10 Do’s and Don’ts when Dealing with Rejection
We know it sucks, but rejection is part and parcel of the dating game. And being able to correctly handle and accept rejection is an even bigger part of it. Just because you know you’re a catch, it doesn’t mean that everyone will feel the same. As seen on Reddit; you can be the prettiest peach, but there will still be someone who hates peaches. So there’s a right way to deal with rejection (and definitely a wrong way) and we’re here to tell you all the do’s and don’ts of receiving a ‘no’.
Rejection is the one thing that unites us all, but what if we’re seeing it all wrong? What if it doesn’t have the be a painful and limiting experience? If your fear of rejection is holding you back from doing the things you want to do, then you need to watch this.
Avoid rumination and instead affirm your self-worth.
After a rejection, we tend to beat ourselves up over the things that might have led us to be rejected — and might even end up dwelling on these negative emotions, a process called rumination. This habit, however, inevitably causes us to feel worse. “The first thing a lot of people do when they get rejected is to be unkind to themselves, and they start coming up with all kinds of ideas about what’s wrong with them,” Gottlieb notes.
If you have negative thoughts about yourself, Bahar recommends first observing — then challenging — those thoughts. If you have thoughts like “I’m unlovable” after being rejected by a love interest, for example, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s simply a thought. “Tell your mind that you can feel unlovable and still be lovable at the same time,” says Bahar. “It’s just a feeling, it’s just a thought — it’s not a fact.”
To affirm your self-worth, write down some things that are positive about yourself — for instance, come up with a list of some of your strengths and values, and start your morning off each day by reading them out loud to yourself.
“This doesn’t mean just talking yourself up, but thinking about what makes you, you,” explains Becker-Phelps. By helping you hold on to the things that are a part of you, these self-affirmations will help you feel stronger just by recognizing who you really are and how you identify yourself, especially in the face of self-doubt that often comes with rejection.
The most important thing to remember is that life doesn’t boil down to this one rejection — there are always plenty of people who are on your side. To remind yourself that you haven’t been completely shunned by the world, turn to your friends and family; make sure that you’re still feeling truly connected with other people around you. If you’re trying to figure out how to deal with rejection from a crush, for instance, you might want to turn to your friends for moral support and some quality BFF time.
“Connection is so important because it reminds us of all the things that we can’t remember in that moment: It reminds us of how lovable we are … that people care about us … that we’re worthy,” Gottlieb says.
Even if you can’t actually spend time with a loved one at the moment, try taking some time to just think of someone who’s important in your life. In fact, you can even find a picture of them — preferably a photo of you two enjoying your time together — and set some time to look at it each day while reminding yourself that this person supports you.
“Sometimes by repeating that and seeing the pictures, you start to take it inside and then you kind of carry it in your heart more strongly,” Becker-Phelps shares. “So when a difficult situation comes up and you feel rejected, you can go back to the image of that person — even just in your mind — and feel comforted by them because you’ve been practicing feeling comforted.”
Sometimes, it can boil down to just everyday things in your home or work routine that might influence how you respond to rejection. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, or haven’t been eating well lately. These things can definitely make it harder to handle rejection in a healthy way — so one thing you can do to cope better is to work on leading a healthy lifestyle.
This means focusing in on eating well, exercising frequently, and staying hydrated, all of which can help you stay strong in the face of rejection. “The healthier your lifestyle, the more resources you have then to deal with difficult situations,” notes Becker-Phelps.
Resist the toxic pull of negative self-talk after a date, especially.
While assessing your own part in your rejection experience can yield insights about what not to do next time, avoid writing a negative story about yourself in your head just because you were ghosted after a second date.
“If we get rejected by our date, the last thing we should do is to review all our shortcomings in an effort to understand what went wrong,” Winch says. “If the chemistry wasn’t there for them, it was because there was something wrong about the match, not because there was something wrong with us.”
Gracy suggests using a technique from Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) to assess whether your interpretation of a rejection is rational: Ask yourself, is what you’re saying true, is it logical, and is it helpful?
Your instinct may be to say, “It’s not fair that I was rejected, and I’m giving up.” Gracy offers a way to reframe the thought more rationally: “While it might not be fair, it isn’t helpful for me to give up. It’s more useful for me to determine where my idea, proposal, or some aspect of me can improve. Another alternative is to find acceptance elsewhere.”