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How to Maintain your Mental Health After Rejection

Updated on February 5, 2019
Suzette-Annan profile image

Suzette Annan is freelance health writer and certified personal trainer with years of experience working in mental health.

No one walking this earth can go through life without getting rejected. There will be jobs that you don't get, crushes that just don't feel the same way, and phone calls that never get returned. We all have to deal with rejection, but that doesn't stop it from hurting. The way you handle it is the difference between keeping your mental health and self-esteem in tact or in tatters. Here are some ways to deal with it.

It's natural for rejection to get us down
It's natural for rejection to get us down

Not everyone will like you and that's ok.

Don't dwell on it...

So it's been two weeks and you haven't heard back from that job interview. You thought it went really well, but now you're starting to panic. You replay it in your mind over and over again, and wonder what you did wrong?

It’s hard not to take things personally, but you may have done nothing wrong. There just might have been a candidate that scored slightly better than you so they gave them the job. Request some feedback (good employers should always offer it) and move forward.


Learn from it...

Sometimes rejections indicate that there is something about us that rubs people the wrong way. People who I now consider friends have told me that they didn't like me when we first met. I was puzzled as to why? They told me that I came across as cold and a bit arrogant because I didn't smile much and said very little. When we got to know each other better they told me that they were surprised that I'm actually a nice person.

I used their feedback to make an effort to smile more around new people so that I don't continue to give off a bad impression. I'm not saying to completely alter your personality for people to like you It’s just helpful to take on board the opinions of the people you trust, and whose opinion you value to improve yourself.


Beating yourself up over it is counter productive. It wastes so much energy that could be putting into something that benefits you instead of breaking you down. Give yourself a time limit on dwelling, and then get busy doing what you have to do.

Acknowledge that not everyone will like you...

It's impossible to be liked by everyone because we all have our preferences. Some people like mangoes and some people like apples. You could be the sweetest, juiciest mango, but the person that likes the apple will still go for the apple. That doesn't make the mango bad; it just wasn't to their particular taste.

When someone rejects you try not to take it personally and simply conclude that you just weren't compatible. There are 7 billion on the planet so the odds are that you will meet someone that you click with. Also ask yourself whether you like everyone? The answer is probably no.

Surround yourself with the people that love you

Rejection can do a lot of damage to self-esteem as it is easy to internalize it as not being good enough. We are a tribal and species after all. In our hunter gatherer days rejection from the tribe would result in starvation or being dinner of a saber-toothed tiger, so it’s natural to feel bad. Spending time with your tribe can give you back the sense of belonging that we all need.

Meet up with some good friends and let them know how you're feeling. When they remind you of how great you are and how much they love you, you will feel a whole lot better.

Be compassionate with yourself

Rejection is really tough. You have just been turned down for something or by someone that you really wanted, so of course it is going to hurt. Accept that you feel disappointed, angry and upset and be kind to yourself. It is OK to feel this way, what is not OK is punishing yourself for not getting the outcome that you wanted.

If you need to cry or vent to your best friend go on and do it, so you can get it out of you. It is damaging to hold onto negative emotions so get rid of them so you can feel better.

At a time like this it is important to practice self-care, whatever that is for you. It could be meditation, a nice hot bath, a jog or your favourite meal. You need to take the time to look after yourself because you matter - simple as that.

Be proud of your courage

So many people don't even try to improve their lives because they are so afraid of rejection. They stay in jobs that they hate, or in relationships that aren't working because the thought of putting themselves out there terrifies them.

You have shown that you are brave enough to go and make things happen. This takes a huge amount of courage and for that you should be proud of yourself. Colonel Sanders was rejected 1009 times before KFC became a household name. All the naysayers must have got him down, but he made the decision to carry on anyway, and found massive success.

Don't doubt yourself...

The worst think you can do is let rejection completely knock your confidence. When we lose confidence our beliefs about ourselves can change for the worse. This can trigger mental health problems like depression and anxiety and you don't want to go down that road.

What you believe creates your reality, so don't let someone telling you that you're not what they're looking for make you feel bad about yourself and damage your self-worth.

When you begin to doubt yourself eventually you stop going after what you want, because you no longer believe that you can get. Confidence is the key to a successful, happy life and no one should have the power to take it away from you.

So what if you got passed over for a promotion, or that hot guy or girl turned you down for a date. This does not mean that you're not good enough. Keep believing in yourself and keep trying.

© 2019 Suzette-Annan

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