“But what if it goes wrong?” This is a question many of us ask before starting something new. Whether it is applying to a prestigious school or approaching someone new, the fear of rejection tends to hold us back from reaching our full potential. I, for one, have always loved to stay in my own comfort zone due to that same fear. As I have gotten older, I have realized that growth is impossible without trying new things.
The fear of being rejected is a normal human emotion that we must embrace. It is normal for us to get so used to our daily lives that we become comfortable. We must also realize that even though not everything will work perfectly in our favor, we will not know unless we try.
About a few months ago, I applied to a free, prestigious summer program that would have facilitated my college application process. About a month later, I received a generic letter stating:
“Dear Kelly. Thank you for taking interest in our program. We were honored to read about your talents and aspirations, but we regret to inform you…”
I felt discouraged for the rest of the day, but I took time to be alone and let myself be sad. I worked on embracing my emotions as opposed to suppressing them. I tried to meditate and discuss my feelings with some loved ones. After a few days of simply accepting what happened, I felt more relieved. I have had to accept that rejection is something that we continue to experience throughout our lives, in one way or another.
As a senior, I will have to apply to various different colleges and scholarships, some of which will deny me. This does not make me any less worthy or intelligent; it simply means that taking many risks comes with some rejections. Not every place is a perfect fit, and that is okay.
Though I dealt with academic rejection, there are many other types of rejections. They can involve romantic relationships, friendships, and social situations.
My friend Gabriella agreed to testify her experience with rejection. Since she preferred that I did not post a video of her, only the questions I asked her along with her responses will be posted.
Gabriella was rejected romantically. During the interview, she elaborated on how she coped with it. The questions I asked her will be in green; her responses will be in blue.
I want to remind you that you don’t have to answer any questions that you prefer to keep private. For starters, would you be willing to elaborate more on your romantic rejection?
“So I took interest in a friend of mine and over time, I found myself having feelings for her. When I expressed my feelings, she started to lead me on even though she was not attracted to me. This made it harder for me to deal with the rejection since she had gotten my hopes up. She later expressed how she did not view me romantically and strictly as a friend.”
What were the first emotions you felt after being rejected?
“I felt regret, as if everything would have played out differently if I would have never said anything. I wished I would have just kept my feelings to myself.”
What were your main methods of coping?
“I began to balance out my feelings and my friendship with her. Since we were friends before I expressed myself, I kept reminding myself that I wanted to maintain our friendship. I also distanced myself from her by talking to her less, in order to move on. I tried to keep my mind busy to avoid thinking about her. I would focus on my daily tasks instead of thinking about the situation with her.”
Which one of your coping methods was most helpful?
“Keeping my mind busy was most helpful. I learned that the less I thought about it, the more it went away. I directed my focus on things that would benefit my future, like college applications and schoolwork, as well as other responsibilities at home.”
Would you say that your method actually made you feel better?
“Definitely. Even though I have not fully moved on yet, my main coping method has helped me approach the situation differently. I realized that it is okay to put certain things aside and respect her wishes of remaining friends.”
What did your experience teach you about rejection?
“I learned that no matter what happens, I must keep pushing. At the end of the day, I’m the only person completely affected by it. I learned to stop letting it hold me back, and I tried to stop overthinking it. I took it as a lesson to allow myself to move on and continue with life.”
What advice would you give to someone who was rejected (either romantically or in any other way)?
“Don’t let it make you feel bad. Don’t let it push you back in life. Remember to not take it too personal because it happens to everyone at some point. If it’s academic, use it as inspiration to succeed and prove them wrong.”
If you are undergoing a similar situation, I hope this article helped you. If you want additional help, you can always seek help from professionals, like a therapist.
https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/ (link for federally funded health centers near you)
https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/7-ways-seek-therapy-without-breaking-bank (link to get therapy on a budget)
http://careforyourmind.org/what-to-do-when-you-cant-afford-therapy/#more-1447 (more advice for getting help on a budget)