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How To Deal With Rejection, Like A Boss

by Shannon Terrell February 12, 2018

Rejection is something we have to deal with on a routine basis. It’s unpleasant, uncomfortable, and at times, downright miserable. But the truth is, rejection is a part of our human experience and at some point or another, we have to learn how to deal with rejection.

When we’re children, rejection might take the form of being excluded from a game of tag on the playground. When we’re teenagers, rejection might be getting dumped by a girlfriend or boyfriend. When we’re adults, rejection could be being fired from our jobs.

Rejection can take a myriad of forms and can scale from an offhanded remark from a co-worker to an uprooting life event so profound it stonewalls us.

So, how can we begin to rise above rejection? And how can we turn rejection into a tool for our own success?

How to Define Rejection On Your Own Terms

Rejection doesn’t really happen to you, it’s how you choose to feel.

—Vishen Lakhiani


A massive part of dealing with rejection and failure is learning how to define it on your own terms. There are a lot of unpleasant emotions that often accompany rejection, such as:

  • Aggression
  • Frustration
  • Defensiveness
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Jealousy

This arsenal of challenging emotional experiences arise as a result of our perceived rejection.

He criticized my outfit. Do I really look that bad?

They laid me off at work. Maybe I wasn’t doing a good enough job.

My friend won’t answer my phone calls. I must have made them angry.

A lot of the time, the uncomfortable emotions we feel bombarded by after a rejection are heavily tied in our perceptions of the event. If you look at the examples above, you’ll see a pattern.

Event A) has happened, and therefore, conclusion B) must be true.


But what we have to remind ourselves of in moments like these is that we can alter our perception of what’s going on around us to lessen the blow that rejection attempts to impart.

Maybe there’s a good reason your friend hasn’t gotten back to you yet. Perhaps you were laid off for budgetary reasons. Maybe your coworker made a comment about your outfit that you interpreted as an insult.

We often take things personally, when in reality, the circumstances and events that affect our lives really don’t have anything to do with us — or at least don’t have anything to do with who we are as human beings.

When we learn to define rejection on our own terms, in our own way, we can begin to dismantle the difficult emotions that so often arise when we feel rejected.

4 Famous Icons That Were Rejected Before Making It Big

There’s a huge misconception that surrounds rejection, and it revolves around the following premise:

Successful people don’t get rejected.



The most successful people in the world have faced a multitude of rejections. More than they care to count, and you know what? They triumphed in spite of it all.

Here are just a few of the most notorious iconic figures that faced multiple rejections:

1. J.K. Rouling

Here’s one that you’ve likely heard of. J.K Rowling was rejected by a whopping twelve different publishers before her book pitch was finally picked up by Bloomsbury. And that book? It’s now the multi-million dollar empire we know today as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Oh, and did you know that Rowling was fired from her job at the London office of Amnesty International because she spent all her time writing stories on her work computer?

2. Oprah Winfrey

When Oprah was twenty-two years old, she was the co-anchor of the evening newscast on Baltimore’s WJZ-TV. She was later fired by the producer because she couldn’t detach her emotions from the stories she reported. And, well — you know where Oprah is today.

3. Steven Spielberg

Spielberg was rejected from the Theatre, Film and Television program at the University of Southern California not once, not twice, but three times. Eventually, he was taken on by another school, of which he later dropped out of to pursue directing.

4. Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep, at age twenty-seven, was rejected from an audition for King Kong because she was told she was ‘too ugly.’ Today, she has over 18 Academy Awards. Go, Meryl!

How to Deal With Rejection

Even after we’ve taught ourselves to reset our perceptions and define rejection on our own terms, rejection is still going to be a part of our lives.

Whether we like it or not, we will face people, life events, and circumstances that make us feel excluded, dismissed, alienated, and less than.

So, how to deal with rejection?

Marisa Peer, world-renowned speaker, therapist, and author of Ultimate Confidence, suggests the following 5 strategies for how to deal with rejection:

1. “Thank you for sharing that.”

When someone sends something your way that sounds an awful lot like criticism or insult, the first thing you should reply with is: “Thank you for sharing that.”

This acknowledges what’s been said but doesn’t let the rejection in. You aren’t voicing your agreement. You’re not issuing an apology. You’re simply acknowledging what the other person has said.

2. “I missed that, would you say it again?”

This reply will more often than not stop your would-be criticizer in their tracks. When you ask someone to repeat something mean or critical that they’ve said, usually, they won’t. The more likely reaction will be a doubling back on their words as they backpedal to amend their criticism.

3. “Are you trying to make me feel bad about myself?”

Here’s where we get straight down to the nitty-gritty of it.

So many of our perceived rejections don’t need to be taken personally. Granted, some rejections are slanted as personal attacks, but not nearly so many as we assume.

If you call someone out on their attack and ask, “Are you trying to make me feel bad about myself?” you’ll likely be surprised to find that much of the time, the answer is: no.

4. “You can think what you want, I’m not going to let that in.”

If you’ve asked someone if they’re intentionally trying to hurt your feelings, and they respond with a yes, then this is the next step.

Simply tell that individual: think what you want. I’m not going to let that in.

Meaning to say, you acknowledge that they have their own opinion, but you aren’t going to let what they think change the way you feel.

Easier said than done? Of course. But the more you practice this mantra, the better it will feel.

5. “Did you know that critical people have the most criticism reserved for themselves?”

If someone really won’t leave you alone, this is the final step you can take toward moving past rejection and criticism.

Let the person that’s bothering you know that you understand they’re being critical, but that many times, the most critical people reserve their harshest criticisms for themselves.

You can remind this person that they don’t have to be mean or harsh — most especially not with themselves. Everyone is just trying to do the best they can. And we can support each other along the way much more effectively by offering constructive guidance, as opposed to harsh criticism.

The Power of ‘I’m Enough’

If you’ve ever doubted yourself, you know how crippling it can be.

The missed opportunities, the indecision, the quiet torment - it stops us from living our best lives.

But self-doubt is really just a subconscious belief caused by childhood trauma. If we change our beliefs, we can shed self-doubt and develop self-confidence instead.

Legendary transformational hypnotherapist, Marisa Peer, shares three powerful words that can challenge and erase self-doubt,

I Am Enough.

These powerful words have completely changed the lives of many people from the Mindvalley tribe. Her words helped them develop the confidence and courage to go after what they truly want from life.

And it can do the same for you too.

If you’re ready to eradicate self-doubt and develop the unshakeable confidence to live your best life, then join this Free Masterclass with UK’s #1 Therapist, Marisa Peer, where you’ll learn:

Experience a 20-minute Rapid Transformational Therapy session with Marisa Peer – designed to make you recognise YOUR personal negative beliefs and how to eliminate them.

Expand your Life Vision and stop settling. Marisa explains how to lead an uncompromised life — a life where you enjoy success, abundance, and freedom, simply by going through a series of powerful transformations.

Experience the results immediately. Marisa will help you shift your beliefs instantly, which you’ll notice the moment you wake up the next day!

Register Today And Learn How To Develop Invulnerable Self-Confidence And Lead An Uncompromising Life!

Which of these strategies do you think might work best? Are you willing to give any of them a try? Tell us what you think below!

by Shannon Terrell
Shannon Terrell is a writer based in Toronto, Canada. She revels in the thrill of exploration, whether it be new cultures, new landscapes, or new ways to bring on the happy. If she’s not hiking or practicing yoga, she probably has her nose in a book.

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