Friday Fix: How to Deal With Rejection

person being rejected

Verywell / Julie Bang

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The Verywell Mind Podcast's “Friday Fix” is a short episode that features a quick, actionable tip or exercise to help you manage a specific mental health issue or concern.

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Episode Transcript

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors. Thank you.

Welcome to The Verywell Mind Podcast. I’m Amy Morin. I’m also a psychotherapist and a best-selling author of five books on mental strength. 

My newest book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do Workbook is now on sale. It’s filled with mental strength-building strategies, quizzes, and reflection questions that can help you become the strongest version of yourself. 

You’re listening to the Friday Fix. Every Friday, I share a quick mental strength strategy that can help fix the thoughts, feelings, and actions that can hold you back in life.

And the fun part is we record the show from a sailboat in the Florida Keys.

Now let’s dive into today’s episode.


  • Do you avoid doing hard things because you’re afraid you’ll get rejected?
  • When you do get rejected do you try to hide it from other people?
  • Do you try to convince yourself that you don’t care when you get turned down for something?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, today’s episode is for you. I’m talking about how to stay mentally strong when you get rejected.

Whether you get rejected by your love interest or you get turned down for a promotion, rejection hurts. And it hurts everyone. But not everyone admits it. Some people will say they don’t care. Some people are going to say they’re glad they got rejected. And while there may be times when you realize rejection was a blessing in disguise, it usually takes a while to get that point. 

When you first get rejected, you might question what’s wrong with you. It’s normal to think you aren’t good enough or smart enough. 

You also might convince yourself that you aren’t going to try to put yourself out there every again just so you don’t have to feel the pain of rejection. 

It’s normal. We all want to feel a sense of belonging. We want to be included. We want the opportunities we strive for to match up with the way we see ourselves. If you think you’re competent enough to do a certain job, it hurts when you don’t get the position because it might mean someone else doubted your ability to do the work. 

We want other people to see us as capable and competent. We also want them to see us as the kind of people they’d like to spend time with. Being rejected can cause us to feel as though people don’t like us or appreciate us. 

There’s no doubt about it. Rejection hurts. And it can be embarrassing when other people see you get rejected. But, you don’t have to let it drag you down or hold you back. 

Here are seven ways to stay mentally strong when you get rejected:

  1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: When put on a brave face and saying things like, “I didn’t want that job anyway,” you might feel better for a minute. But trying to convince yourself--or those around you--that you don’t care won’t heal your bruised ego over the long-term. You have to work through the uncomfortable feelings–not mask them or try to avoid them. Take some time and try to identify how you’re really feeling. Put a name to those feelings. You might feel embarrassed, sad, disappointed, worried, or anxious. You’ll probably feel a mixture of a lot of emotions. Just naming them can go a long way toward helping you make sense of what’s going on for you. Once you face your feelings, you can start to heal from them. 
  2. Give Yourself a Reality Check: When you get rejected your brain will likely exaggerate what this means for you. It might tell you that getting turned down for a date means you’re ugly and unlikeable. Or, if you get rejected for a promotion, your brain might tell you that you’re not smart enough or that you aren’t a good employee. As your brain looks for those underlying meanings, it will also probably make some catastrophic predictions. It might tell you that you’ll never find someone who likes you or that you won’t ever get a better job. But don’t believe your brain. Your intense emotions will cause those irrational thoughts. But it doesn’t mean it’s true. So give yourself a reality check. Step back and ask yourself, whether one rejection really means all those things.
  3. Celebrate Your Courage: Risking rejection takes courage. There’s no glory in saying that you’ve never been turned down for something. In fact, that may mean you’re not taking big enough risks. If you aren’t getting rejected, you likely aren’t striving toward your greatest potential. Rejection serves as proof you pushed the limits and tried to expand your horizons. So celebrate the fact that you stepped outside your comfort zone. Even though rejection stings, it shows that you’re trying to live a big, bold life. And you’re courageous–so go ahead and honor yourself for having the courage to try.
  4. Practice Self-Compassion: You might find that you’re hard on yourself for being rejected. You might think you were stupid for even trying. Or you might tell yourself that you’re a loser. But believing those kinds of thoughts will only make things worse. You don’t have to listen to your inner critic–that mean voice that says horrible things to you. Instead, you can respond with self-compassion. Ask yourself, “What would I say to my friend who didn’t get that job they really wanted?” or “What would I say to my friend who just got ghosted by someone they were really interested in?” You’d probably have some really kind words for someone else. Try giving yourself those same kind words. Even if you made a mistake or you failed at something big, self-compassion is key to doing better next time. 
  5. Don’t Let Rejection Define Who You Are: If you’re rejected by an employer you may conclude you’re completely incompetent. Or, if you’re rejected by a lover you may decide you’re unattractive. But you don’t have to let one person’s opinion define who you are. Remind yourself it’s just one person’s opinions. There are plenty of other people out there with many other opinions. 
  6. Learn From It: Ask yourself what you could learn from being rejected. If nothing else, you might learn that you’re stronger than you think. Give yourself time to recover–you don’t have to put yourself out there for another opportunity right away. But use the pain you experience as an opportunity to learn and grow so you can move forward with more confidence. 
  7. Think About Your Best Comeback Story: This is one of my favorite strategies. Think about a time when you were rejected and it ultimately either turned out to be a blessing in disguise or it led one of your best comebacks ever. Maybe you got rejected for a job but the company closed a few months later and you were glad you didn’t get it. Or maybe you got rejected by a love interest but that gave you an opportunity to meet someone special. Or maybe you didn’t make the team one year but returned the following year as an all-star. I don’t like being rejected. But I do love the times when something better comes along or when it inspires me to get better. I took AP English in high school. I didn’t get credit for the class because the person who scored the test said I wasn’t a good enough writer. Since then I’ve written five books that have sold more than a million copies and have been translated into more than 40 languages. I’ve learned one test doesn’t define who you are. I didn’t get into the grad school of my choice. But 10 years after they didn’t let me in, that same school had my book listed on their recommended reading list for all the incoming students. When I was working at a community mental health center I applied for another part-time position. It wasn’t even a promotion, it was just a behind-the-scenes paperwork sort of position that would mean I’d still be a therapist most of the time but then I’d step back and do some paperwork for a few hours per week. I was trying to avoid getting burned out as a therapist. Anyway, they gave the position to someone else. So I decided to cut back on my therapy hours anyway and I started writing part-time. I’m glad I did because being a part-time writer paved the way toward me becoming an author down the road. 

So those are some of my stories that I keep on file because I know I’m going to be rejected again. And just looking back over those stories reminds me that rejection isn’t the end of the world. Sometimes, good things can happen as a result.

That’s not always the case. There will be times when you get rejected and you can’t help but think how life would be different had you only gotten that opportunity. But when that happens, just reminding yourself that you have been through rejection before and you can get through it again can help. 

Rejection gets easier when we talk about it too. Since a lot of people don’t want to tell anyone when they get rejected sometimes we think we’re the only ones going through it. But when you tell someone, you’ll likely find that they can relate to what you’re going through. 

So those are seven things that can help you deal with rejection: acknowledge your feelings, give yourself a reality check, celebrate your courage, practice self-compassion, don’t let rejection define who you are, learn from it, and think about your best comeback story.


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Make sure to subscribe to us on your favorite platform so you can get mental strength tips delivered to you every single week. 

Thank you for hanging out with me today and listening to the VW Mind podcast. 

And as always, a big thank you to my show’s producer, who is the most gracious, kind person ever when someone else wins an award, even when it’s a big award like a GRAMMY yet he gets frustrated when his favorite sports team loses, Nick Valentin.

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.