Odujinrin & Adefulu

Managing Rejection

It should (rather) be viewed as a simple answer to a question.

Rejection is a normal and constant aspect of our lives. Every reader will admit that they have not always gotten what they wanted. We have all had our requests turned down; we have all experienced rejection. We have had to go out on dates and got turned down, school and job applications turned down and even friends and family have turned us down or ignored us. The problem with rejection is not so much in the word NO; it is in the way it makes us feel. Think about the last time you were rejected… How did you feel? Were you tensed? Did your heart freeze or sink into your stomach? Did you feel defeated and worthless? Now, if we took these feelings and multiplied them by the number of times some people have had to face rejection, then we might have a fair idea of the impact of rejection in our daily lives. The dilemma most times, however, is that if we must improve or get satisfaction, we must keep asking so that rejection becomes like any aspect of life and an opportunity to grow so much that we learn to deal with them. There is also the flip side. Clearly, if someone is receiving rejection and if rejection is part of our normal daily life, then it means someone is dishing it out. So, we must be mindful of our delivery. If saying, “No” hurts, then we are responsible for hurting someone, and since hurting someone is not socially acceptable, rejecting someone is not either.

The need for a balance

Unfortunately, we live in a world where being agreeable is often praised over being objectionable; where sacrificing your wants and desires are held in higher regard than standing up for them. We feel entitled when asking and obliged when asked. However, saying “Yes” always could also have a negative impact. So, we have to learn how and when it is important to say “No”. If you do not learn to say “No”, you may cause permanent damage to your person. Saying “No” could also come from a place of respect, honour and honesty. Most importantly, whether we are giving or receiving rejection, let us have it at the back of our minds that we are dealing with humans with feelings similar to ours. We can’t always control how people react to our rejection, but at least we can walk away with a clear conscience when we have taken extra care to be much more sensitive when delivering it. Value other people’s time and take responsibility for your choices. Be kind and always engage from a place of empathy. It is empowering to take control of your Yes & No and it is liberating to not always feel obliged when asked and to not feel like a victim when rejected. The comfort when saying “No” is fantastic but getting too comfortable saying it is to walk into the world rejecting people and new experiences. We should be honest about what we can give at any moment. Rejection doesn’t have to be a monster that we are scared to confront and afraid to release. It should rather be viewed as a simple answer to a question. Compassion, empathy and resilience are skills that we can develop so the next time we have to deal with rejection, we do not take it personally, and we try to learn from it. When we have to deliver a rejection, let’s be kind, respectful and empathetic and hope that our honesty in that moment is not misconstrued. It is the greatest sign of respect one can show to himself and to others.


I recommend the following tips as antidotes managing this:
  • Do not take it personally even if it was personal. It says nothing about your ability to improve.
  • Take each rejection as a case study and analyze it in relation to how you asked, whom you asked and what you asked for.
  • Stay positive. Sometimes and most times people reject your negative energy way before you get the chance to ask.
  • Take a deep breath…
  • Move on!