I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t handle rejection well. I always feel like rejection is a personal attack on me. I know this is a character flaw in myself. Because I know this I have been doing a lot of personal reflection, growth and improvement to become better at dealing with rejection. I have been able to apply these ideas to both my personal and professional life.

1. Assume it’s not personal.

I know this one is so hard and really my number one reason as to why I struggle with feeling defeated when I get rejected. We seem to take it personal. DON’T! We may have a friend that didn’t invite us to a party, or we didn’t get picked to be the photographer for that wedding. We might have been turned down for a job or not included in a social event. Learn to not take it personally. I know this is hard especially when you didn’t get selected for a job, because we think “was my work not good enough?” “did they not like my personality?” We tend to allow our thoughts of inadequacies to take over and we take it personal. Instead release feelings of inadequacies and don’t take it personal. If you didn’t get invited to that party or to that lunch date, it very well might be because the person forgot about you, or it was an oversight. Maybe there was lack of communication when one friend thought the other friend invited you. Maybe you didn’t receive that email or that text. If you didn’t get that job, maybe it’s because they jived with someone else, but still think you’re lovely. Or maybe it’s because THEY didn’t feel the connection. Maybe you didn’t get selected for that part because someone else fit it better. Don’t beat yourself up on the reasons why you didn’t get included, or get the job. It’s better just to assume it’s not personal.

2. Don’t dwell on it.

When I was a teenager I wasn’t picked for a dance team that I had auditioned for. The results of not being selected were very damaging to me. And the reason they were damaging to me was because I DWELLED ON IT. My heart was so crushed. But then my soul was crushed, my physical appearance was crushed, my emotional status and my well being destroyed because I allowed myself to think about it for YEARS. The reasons I didn’t make the team were hard and callus, but instead of releasing the hurt and the rejection, I dwelled on it and allowed it to destroy me. Too many times we dwell on our rejection for far too long. We start harboring bad feelings about those who rejected us and we allow it to take up too much precious space in our hearts. The more time we spend thinking about our rejection the less time we have to become better people.

3. Learn what your part in the rejection was.

In my church there are a group of women in my age bracket…and they are all friends. They hang out, go to lunch, movies and midnight birthday surprises to IHop. They post these gatherings on social media and I can’t help but feel like I am being rejected by them. For a long while I would think about all the reasons why they didn’t invite me “Maybe they don’t like me because I am a photographer.” “Maybe they don’t like me because I’m not like them.” “Maybe the didn’t invite me because _______ doesn’t like me” ….and I would come up with hundreds of reasons why I didn’t get invited. Then something dawned on me. I have a role to play in this. You see I am not a shy person, I am actually extremely outgoing; however I am an introvert in the same breath. I am an outgoing introvert. So what does that mean…it means it takes me a little bit of time to warm up to people. I also sit back and evaluate the atmosphere before I really let myself shine. So when these women see me at church they see the girl who is not the loud, crazy girl, they see the quite, observant girl. I also don’t just strike up conversations when I pass someone in the halls. So when I pass them and I don’t stop to chit chat, they might be thinking “oh maybe she doesn’t want to socialize.” So I do have a roll to play in this. They might just be thinking that I don’t want to get to know them because I don’t vocalize it, or I don’t socialize in the hallways. When in reality I want to socialize and be included; It just takes a moment (or 10) for me to warm up in many situations. Needless to say I have a role to play in that rejection. Since learning my role I am able to work on it with more gumption. With all this being said we need to learn what our role is in the rejection. What type of messages did we send? What part is ours?

4. Use it to Improve

After you have allowed yourself to acknowledge that you might have a part in the rejection and what your roll is, use the rejection to allow yourself to improve. If you have been turned down for a job or didn’t get hired to photograph that event use your resources to help you improve. If the situation is appropriate ask how you can improve. If you find yourself unable to ask for feedback on the situation ask a third party for advice. Use the situation to help you grow. When you have acknowledged your role in the situation you can change what you need to change if you would like to not be rejected in similar situations for the future. Don’t allow the situation to hold you back from improving…instead allow it to propel you forward.

5. Carry On

When all is set and down carry on. Move forward! Don’t allow the rejection to define you! You are not the rejection. You are worth more than you realize and you have so much awesomeness to give the world. If you allow the rejection to define you then you are not living up to your potential. Don’t allow the rejection to stop you from doing big things…keep moving, keep progressing!

Rejection sucks! IT REALLY DOES! No matter what we will always at first internalize it as we are not worthy enough for something or someone, but we are wrong in that thinking. Maybe just maybe it them who is not right for us. And in the end always remember that when rejection happens; it’s just God’s way of sending you down another path where you will find something even better.