Quick Guide to Keeping Your Sh*t Together After a Professional Rejection

Photo by Lisa on

From writers to job-seekers to people in the dating scene, we’ve all been rejected at some point. And, odds are, we’ll be rejected again.

I’m gonna go ahead and state the obvious here. Rejection — professional or personal — sucks.

Like most people, I’ve been rejected more times than I want to think about. And, while that rejection led me to where I am today — in an amazing relationship, at a great job, getting a degree in a field that I love — it took me a long time to get over each and every rejection that came my way.

I’m writing this to talk about rejection in a way that isn’t sugarcoated. I’ve noticed that a lot of articles written about rejection are filled with toxic positivity — a forcedly positive view that doesn’t always acknowledge the darker, equally valid, emotions that come with rejection.

Here are a few no-BS ways I’ve learned to deal with rejection.


1. Clean 👏 your 👏 house

I know it sounds ridiculous. And it probably is. But the idea behind cleaning your house right after a rejection is just to get your body moving, and to keep yourself distracted.

This is my go-to distraction, but it might not be yours. If you prefer another mode of distracting yourself, by all means — go for it. You do you. If you like distracting yourself by calling a loved one, do it! If you prefer to go for a run, get your shoes on and go. The important thing with this tip is to immerse yourself into something completely separate from the rejection, and all the negative emotions that come with it.

2. Avoid self-sabotaging

If you’re like me, when you’re disappointed, you can fall back into habits or behaviors that aren’t always good for you. For example, I tend to compare myself to others when I feel bad about myself — a habit that inevitably cycles endlessly until my bad mood gets even worse.

If you sense you’re about to self-sabotage — if you’re pulling up old texts, or going through that one interview in your head over and over again — take a second. Acknowledge that the behavior you’re about to engage in is self-sabotaging. And, if at all possible, see #1, and distract yourself by doing something else.

3. Go to therapy

[Louder for the people in the back]: IF YOU CAN, GO TO THERAPY. If you’re a college student, there is a good chance your institution offers free counseling. If not, try using the Psychology Today website to find a therapist.

Not sure how to start? Here is more information on what to look for in a good therapist.

4. Try again.

DISCLAIMER: This isn’t to diminish how sh*tty you feel right now.

This is a step to take once you’re done feeling all the sh*tty feelings.

If you’re applying to jobs, or submitting writing to publications, or asking someone out — it’s all a numbers game. The more you try, the better chance you have of succeeding.

5. Be kind to yourself.

This one is non-negotiable. End of discussion. Be kind to yourself, first and foremost. The end.

By Ayla Yersel

Humanities nerd learning to code.

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