings go. I instantly felt relieved of the emotional burden I was carrying after deleting the note. 

2. Analyse your rejection to see what you can learn 

Once you have given yourself enough time to mourn the opportunity you lost, examine what you could have done differently or better. 

For instance, if you didn't get the job you wanted, reflect on what went wrong and what went well. Could you have worked on your interview skills a little bit more? Was there something you did that set you apart from other candidates? 

Asking these questions can help you prevent from making the same mistakes again and even improve your skills. 

3. Be kind to yourself 

When examining what led to your rejection, it's easy to zoom in on your shortcomings and criticise yourself for making mistakes. 

It is important to remember that being mean to yourself won't help change anything. In fact, it might make you feel worse for a prolonged period. 

Instead of feeling bad, you should feel proud that you put yourself out there and gave it your best try. 

To lift your mood, try treating yourself the way you would a friend: Indulge in some of the activities that make you happy, like watching your favourite show, painting the sunset or getting dressed up.  

painting-of-pink-flowers-with-green-leaves
Relieve your stress by letting your creative juices flow through painting. 
PHOTO CREDIT: VICTORIA BILSBOROUGH VIA UNSPLASH 

4. Open up to someone you trust 

Dealing with rejection can be tough, especially on your own. 

When my confidence was low from being rejected, my friends would constantly check up on me, tag me in funny memes and remind me that I'm capable of anything. 

If you feel that you may not be able to handle it alone, consider talking to someone you trust like a friend or family member about what you're going through. Knowing that you have emotional support from your loved ones can help you manage your negative feelings. 

You may feel embarrassed to open up at first, but your loved ones can provide not only words of encouragement, but also advice for what to do next. 

For example, if you get rejected from the school you want to go to and you feel helpless, ask the people you trust for help. They would be more than eager to help you craft an appeal letter or find alternative paths you could go on. 

There's also professional help available if you need more support. 

5. Don't let rejection stop you 

Experiencing a setback can make you lose motivation, but rejection shouldn't define you or stop you from achieving your goals. 

If your crush turns you down, it doesn't mean you're unlovable. If you don't get the job you wanted, it doesn't mean other companies would not hire you. Remember to keep things in perspective.  

Your self-worth is not based on the acceptance of other people.  

Continue to put yourself out there and keep doing your thing. 

motivational-message-in-journal
Don't let that one rejection make you lose sight of your other goals.
PHOTO CREDIT: BICH TRAN VIA PEXELS 

In the end, rejection is only temporary. There will always be plenty of career and personal opportunities out there for you. 

Although it may hurt now, use the opportunity to grow and improve yourself!  

One day, you might look back on your experience and laugh it off. 

BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/ESTHER LAM AND NIK SHULIAHIN VIA UNSPLASH 

Feeling bored at home? Hop on to Cr8studiosg to watch chat shows, stand-up comedy and music performances! Or visit MehGoWhere.SG for more resources or things to do!        

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