Be OK with walking away. Rejection teaches you how to reject what’s not right for you.
As you look back on your life, you will realize that many of the times you thought you were being rejected by someone or from something you wanted, you were in fact being redirected to someone or something you needed. Seeing this when you’re in the midst of feeling rejected, however, is quite tough. I know because I’ve been there…
As soon as someone critiques, criticizes, and pushes you away — as soon as you are rejected — you find yourself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I’m not worthy.” What you need to realize is, the other person or situation is not worthy of you and your particular journey.
Rejection is oftentimes necessary medicine; it teaches you how to reject relationships and opportunities that aren’t going to work, so that you can find the right ones that will. It doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it just means someone else failed to notice what you have to offer. Which means you now have more time to improve yourself and explore your options.
Will you be bitter for a moment? Absolutely. Hurt? Of course — you’re human. There isn’t a soul on this planet that doesn’t feel a small fraction of their heart break at the realization of rejection. For a short time afterward you will ask yourself every question you can think of:
- What did I do wrong?
- Why didn’t they care about me?
- How come?
But then you have to let your emotions fuel you in a positive way. This is the important part. Let your feelings of rejection drive you, feed you, and inspire one heck of a powerful opening to the next chapter of your story.
Honestly, if you constantly feel like someone is not treating you with respect, check your price tag. Perhaps you’ve subconsciously marked yourself down. Because it’s you who gradually tells others what you’re worth by showing them what you’re willing to accept for your time and attention on a daily basis. So get off the clearance rack! And I mean right NOW! If you don’t value and respect yourself, wholeheartedly, no one else likely will either.
I know it’s hard to accept, but think about it: All too often we let the rejections of our past dictate every move we make thereafter. We literally do not know ourselves to be any better than what some intolerant person or some isolated circumstance once told us was true. It’s time to realize this and squash the subconscious idea that you don’t deserve any better.
It’s time to remind yourself that…
1. Taking a few steps back can be healing.
The person you liked, loved or respected in the past, who treated you like dirt again and again, probably has nothing intellectually or spiritually to offer you in the present moment, but more headaches and heartache.
2. It’s important to release your grip on what you can’t change.
One of the most rewarding and important moments in life is when you finally find the strength and courage to let go of what you can’t change, like someone else’s behavior or decisions.
3. It’s not the end.
It’s not the end of the world — it’s never the end of the world — and yet rejection can make the loss of someone or something you weren’t even that crazy about feel gut-wrenching and world-ending.
4. Some things simply aren’t meant to be.
There’s a time and place for everything, and every step is necessary. You will never miss out on what is truly meant for you, even if it has to come to you in a roundabout way. So stay focused and be positive about the next step. Just keep doing your best right now, and don’t force what’s not yet supposed to fit into your life.
5. Sometimes you have to fall down to move up in life.
Life ebbs and flows, and sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller and emotionally stronger than you ever were before. (Note: Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
6. There is a gift hidden in most rejections.
When you lose someone or something, try not to think of it as a loss, but as a gift that lightens your load so that you can better travel the path meant for you.
7. There are more great opportunities coming your way.
Life and God both have greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or believing that you’re broken. You are not! Eventually you will end up where you need to be, doing the right things, alongside the right people. Patience is the key. And remember, patience is not about waiting, it’s the ability to maintain a positive outlook right now while you gradually move forward to explore the opportunities in front of you.
8. You are worthy of so much more.
Sometimes people don’t notice the things we do for them until we stop doing them. And sometimes the more chances you give, the more respect you lose. Enough is enough! Perhaps it’s not rejection that’s the problem, but the fact that your boundaries were set too low. Never let people get comfortable with disrespecting you. You deserve better. You deserve to be with those who make you smile, those who don’t take you for granted, those who don’t constantly leave you hanging.
9. You don’t need any more closure to move forward.
Some chapters in our lives have to close without closure. There’s no point in losing yourself by trying to fix what’s meant to stay broken.
10. You have the power to not let them get to you.
Inner peace begins the moment you take a deep breath and choose not to allow another person or event to dominate your thoughts. You are not what happened to you. You are what you choose to become in this moment. Let go, breathe, and begin again right now.
11. It’s rarely as personal as it feels.
You really can’t take things other people say about you too personally. Most of what they think and say is a reflection of them, not of you. And remember that you simply don’t need to attend every argument you’re invited to, especially when your sense of self-worth is on the line.
12. Most people don’t know you well enough to judge you fairly.
Naysayers’ rejections aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things, because most of them don’t even know you that well. So don’t let their opinions conquer you. Seriously, most of us do not understand how much potential we have — we limit ourselves to the level someone else told us was possible.
13. You can build yourself up with this experience.
Philosophically, some people are always going to throw bricks at others, and those with the strength to succeed in the long run are usually the ones who build themselves up with the bricks others have thrown at them.
14. You are more resilient than you give yourself credit for.
Let your scars remind you that the surface level damage someone has inflicted on you has left you smarter and more resilient. When you look back on those scars, don’t think of the pain you felt; think of the strength you gained, and appreciate how far you’ve come. You’ve been through a lot, but you’ve grown a lot too. Give yourself credit for your resilience and step forward again with grace.
15. You are likely undervaluing your uniqueness right now.
Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. Don’t be one of them. Dare to be yourself — your best and unique self — however awkward, different, or odd that self may prove to be to someone else.
16. Even though it’s hard right now, you’ve got this!
Comparing your situation too closely with others, or other people’s perceptions, only undermines your worth, your education, and your own inner wisdom. No one can handle your present situation better than you.
17. Putting your whole heart and soul into today’s tasks is key.
The more we fill our lives with genuine passion and purpose, the less time and energy we waste looking for approval from everyone else.
18. You are in control of the way you look at your situation.
You can use your struggles, frustrations, and rejections to motivate you rather than annoy you. Yes, you are in control of the way you look at life. (Note: Journaling is a great tool for fostering this kind of perspective shift — see our newest publication via Penguin Random House, “The Good Morning Journal: Powerful Prompts & Reflections to Start Every Day”.)
19. This storm will eventually pass if you let it.
You may not be responsible for everything that happened to you in the past, or everything that’s happening to you right now, but you need to be responsible for undoing the thinking and behavioral patterns these uncontrollable circumstances try to create within you. So breathe deep and remind yourself that the most practical changes happen when you choose to take control of what you do have power over, instead of craving control of what you don’t. Again, it’s about letting go. Because you usually can’t calm the storm — what you can do is calm yourself and the storm will eventually pass.
20. Right now is truly the beginning.
Be strong enough to let go today, wise enough to move forward, diligent enough to work hard, and patient enough to wait for what you deserve. Practice accepting the fact that things will never again be what they once were, and that this ending is really an evolution, an transition… a new beginning that’s starting now.
Now, it’s your turn…
Yes, it’s your turn to be a daily beacon of hope to yourself — to remind yourself that your worth isn’t contingent on other people’s acceptance of you. You’re allowed to be yourself. You’re allowed to make mistakes. You’re allowed to voice your thoughts and feelings. You’re allowed to assert your needs and enforce your boundaries. You’re allowed to hold on to the truth that who you are is more than enough. And you’re allowed to let go of situations in your life that obviously weren’t meant to be.
But before you go we would love to hear from YOU.
Which point mentioned above resonates with you the most right now?
Please leave Marc and me a comment below and let us know what you think of this essay. Your feedback is important to us. 🙂
Also, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign-up for our free newsletter to receive two new articles like this in your inbox each week.
Photo by: M. Klasan
Tolu Seyi-Daniel says
This was a solid read today! In fact, sometime in 2017 I started reading this blog and getting the newsletters and I want to say thank you for sharing content that uplifts and encourages people on their worst days. No email goes unread at my end, every single one is a mood booster for me. Thank you, Marc and Angel
Have been rejected so many times, but now after reading this article I now know how I can handle this a little bit better today. Thanks a lot.
Angel and Marc, I’ve mentioned this before, but your guidance on fearing rejection and dealing with it has been a real life-saver for me. A couple lines from your 1,000 things book that have become my mantra are:
“One of the greatest freedoms is truly not caring what everyone else thinks of you. As long as you are worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them. Only when you require no approval from outside yourself, can you own yourself.”
Admittedly, I still fear what others think of me from time to time, but I have memorized your words and I think about them every single time I catch my mind traveling in the wrong direction. This practice has been helping me keep these fears at bay. Thank you for that.
Ps. Just ordered the new morning journal! Somehow I missed the news when this one was released recently.
This was a great read! I have been in a toxic relationship for the past few years, we were once married and tried working things out after our divorce. Needless to say, each chance I gave him, I felt as if I had no more value to him. Everyone around tells me I deserve so much more, I of course know I do too. This article was right on point for me. Nearly every emotion I’ve ever felt during the relationship was mentioned.
Thank you so much. It gives me comfort and the resilience that I needed today.
This is where I am, but at the beginning stage of needing to divorce. It’s SO hard to not just stay for the sake of everyone else.
It took me a long time to realize that the shame I carried with me all my life (I am 57) was due to my parents rejection. Recognizing that simple fact has been life altering for me. New rejections can trigger those old feelings and I have to remind myself that it was their problem – not mine. Excellent general article on rejection – thank you.
I truly believe every word in this sagely piece. I am so grateful for the suggestions that I plan to print each one out on cards and contemplate them every day. Many thanks for such helpful inspiration.
Marc and Angel –
Your blog came into my life when I had hit the lowest bottom I’ve known. It’s been with me through my steady journey up from the bottom, and it amazes me daily how insanely dead-on your posts are for me. It makes me feel so less alone in this world. So thank you, truly.
I read this post today – and it could not have been better timing. My husband left me and our four young kids after nine years together – he is running away from his internal struggles (anxiety, insecurities, etc.) and trying to use me as a scapegoat which, in the short term, is easier for him than dealing with things head on. He moved out suddenly one day and 11 days later served me with divorce papers. Out of nowhere. I have asked myself all those questions above – what have I done wrong, why doesn’t he love me, why is this happening, but really, this is not about me. This is about him.
I have really been struggling with my anger towards him though. That’s my biggest hurdle. I’ve had to just take a few steps back and remind myself of a few things: 1. this is NOT about me, I am a great person in a bad situation. 2. He actually did me a favor and ended a relationship that was draining more from me than I was getting in return. 3. Better now than another 9 years later.
I have also taken this as an opportunity to really get to know who is there for me – who is really my true support system. It’s amazing how many people drop off this list when the crap really hits the fan.
Anyway, thank you again for your wisdom. It keeps me sane. 🙂
Wow! For weeks, I blamed myself. I cried myself to sleep. I beat myself up. I told myself I wasn’t good enough, that I stupid and gullible. I just couldn’t make sense of it all.
I had met a wonderful man but I was so against it at first because we came from different backgrounds, we each had crazy work schedules and he was a lot younger. 13 years to be exact. He wooed, pursued and convinced me that he was serious and it became very intense pretty quickly. Divorced for 6 years after a 14 year marriage, I was ready and in love again. We began looking for apartments to move into together. Travel plans were made and paid for. One of us always made the effort to make time for the other. Then, from literally one day to the next, I never heard from him again. He ignored all my attempts trying to reach him. Weeks later, the excuse I got was- Work stress. And that was that. I didn’t even deserve an explanation. To him, I was worthless, unimportant and he chose to ignore me in the hope that I’d just disappear.
I have just read this article over and over a few times, and I will do so until I finally believe and realize that I was too good for him. It was nothing I did, specifically. It wasn’t about me. Overall, it was HIM!
I am a hardworking and I believe, an intelligent 47 year old and I never thought I could feel as low as I did. You have made me realise that I do deserve better and that I am capable of so much more. I have read many of your articles since this one and I thank you for giving women like me hope, support and encouragement.
Lady A says
I will save this article and refer back to it often! I am about to take a trip to a place where relatives, friends, and an old love have hurt and rejected me. I have such anxiety about this that I have canceled and rebooked the trip 3 times and now haven’t seen them since before covid. But I’m not the avoidance type. The trip is mostly about memories and fun. It’s a college homecoming that happens to be in an area where most of my family resides, and I love my alma mater, but not them so much. I have positioned myself to not have to see these old friends, or the ex, while still getting the most out of the events. As for the relatives, I need them to see how I have been able to renew and fly despite their mistreatment. What will help the most is that I’m not responsible for how any of them are going to “show up”, only for my honesty and authentic self, which I have discovered to be quite powerful and empowering. I need to reclaim the place that I love and make it mine again. I hope his helps someone.
Nomusa Ndlovu says
Very good article it will assist me help my son who suffered rejecyion
This is a great article. But I prefer to see some of the things you say from a slightly different viewpoint.
It’s not always that the other person isn’t worthy of you or that they failed to recognise your value. It can be that they are simply looking for something different, that what they need is not what you have to offer. If you reframe it this way (providing they haven’t treated you badly) then you are not stuck being critical of the other person. You can accept that your lives merged for a while and not have moved in different directions.
Manini Mnyanda says
This read is talking to me of what I’m going through and here I was trying to figure out why this things happen to me and continue
Now Im learning coping strategies on how to set boundaries again because people are a reflection of their lives on us and we turn to blame ourselves
So I’m going to implement all the learnings here but it’s a going to be a journey because if I don’t do it I’m going to end up very sick or dead
The power is mine and I can’t always give it to others
Sad that so few of us are taught about these positive aspects of being rejected.
“Honestly, if you constantly feel like someone is not treating you with respect, check your price tag. Perhaps you’ve subconsciously marked yourself down. Because it’s you who gradually tells others what you’re worth by showing them what you’re willing to accept for your time and attention on a daily basis. So get off the clearance rack! And I mean right NOW! If you don’t value and respect yourself, wholeheartedly, no one else likely will either.”
Wow. I feel like I am on the clearance rack! This article was so timely. Every point resonated. Thank you.
Thank you for this much need essay. I recently was “ghosted” by a friend of almost 30 years. They stop calling and texting. We did not have a fight or argument, no rhyme or reason for this behavior from them. At first, I thought it was something I had done or said, but I refused to reach out after the second ignored text to them asking what was wrong. I thought we were better than this. Your essay has reminded me that I need to continue to work on giving myself some healthy space from situations that are not beneficial to my well-being.
All 20!! You could have written this entire post about me! I really believe this could change my life. I’m going to save this to read again and again. Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom 🙂
Number 10 really resonated with me. My husband and I went to a party on Saturday night and my self-talk was very negative. I wasn’t dressed right, my job is not very interesting, I couldn’t remember people situations and names, etc. This email is a good reminder that I have a lot of unique and important qualities to share with the world. It also reminded me in that I am placing way too much value on what I think other people think of me. Thank you.
Noah William Smith says
🙂 Hi Marc and Angel,
Hope you are well today.
Thanks for sharing a great article.
I found it tricky to choose the points which resonate most today because they are all so good, but decided #11 and #13 stand out most.
In terms of #11, I agree rejection is rarely as personal as it feels. I am highly sensitive, but somehow learned over time to not fear rejection from others. I believe this is because I know deep inside that each person is on the journey they are meant to be, so when they reject me, it is not personal at all.
In terms of #13, I agree we can build ourselves up with experiences of rejection. I have many examples in my life of situations where I cared deeply and all I wanted at the time was for someone else to mirror that. One day I asked a friend why certain people reacted to me the way they did, and my friend replied because those people honestly did not care. I reflected on it and realized they did not care for what I deeply cared about because their plates were already full. They had no space for me and my thoughts. As much as it felt like rejection in the moment, it thought me that I am a leader and I need to stand firm for the things I care about. And standing alone is fine because it is always temporary.
Wishing you a good day further!
Reading this I realised and accepted that somethings are not meant to be.. I gained courage.
I lost people who are dear to me within a short space of time,this essay comforted me and inspired me to stand on my feet to their honour.
Debora Quigley says
Releasing your grip on things you can’t change and also retaining your boundaries around the situation if the other person tries to draw you back in to the same old behaviors or patterns. All good advice.