Okay… you’ll get no argument from me: rejection stinks. I don’t know of anyone who actively seeks rejection. It is inevitable, though. Everyone may get a trophy on your elementary soccer team, but a boss can’t give a single position to multiple applicants. So how do you successfully help someone process rejection? I have a couple of ideas. (What else is new, huh?!)
The first way to prepare for rejection is to not avoid it. To not attempt something because of fear of rejection is to limit our possibilities. My husband gave my daughter a jewelry dish with an inspirational saying on it this week. It said, “Shoot for the moon. If you fail, you’ll still be among the stars.” We have to encourage our kids to take risks, even if rejection is possible.
To process rejection, we must use hindsight. When the opportunity for success does come, we must go back and evaluate how things might have worked out differently if we had not been rejected in the first place. Would we have gotten this new opportunity? Every time we have a rejection and then a new (and possibly better) opportunity, we need to figuratively build what in the Old Testament they called an ebenezer. An ebenezer is a stack of stones designed to remind people of what God did at that particular spot. We need to remind ourselves of those better opportunities that came along.
It also helps to look at reality as opposed to how we feel. Rejection feels like the end of the world, but in reality, it is just a temporary setback. From that rejection will come evaluation and then strength and growth if we can quickly get over the “licking our wounds” part of rejection.
Unfortunately, the best way to put rejection into perspective is through repeated opportunities to practice. Our self-worth CANNOT be decided by rejection or acceptance from others. We will experience both repeatedly. We must teach our kids to use the rejection and acceptance to alter their behavioral habits in a way that betters them.