‘I Can’t Handle Rejection’: How to Deal With Rejection 

How to Deal With Rejection

Rejections are painful events. Read this article to learn how to deal with rejection by being more self-aware and feel good.

If you are someone who has ever tried to go out of your comfort zone, chances are, you are no stranger to rejections. 

As a child, it sucked when other children didn’t let you join the game. Remember how it hurt when they played, and you were excluded, standing as a spectator?

Receiving a letter of regret from your dream college or a company is another most common rejection that many of us have to face at one point or another.

Break-ups and divorces, the romantic rejections by a love interest can be outright devastating for some as the pain could be excruciating. Just thinking about the person who rejected you could bring back knots of negative feelings.

What’s more, we don’t know how to distinguish between an insignificant and a significant rejection, whether it’s a big rejection such as a divorce or being fired from a job or a small one like getting a like on your Facebook post by your best friend, rejection stings.

Rejections are an inevitable part of our life. However, the problem is that not all of us know how to deal with rejections and move on in our life.

Not only it makes us feel unwanted and unvalued, but it can also bring our life to a halt.

Our Need for Social Acceptance

Why Does Rejection Hurt Me So Much?
Why Does Rejection Hurt Me So Much?

Ever wondered why it hurts so much to be rejected?

There is a purpose to this pain of rejection. It was, at least, for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Ostracism from the tribe meant being left all by yourself to tackle the dangers of the pre-historic world. It was akin to a death sentence as it was impossible to survive alone. The pain of rejection ensured correction in the behaviour of the ostracised member, thus ensuring his survival.

The pain helped our ancestors survive. It hurts because we want to be socially accepted. Not only do we want a positive relationship, but we also want to be valued and loved by our peers, family and society.

Our need to belong to our tribe is intense, and any instance of rejection can send us into a rabbit hole.

What does Constant Rejection Do to A Person?

What Rejection Feels Like?

Rejections can open up Pandora’s box of a range of negative emotions. Our self-esteem gets a massive blow, and our shortcomings come into sharp focus. Introspection can trigger a vicious cycle of rumination, anxiety, negative thoughts and self-talk. Shame, confusion, loneliness and sadness can leave you crumbling.

You spend sleepless nights wondering what happened, looking for the explanations and answers which never come.

The swells of anger and poor impulse control can trigger actions that you may have to regret later.

You don’t want to face the world ever again and withdraw yourself from any more situations which have even the slightest chances of rejection.

In short, rejection can leave you feeling worthless and lonely, without any motivation to seek any rewards.

How to Deal with Rejection

Our natural response to rejection can make things painful for us. It’s imperative to learn to consciously manage our feelings so that we can handle our rejection gracefully.

How do You Overcome Rejection?

Maybe you are thinking, ‘I can’t handle rejection”. Here’s good news for you. It’s possible to become less sensitive to rejection. Here are 9 ways to deal with rejection (and limit psychological damage which rejection elicits, rebuild your self-esteem and move on with confidence).

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

Rejection will always hurt, and there’s no point putting on a brave face because it’s only going to extend your healing process.

Take a step back and allow yourself to feel all the emotions without any resistance. Review what happened and let yourself grieve. Write it in a journal or express the pain verbally to yourself or a loved one.

If you feel like crying, it’s perfectly normal to do so. After all, we are human beings, and we feel pain. 

Processing the thoughts, feelings, and emotions will help you reduce the intensity of the pain and speed up your recovery.

2. Know Your Strengths and Check Your Self-Esteem

Rejections can leave you questioning your value and make you feel as if you don’t matter. However, it’s possible to preserve our self-esteem by actively choosing to move the spotlight on our strengths and not on our weaknesses.

You can heal your battered ego by reminding yourself of your positive qualities. It’s time to make that list of ‘why you are awesome’ and put it somewhere you can access it frequently.

Recall the qualities that make you a great friend, lover, life partner, or competent employee. Think of the ways how others can benefit from what you bring to the table. Write about a situation where they valued your qualities.

Making a list of your strengths can diminish the feelings of worthlessness that rejection triggers.

3. Connect with Your Loved Ones

Rejections make us feel unwanted and can destabilise our need to belong. It might feel the safest option to isolate yourself, but doing so will only exacerbate feelings of loneliness.

When you get rejected, you need to remind yourself that other people in your life accept you just the way you are. Reach out to your friends and loved ones, and if you feel comfortable, share your pain with them. You might even bond over the shared pain of rejections.

If you get a rejection from one group, make plans to connect with another. Surrounding yourself with people who support you can boost your feelings of connection. 

4. Make A List of Undesirable Qualities of the Rejecter

Rejection can lead to obsession for the rejector because of their perceived value. Obsession can steal your peace of mind and make you feel you have no control over your life.

The best way to reduce these feelings of obsession is to make an objective assessment of the rejector. Often, we tend to idealise our ex-partner, our dream job and even our friends. However, the fact is no one is perfect in this world, and everything has its flaws.

Spend time to think of the undesirable qualities of your past relationship, your ex or your friend who rejected you. You would realise that maybe they were not that valuable as you perceived them.

5. Seek Natural Painkillers

As mentioned earlier, rejection feels like a pain generated by a physical injury. That means taking painkillers can indeed provide some relief from that awful feeling of rejection. 

However, taking painkiller pills over an extended period is not a great idea to alleviate your pain. It can have some severe side effects that can damage your vital organs.

Starting a regular exercise routine can produce natural opioids, which can help you heal the pain of rejection. Another good option could be drinking turmeric milk which has a scientifically proven painkiller effect.

6. Show Some Self-compassion to Yourself

After a rejection, we start to look for reasons and explanations for why someone rejected us. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to know the actual reasons behind their decision.

Most of the time, our curiosity for the answers leads us to assume the worst possible reason, which can intensify our pain.

Often, the rejection has nothing to do with us. It’s not a good idea to take it personally.

Training ourselves to choose the least painful, most helpful and logical explanation can hasten the recovery from rejection.

7. Forgive the Rejector

Rejection can develop feelings of anger and revenge against the rejector. You might feel an acute sense of injustice which can leave you with a victim mentality.

However, holding on to the grudges has been scientifically proven to cause some serious hurt to your cardiovascular and mental health, in particular.

Choosing to forgive the rejector by acknowledging that they are human beings with flaws and imperfection can help you let go of the resentment.

8. Use the Learning from the Rejection

Many of us tend to see rejection as evidence of our flaws and undesirability.

An excellent way to give a positive spin to the entire experience of rejection is to flip the narrative. Cultivating a growth mindset to use rejection as an opportunity to identify the areas of improvement in your life can help you move forward in life.

Investigate your role in the rejection and see where you made a mistake so that you can alter it in your future endeavours. That said, be cautious of not falling into the trap of overthinking, though.

9. Take Baby Steps to Put Yourself Out There Again

After a rejection, it could be daunting to take any more risks because of the fear of rejection.

However, avoiding social situations or stopping yourself from participating in life would let many opportunities slip from your hands. You don’t want that to happen.

Remind yourself that it might hurt again but not trying also will only add up to your hopelessness.

Instead of giving yourself lofty and ambitious goals, choose to take baby steps to gather confidence and motivation to keep moving ahead.

Believe that the last or the subsequent rejection doesn’t have to be-all and end-all, and you will find acceptance elsewhere.


Rejections are painful events and can put our entire life on hold if not managed consciously. Learning how to deal with rejection by being self-aware, connecting with loved ones, and using the experience for future growth, can open up many gates of success for you.


Works of Guy Winch

Books on How to Deal With Rejection – Emotional First Aid by Guy Winch, Psychologist and Author

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