"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."–Wayne Gretzky
It is never easy to put yourself in a vulnerable situation where rejection is a possible (if not definite) outcome. Whether it applying for a new job, going on a first date, or anticipating an exclusive RSVP to an upcoming wedding, expectations, when not met, have detrimental effects on our moods and feelings.
Inadequacy, ineptitude, and abandonment, examples of those negative feelings, can lower both our self-worth and self-esteem. To avoid these emotional injuries, it is important to approach vulnerable situations with the right mindset.
Here are four simple ways to beat rejection and keep moving forward:
Alter Your Expectations
Always, always, always remember that we are in control of our own emotions and that we can only be affected by the things that we allow to affect us.
That said, we are perfectly capable of altering our expectations and controlling our reactions to negative outcomes. As important as it is to get excited about a great opportunity, it is just as important to manage those expectations by keeping your options open. The better you are at altering your expectations in any given situation, the less likely you are to get hurt.
When a college rejection letter arrives in the mail or when you’re not asked to join a “popular” squad, it may be time to reflect.
As cliché as this sounds, everything truly happens for a reason.
Maybe the college you had your heart set on was not a good fit, maybe the timing wasn’t right, or maybe you need to strengthen your skills before re-applying. Maybe the girls in that squad didn’t share your interest, maybe they didn’t like you for you, or maybe you found other friends. Whatever the reasons, it may be time to reflect and evaluate the situation.
Rejection is both a normal life experience and a crucial life lesson to learn. After you have reflected on why an individual, college, or job offer did not pan out the way you hoped, it is vital to keep an open mind. Because rejection will happen time and time again, a positive and open mindset, instead of a negative and closed one, will eventually guarantee success.
Try, Try Again
As famously said by British educational writer, William E. Hickson, “If at first you don’t succeed; try, try, try again.”
Even though rejection can leave you feeling hurt and defeated, it is important to get back on the horse after you’ve reflected. Apply for another job. Go on another first date. Continue to let yourself be vulnerable! One of these times, you will be the perfect fit. Your future self will thank you for never giving up.
Feature image: "Between Heaven and Earth," oil on linen by Conrad Jon Godly.