Handling the Stress of Rejection

Rejection can cause a particularly deep form of anger, because rejection seems to carry with it a heavy load: loss of self-esteem, and even of identity. Rejection can also result in depression. Sometimes it takes this shock of rejection to make you realize that you may have been asking for too little in life and to get moving to do something about it.  You may have settled for what you thought you could have, not what you really wanted. Or you may have convinced yourself that you really wanted a situation or a relationship in order to escape the uncomfortable ambiguity of not having a settled future. You have, in fact, made a poor choice. I first learned how to turn the anger of rejection into useful energy some years ago, after being rejected three times when I tried to transfer to a nearby state college from the community college.  As an older returning student, this rejection played into my fears that I was somehow inadequate. After the third rejection, I took a deep breath and took stock of skills and abilities, then said to myself, “How dare they reject me!  Why, I’m good.” I then shot off applications to two prestigious universities, one public and one private, that I would never have dared approach before – and got accepted at both, with scholarships. The energy of anger, racing through my body, shocked me into looking at the situation very differently.  And that energy forced me to take constructive action. You may feel that you’ve been rejected because you’re inferior in some way, but it may be that you...

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