Rejection is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s an inevitable part of life that we have all had to face at one time or another (and must continue to face) as we journey through life. The thing about rejection—whether your new business idea is a flop, you can’t land that dream job of yours, or you’ve lost out on a relationship—is that it’s hard to separate that “no thanks” from your inherent value. This day and age, so much of our worth is placed at the hands of other people: We wait for those likes or comments on social media, we let employers tell us what our time is worth, we let the market dictate which skills and talents are most valuable.
So when you get rejected, it may feel personal. It may feel like you’re not good enough or that the ideas you have or the skills you can offer aren’t valuable, but this is not a healthy way of thinking. Especially if you’re on the receiving end of a nonstop stream of rejection, it may be hard to maintain and strengthen your sense of self-worth, but here are some ways that you can separate yourself from external validation (or lack thereof).
1. Take Note of Your Past Accomplishments. No matter how big or how small, try writing down a tangible list of your previous accomplishments. It doesn’t have to be something for which you won an award or received critical acclaim or recognition. Find something that you’re proud of whether it be an experience you had, an obstacle you overcame, or something you created. This will help you build your confidence and prove to yourself that you’re fully capable of achieving your goals.
2. Spend Some Time Alone. You have a busy schedule, social engagements, and prior commitments, but it’s important that you take some time out to sit with yourself. Ask yourself the important questions about where you find meaning. We live in a culture where we’re constantly told what to buy, what’s good, and what’s bad. Have you ever stopped to wonder if you agree? Do you assign value in the same areas? Once you do this, you can start to think about how you can incorporate or embody these values in your own life whether it be in your work, your passion projects and hobbies, or your relationships.
3. Recognize the Impersonal Nature of Rejection. A good way to do this is by thinking back to a few instances where you actively rejected something—a date, a service or product, a job offer. Oftentimes when we say no, it’s not because what was offered to us was not worthy of our time or inherently invaluable; it’s usually because it just doesn’t align with our goals or objectives. Sometimes, we may even struggle to reject something because we do see the value, but it doesn’t mesh with our needs.
Now all of this isn’t to say that rejection won’t happen again, or that it will ever be a walk in the park. But it’s important that we start recognizing our inherent worth and build up a strong sense of self so that, in the face of rejection, we can hold onto our value and continue to move forward.