Rejection: An effective 10 step guide to get over it

Written by Varouna Baroud on Friday, 03 November 2017. Posted in Relationships & network, Self development

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Photo by Ariel Lustre on Unsplash

Maybe you are a person that feeds on rejection. Most people, however, are not. You don't need to be. Rejection is difficult, whether it is in a relationship, a friendship or while working on your goals. What you could need is just a more effective manner to deal with it. 

That is why we share this 10 step guide to "getting over it". These steps can guide you when you are in the midst of the storm but mostly, these steps are designed to get you back on track as soon as possible. Because no rejection is worth giving up what you were working on. 

Step 1. Confirmation

Because people are so sensitivity to rejection, they often have the bad habit of assuming rejection where there’s merely constructive criticism, objection or alternative opinion.

Are you one of those people that assumes the worst assume the worst to protect yourself? If you recognize that defense mechanism, you need to check first if it is really a rejection you are dealing with. It feels counter-intuitive, but it keeps you from needlessly losing out on opportunities and people.

Checking an assumption does NOT mean defiantly stating your assumption. It means openly asking what the other person means by what they are saying.

Step 2. Recognition of the rejection

Sometimes it is what it is: you are being rejected.

Unfortunately, there is no way around that one. All you can do is take the blow and recognize it as a rejection.  

The golden tip: don’t go into denial mode. Remember all the previous times you were flogging a dead horse? Remember how it never turned out to be worth it? Fighting or postponing the again only costs valuable time. The faster you recognize rejection, the faster you can start moving on.

Step 3. Acceptance

Accept the rejection for what it is and what it isn’t. It is not the end of the world. Nor is it a devaluation of you as a person.

It is, however, the end of this particular path and the sooner you accept that the faster you become aware of all the other paths you haven’t noticed until now. 

Grace is often found in how you let go of what wasn’t meant to be.

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Step 4. Acknowledge your instinct.

Rejection hurts and that pain is always followed by a reflex to cope with it. These are your defense mechanisms, automatic responses to a painful stimulus.

The problem with these reflexes is that they are often not constructive in your adult life. Plus your response to the pain of rejection often does more damage to the situation than the rejection itself. In the heat of the moment, it is tempting to send that angry app, lash out or drink that 4th wine, but that only ends up reflects badly on you.

Invest time in analyzing your “go to” response to rejection. Recognition will ultimately be the key to learn to channel the pain more constructively. If you know what reaction to expect, you can start practicing with not giving in to self-destructive behavior.

Questions to explore your impulse reaction: Do you fight, freeze or flight? Are you a blamer, a shamer, a denier? Do you lash out and seek revenge? Do you reprimand or isolate yourself?  Do you give up or ignore it?


  1. Choose your mantra

To deal with the first impact of rejection it helps to choose a line, quote or motivational thought that helps you distinguish yourself from the rejection. It soothes the initial pain and keeps you from engaging in (self) destructive behavior.

Choose a simple line, song or mantra and repeat it in your head while breathing slowly until you feel you are able to think somewhat rationally again.

Choose any mantra that suits you, as long as it is not inflammatory, easy to remember and repeat and most of all, calming.


  1. Find support

After a rejection, people often tend to isolate themselves. A handy form of ostrich politics, originating from a combination of shame and the misconception that saying it out loud somehow makes it more real.

Talking about it is the first step in facing the reality of the rejection. So teach yourself to immediately contact 3 friends that you can always count on. One for comfort, one to provide perspective and when you are ready, one to give you that kick in the butt to get back on track.

You will see that if you start sharing your failures, others will follow your example and the rejection or failures naturally become less painful.

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  1. Recuperate

Tucking away disappointment and pretending to move on unscathed, almost never works. The pain lasts longer and as a result, you engage in more bad habits over a longer period of time, taking you further or permanently of course.

The antidote? Schedule in time to sulk. But give yourself a set timeframe to indulge in feeling sorry for yourself. Depending on the situation, that can be a day or a lot longer. Hide in bed, binge watch friends or dateline, eat chocolate or do whatever you need to do to get it out of your system.

  1. Back to plan.

Your recuperation time always has a fixed expiration date. After that, there is no more room for excuses! Time to go back to your initial plan.

Going back to the original object can be hard. But remember: one door may have closed but there are plenty left and if you focus on those, you might find they are wide open. Rearrange your options and make a game plan. Often new opportunities suddenly come to light that you overlooked before simply because your perspective has changed now your not solely focused on the other thing.

  1. Reframe.

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted”.  An inspiring quote by the great and late Randy Pausch.

There is always something to learn from the rejection that you can use in your new game plan. Even though it is painful, by examining the situation you gain valuable knowledge for the future. The more honest you dare to look at yourself and your own actions, to more power you gain.

  1. One bold step

Finally, it is time to move forward. That first new leap that will put distance between you and the rejection for good. That can mean anything from going on a new date, responding to a new vacancy, signing up for a new course to getting a new haircut. 

Consciously do that one thing out of your comfort zone, that 1 bold move that boosts your confidence and gets you back on track.

Of course, these steps are not all-encompassing. Some might suit you, some won't. But it pays to have a plan in place when you deal with painful situations so you won’t let the situation define you.   

 Are you ready to get back on track? Click on this link to see how we can help you create a plan to define, create and live your best life!

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