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How to handle rejection?

Whether it’s a role in a school play or a proposal, everyone ends up getting rejected at some point. And it’s a fact of life: being told ‘no’ hurts. It can be embarrassing and overwhelming. Everyone reacts differently and there are no quick fixes, but here are some basic tips that might help. TeenBook founder Vithika Yadav lays them out for us.  

Your pain is normal

Anger, sadness, disappointment and hurt are common emotions to experience after a rejection. You may even have physical side effects, such as headaches, stomach pain or nausea. (If you suffer from depression or similar conditions, your symptoms may even be worse, so don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.)

Don’t forget to check out this informative video on How to handle rejection below: 

It’s okay not to be okay 

You’re only human and it’s normal to feel overcome by emotions after a rejection. You don’t have to ‘be strong’ or ‘put on a brave face.’

Find and express your emotions

If this is the first time you’ve experienced rejection or the end of a relationship, it may take you a while to sort out your feelings.

  1. Let it go: Having a good cry in a place you feel safe, such as your bedroom, can help release pent-up emotions. Let it all out. We all do it. Being a real person means you have real emotions. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.
  2. Write it down: Try to write down how you feel – not for anyone else, just for yourself. It can help you to work out how you really feel. And once the thoughts are down on paper, they might stop swirling around in your head.
  3. Talking helps: Share your experience with people who care about you. And listen to their stories. If you hear how others have coped with rejection, you may start to believe that you’ll be able to cope as well.
  4. Stick to the facts: It can be easy to start over-analysing the situation or to add details that may or may not be true. For example, instead of saying: ‘That girl didn’t go out with me because I’m fat and ugly.’

Stick to the facts, which are:

‘That girl didn’t go out with me’. 

We know that it’s still a rejection and it doesn’t change the fact that a girl didn’t go out with you. But by sticking with what actually happened, you avoid upsetting yourself even more.

  1. No violence please: If someone rejects you, it hurts, but it’s their absolute right. Never, ever try to hurt them back. Also, don’t take out your bad feelings on other people around you, by getting aggressive or violent. This will just push people away from you – and likely lead to more rejections and unhappiness.
  2. Don’t indulge in bad habits: Vaping, smoking, partying, drugs, junk food – these are all methods people use to try and comfort themselves. But in the long run, they will only make you feel worse about yourself. Better to occupy your mind with something worthwhile, like sports or creativity.
  3. Keep active: The busier you are, the less time you will have to feel sad. Take up a new sport. Join a club. Learn an instrument. Try a new hobby. Learn a new skill. You will meet new people and feel better about yourself.
  4. Focus on your positive qualities: Rebuild your self-esteem! Start by asking your friends what they like about you. If this feels too awkward, write your own list of qualities that make you the perfect person to date. Are you loyal and caring? A good listener? A talented cook? Try to remember the times your friends and family have praised you. It will remind you that you are indeed quite fab.
  5. Give yourself time to heal and forgive: Like most clichés, it’s mostly true: ‘time is the great healer’. But clichés are often easier said than done! 

We know it hurts now and it’s hard to imagine ever feeling differently. But one day you’ll come out the other side. Promise. Then you’ll be ready to meet new and interesting people – one of whom will likely fall for you!

Photo: Shutterstock/Kamira/Person in the photo is a model, the names are changed.

Have a query? Ask our experts! In this column, we take questions from adolescents and their parents on growing up, adolescence, puberty and everything in between; and put them to subject matter experts.

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