Why Getting Rejected Makes You Stronger
I still remember the day I experienced the worst rejection of my life.
I was fresh out of grad school, and I was super excited about finding a writing job that combined my love for the arts and history.
After months of applications, corny networking mixers and hours online researching companies, I found a dream job at a prestigious museum that had everything I wanted.
I applied, and to my complete surprise, I heard back the next day.
Over the next two weeks, I went through three different grueling in-person interviews.
After each one, I got affirmation I was a perfect candidate and would fit right in.
After I had completed the final interview, I knew I had that job in the bag. I sent out a triumphant group text to all my friends and family, even going as far as to set up a dinner to celebrate.
Weeks went by, and I heard nothing back from the museum.
Worried about seeming overeager, I didn't call to check on my application status, and I patiently waited to get a response.
I continued working at a non-profit that was pretty much paying me in dust and breakroom Cheetos, all while daydreaming of when I could hand in my resignation and sashay out of there.
Cut to two months later, and I finally worked up the courage to call the museum's HR office to get an update on my status.
Imagine my shock when I learned that someone else had begun a month before in that very job that I all but told everyone in the known universe I had bagged.
The experience left me devastated and unsure of my next move.
I struggled to see beyond the constant hurt I felt.
My pain was very real because our brains are hard-wired to treat rejection like a physical injury.
If you have ever sprained your ankle or been in an accident, you know those injuries don't heal overnight, and rejection can linger for months or even years.
We all want to know our lives matter, and when people affirm our feelings, this boosts our self-esteem.
However, when life hands you an endless stream of “hell nos,” it is easy to feel dejected and alone.
You may just want to give up altogether when you don't get that job or that cute guy from Tinder ghosts you when you were sure you had a connection, but don't give in to the despair.
Here are three ways rejection makes you a better person in the long run:
1. You gain resiliency.
When you experience the gut-wrenching pain of rejection, it can feel like your entire world is ending.
But in reality, you're just gaining more experience that will help you better deal with rejection the next time it comes around.
So, when you feel rejected by something or someone, remember you are building your body's resiliency reserves.
2. You find your true calling.
Thinking back on that dream job years later, I now realize it wasn't a good fit for me. While I loved and still appreciate art, I don't see myself wanting to write about art all the time.
I would have never found what I am truly passionate about if I hadn't been that museum dissing me.
Sometimes, rejection helps to lead you to another road in life that is more fulfilling.
3. You grow as a person.
One of the greatest benefits of rejection is that it forces you to look within at the things you can tweak about yourself to become a greater person.
This world is a competitive place. You must always prove you have the goods.
Sometimes, rejection is life's way of telling you there are some things that you need to change.
Maybe you need to learn a new skill or develop independence.
Whatever the case may be, if you let it, rejection can supercharge your fierce factor and turn you into the person you have always aspired to be.
The next time rejection has you feeling like your life is an endless Drake song, remember this: The pain is going to go away eventually, and when it does, you will be better for it.
You have value, and it isn't dependent on whether someone else sees it or not.