How to Handle Rejection and The Feeling of Being Rejected

how to handle rejection
how to handle rejection
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Rejection is never something that is fun to deal with. We have all experienced it before, and for the most part, we all hate the feeling that it leaves. It causes hurt, it causes a feeling of defeat, and it causes us to feel down upon ourselves – almost as if we doubt that we will ever be accepted again in the first place. 

I have dealt with a good amount of rejection in my past. From being rejected by other people, jobs, or even just social engagements in general. Every time that I experience rejection, it feels like a part of me is being ripped out. Even if it motivates me to come back stronger and to try again, there is still this feeling that is associated with rejection that hurts. It is a feeling of emptiness, brief hopelessness, and a flood of other negative emotions. 

One of the things that I constantly tell myself that helps me to overcome feelings of rejection is to just be me. I am me and that is my greatest strength. Others may not agree with the choices that I have made and continue to make, the person that I am becoming, or the route that I have chosen to take in life. That’s completely fine. My life is mine to live. 

Those around us are always going to try to tell us to live our lives, but we will not let them define that life for us. We are strong. We are courageous. We are capable of achieving anything and everything that we desire and set out to achieve. Nobody has the ability to live our lives for us, so don’t let them. 

Remember this. 

The Pain of Rejecting Others

Yesterday was a hard day at work for me. My bus didn’t show up so I was 30 minutes late to work, and when I got there, I noticed that I had a special request sitting in my inbox from the admissions office at the school that I work for. 

My job as an enrollment counselor is to help people get admitted into school so that they can continue their education. As part of the job, I also get to congratulate all of those who do get admitted. The other part of it, though, is that I also have to inform those who did not get admitted that they have been denied admissions. 

In the three months that I have worked for the university, I have only had to inform one person that they were denied admissions. That was, of course, until yesterday. 

I had been working with a student for a few weeks on trying to get her back into school. We talked two to three times a week, filled out an application, and probably spent a few hours trying to complete everything so that she could continue on to her masters. She was incredibly excited to go back to school. There were challenges in the past that prevented her from making the most out of her education, but just from the sound of her voice, I honestly believed that this time was going to be different. 

Then I found out that she had been denied and I was responsible for reaching out to her and break the bad news. 

It was a gut-wrenching feeling to tell her. It almost felt as if I had her future sitting in the palm of my hands and there it was just being crushed in the matter of a few seconds. Who was I to tell her what she could and couldn’t do with her life, what she could learn, or what goals to pursue? Who was I to say that she “wasn’t good enough?”

This is why it killed me to tell her. As somebody who believes we are all capable of greatness, telling this student that she didn’t mean the requirements really took its toll on me. 

Those aren’t the exact words that I used, but you get the point. I told her that she is more than welcome to apply at a later date, but right now, admissions had denied her. 

I didn’t lie to her. She is more than welcome to apply at a later day, but let’s face it, we all know the likelihood of her actually doing so. Would you apply a second time around to a school that denied you? Would you even believe in your dream the same way if you would have been denied? I know I would definitely second-guess myself. In fact, I did.

Dealing With Rejection In School

When I was a senior in high school, I applied to a school that I thought was going to be a good fit. It was big, it was in the city that I wanted to live in, and it was close to home, but far enough where I didn’t feel as if I had to live at home.

I have a decent GPA in high school. It wasn’t anything stellar, but it was decent. My ACT score, on the other hand, was absolutely terrible. But I still believed I could get in, and so I applied. 

A few weeks later, I got my first and only rejection letter. It was a letter telling me that I didn’t meet the admission requirements – that I wasn’t good enough to go to that school.

I remember how painful that experience was. All of the confidence that I had in myself had disappeared in a matter of seconds. I questioned whether or not college was in my future. As a result, I procrastinated and didn’t apply to college until the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. I was that beat up and down on myself. 

To the first college that I actually did attend, I knew I would get in despite my low GPA and ACT scores. Why was I so confident? Let’s just say it helps when your parents donate a good amount of money to the school every year and when your entire family has gone dating back to your great-grandparents. 

Honestly, my parents are the only reason I got into my first school. I guess that’s why it was so difficult for me to inform this student that she had been denied. I remember all too well that feeling of being rejected, and to have to inflict that feeling onto somebody else is just not a pleasurable feeling. 

How to Handle Rejection and the Feeling of Being Rejected

There are always going to be people in this world that try to tell you what you can and can’t achieve. When this happens, we all have a decision to make. We can either listen to these individuals and let them dictate our lives, or we can reclaim what is already ours and take back control of the one life that we get to live. 

As difficult as it may be, try not to see rejection as a negative thing. Instead, try to see it as life’s way of telling you that there is something else out there that is going to be a better fit for you – something that is going to lead to even bigger and better amounts of happiness and success

Also, try to see rejection as a challenge. Grow from being rejected. Remember how you feel when you experience rejection, and use that feeling to help motivate you to become better and stronger than ever before. 

Above all else, never give up. No matter what you do, no matter how many times you are rejected, and no matter how much others try to tell you what it is that you can and can’t achieve, never give up on yourself, and never give up on your dreams. Those who are persistent until they achieve the goals that they have for themselves are the ones who will be victorious when everything is said and done. 


Being rejected is never fun or easy. In fact, it flat out stinks. But that doesn’t mean that you need to let it stop you from doing what truly matters to you. 

Remember that you are strong, you are worthy, and you are capable of achieving anything and everything that you want to achieve. Somebody else’s opinion of you only matters if you allow it to. Reclaim what is rightfully yours and make the most of the one life that you get to live. As long as you do this, you will be victorious.

Michael Bonnell

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