Advice From Teenagers for Getting Over Rejection (2023)


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Cry it out. Look for the lesson. Reframe the narrative. Remember that being turned down doesn’t define you.

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By The Learning Network

Life is full of rejections — when trying out for teams, applying to schools, hunting for jobs and forming relationships. For high school seniors participating in the college application process, rejections can be plentiful and brutal.

This week, we invited students to read about a high school in Los Angeles that throws an annual rejection party for seniors where they shred their college rejection letters and eat cake and ice cream to celebrate the fact that they survived being turned down.

(Video) 10 Healthy Ways To Handle ANY Rejection

Then we asked students: How do you get over rejection? Below, we’ve rounded up some of their best advice for bouncing back after being told “no.”

Thank you to all those who joined the conversation on our writing prompts this week, including students from Crossroads High School; Los Gatos, Calif.; and Taiwan.

Please note: Student comments have been lightly edited for length, but otherwise appear as they were originally submitted.

The word “no” is not as brutal as it seems.

Life is full of rejection. Time and time again you will hear the brutal word “no.” But, it’s not as brutal as it seems. Although the word is associated with negativity, drawing the line between where you can and can’t do things, there is good in rejection. If you are only hearing the word “yes” in your life, you will never know where to draw the line. When everything goes your way, you have no sense between right and wrong. Rejection helps you reflect on the experience, giving you a chance to think about why the person said no and fix what, if anything, that you specifically did wrong … You can’t be hung up forever on some fantasy that won’t happen. Rejection is a part of life and we all have to learn to let go.

Isabella, Julia R. Masterman School

Remember, there’s more to you than just this rejection.

It’s really important to take a step back before you get so overwhelmed by rejection and remember that you have so many other things that make you special. Just as the article says, “You have to learn that you will survive and that there is a rainbow on the other side,” meaning there’s more to you than just this rejection. Being rejected can be so upsetting and can really affect the way you view yourself but making sure that you know your worth can go a long way.

Chloe, Hoggard High School in Wilmington, NC

A good, long cry can bring a sense of closure.

I have realized that the best way for me to get over rejection is to cry about it. While it may not help me achieve anything, I always feel a sense of closure after a good long cry. Crying is my form of catharsis. By embracing the sadness, I am acknowledging the rejection. If I had pretended nothing was wrong, my bottled up emotions would explode later. I don’t mind rejections as much as I used to. The rejections I have received have only made my successes more valuable.

Naomi, San Jose, CA

Remain calm and move on.

My strategy for dealing with rejection differs depending upon the situation. If I am rejected by a person, I move on pretty quickly. If I am rejected by a college then I usually get upset but move on quickly. If you remain calm and move on, then you do not end up breaking things, or hurting people. It also shows that you do not care as much as they might have thought that you had.

(Video) How to deal with rejection

Mina, Taiwan

Surround yourself with people who appreciate and accept you for who you are.

My advice to you is to distance yourself from those who reject you. It may be tough, especially if you consider them to be good friends. However, true friends will never reject you or make you feel isolated. Surround yourself with people who appreciate and accept you for who you are. Remember, you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

Bruna, Sant Gregori, Girona, Spain

Take time to process what happened and think about what you can learn from it.

Don’t try to push your emotions away or pretend they don’t exist. Take time to process what happened and how it makes you feel, but always look for the better or the lesson in things. Focus on the things you can control, things like your attitude and your actions. Think about all the things you can learn from this one lesson and don’t be hard on yourself. This is not a reflection of your worth as a person.

Joam, Minnesota

But if it’s too much to take, there’s no harm in a little escapism.

I am not good with rejection, not in the slightest. I cry easily and I revisit my mistakes over and over in my mind, so the days, weeks, maybe even months following any future rejection — be it from a college, a job, or even a relationship — would be filled with many tears. And books. My method of getting over rejection (or any other problem I may have) is to ignore it or run away. I jump headfirst into escapism, poring over novels and other pieces of literature until enough time has passed for a scab to form. If my life is too much for me to handle, why not live as someone else? Maybe it’s not the best or healthiest thing to do, but it works. The villain is always defeated. I can’t defeat rejection, but maybe this main character can.

Emily, California

Try to shift the narrative.

Sometimes, it feels as if rejections are personal attacks, when in reality, they aren’t. The rejections I have faced have stuck with me. I think of these negative moments, and feel anxious and overwhelmed immediately. I know that even the littlest moments, positive or negative, stick with me. It’s just the kind of person I am. I will remember every detail, and my brain will revisit those moments often. When I think of these past rejections, instead of looking at them in a negative light, I will shift the narrative. I will tell myself that these rejections don’t define us, and they are learning lessons to keep us growing and evolving.

Stella, Hoggard Wilmington NC

Or fall back on your faith.

I’m not gonna lie and say that I just easily accept rejection, because I don’t. I usually try to ignore it and let it creep up on me when I’m having a bad day. Recently though, I have started to look to religion when I’m letting any rejection sink in, including my own. I have started to think about what God would say if I let the world’s rejection get the best of me … his reassurance is all that I need …

Madelyn, Ellisville

Use rejection as an opportunity for self-reflection and redirection.

Rejection can be difficult to deal with but it is a natural part of life. The over-curation of life through social media has probably contributed to my generation’s decreased ability to deal with hard news. We have an excess of positivity, but it’s false positivity. I have learned to recognize that sometimes life does not work out, or people will not react the way we would like them to, or there are unplanned situations that will arise. I have developed the skills to deal with rejection and now I think of moments like those as opportunities instead for self-reflection and redirection.

(Video) If You've Ever Been Rejected - Then Watch This... | Russell Brand

Caden, Crossroads High School

Realize that it’s a normal part of life.

After dealing with quite a bit of rejection, I can be the first to tell you, it doesn’t get easier. While I know it’s never ideal, you have to just get over it and hope for the best the next time you try. I think some advice I wish someone had given me, before getting kicked out of my club volleyball team, was that there’s always going to be another chance. When it happened, I went home and practiced and practiced, and eventually I got onto my team again. It was hard to move past at first, but I’ve realized that rejection is just a part of life, and it will always, always get better.

Sarah, Marlborough School

Celebrate your losses with others.

The Rejection Party that Downtown Magnets High School has is a really good idea because it really helps students see that rejection is just opening another door for better opportunities. It’s not the end of the world if you get rejected from a college, in fact, it’s the universe telling you it’s not the right path. The rejection party also helps mentally as well. It steers students into a more positive light because it is likely that without the party, students will think bad about themselves and their self confidence stripped from them. I would love my school to have a rejection party because it would definitely help ease the hurt and pain of many students from being rejected.

IB, Hoggard High School Wilmington, NC

But if you don’t feel like sharing your rejection with the world, confide in the people closest to you.

I think that despite this party having ice cream and the shredding of acceptance letters, it provides opportunities for students to dwell on why they got rejected and may lead to doubt in their abilities and who they are as people. If I got rejected by my dream school and was encouraged to tell a bunch of people, I would probably be really embarrassed to share it and would probably feel shame for not getting accepted. Some things are better to keep to those people you are close to in your life, not feeling that you must tell the world in a way …

Kaelyn, Block 4, Hoggard High School

Consider that maybe a “no” is the universe’s way of saying there are better options for you.

Over the years, I have experienced rejection constantly. Growing up I have learned that not getting accepted into certain situations or relationships isn’t the end of the world. One of the more recent rejections I have come prepared for is going to be during the college recruiting process for sports, I have the athleticism as many people going to the schools I would like to go to, however I am much shorter than most of my competitors. This can make me seem not as valuable as my taller competition. Every time I have been rejected, I have always been under the idea that everything happens for a reason. So maybe rejections are actually just the universe’s way of saying that there are other better options for you.

Josh, Hinsdale, IL

Learn more about Current Events Conversation here and find all of our posts in this column.


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(Video) One Mindset to Conquer Rejection


Advice From Teenagers for Getting Over Rejection? ›

Trauma: Long-term rejection or rejection that results in extreme feelings may contribute to trauma and can have serious psychological consequences. For example, children who feel consistently rejected by their parents may find it difficult to succeed at school and in relationships with their peers.

How do I teach my child to deal with rejection? ›

How to Help Kids Deal With Rejection
  1. Comfort and validate their experience.
  2. Make failing safe.
  3. If you don't succeed, try again.
  4. Tie your children's value to their character, not their achievements.
  5. Take a back seat.
Mar 9, 2023

What are some strategies for overcoming rejection? ›

How to deal with rejection
  • Recognize that rejection is a part of life. Some things aren't meant to be. ...
  • Accept what happened. The worst way to cope with rejection is to deny it. ...
  • Process your emotions. ...
  • Treat yourself with compassion. ...
  • Stay healthy. ...
  • Don't allow rejection to define you. ...
  • Grow from the experience.
Dec 19, 2022

How do you get over rejection in high school? ›

Here are some things to consider:
  1. Recognizing rejection in your life. ...
  2. Learn from taking risks. ...
  3. Avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. ...
  4. Talk to other people about getting rejected. ...
  5. Take time to cool off. ...
  6. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions you feel. ...
  7. Surround yourself with supportive people.

How do you act mature after rejection? ›

If your fear of rejection is holding you back from doing the things you want to do, then you need to watch this.
  1. 1) Don't Insult Them. ...
  2. 2) Do Accept the Rejection. ...
  3. 3) Do Be Honest. ...
  4. 4) Don't Try to Change Their Mind. ...
  5. 5) Don't Rule Out Friendship. ...
  6. 6) Do Remember That They Don't Owe You Anything. ...
  7. 7) Don't Overthink It.
Feb 20, 2023

Can rejection as a child cause trauma? ›

Trauma: Long-term rejection or rejection that results in extreme feelings may contribute to trauma and can have serious psychological consequences. For example, children who feel consistently rejected by their parents may find it difficult to succeed at school and in relationships with their peers.

How do I help my child accept no? ›

No Means No: 7 Tips to Teach Your Child to Accept 'No' for an...
  1. Skip the Shouting Match With Your Child. ...
  2. Establish Your Authority Early On. ...
  3. Learn How to Handle Young Kids Who Get Overstimulated. ...
  4. Turn Around and Walk Away if Your Child Keeps Nagging. ...
  5. Explain the Rules to Your Child When Things are Calm.

How do you get mentally stronger after rejection? ›

7 Ways Mentally Strong People Bounce Back From Rejection
  • They Acknowledge Their Discomfort. ...
  • They Give Themselves A Reality Check. ...
  • They Celebrate Their Courage. ...
  • They Refuse To Allow Failure To Define Them. ...
  • They Practice Self-Compassion. ...
  • They Learn From Rejection. ...
  • They Move Forward With Confidence.
Jan 13, 2016

How do you reframe rejection? ›

The most important thing to remember is that you need to take time to acknowledge your feelings, and then get some distance from the situation in order to see things more objectively (not easy, but definitely doable). Taking a new perspective allows you to turn the rejection into an opportunity of learning.

How do you maintain confidence after rejection? ›

Here are 4 Ways to Rebuild Self-Confidence After Job Rejection
  1. 1) Separate the Strategy from the Situation. ...
  2. 2) Practice “Zeroing Out” Opportunities. ...
  3. 3) Give Yourself a Set Period of “Wallowing Time.” ...
  4. 4) Help Someone Else.

How do you fix rejection trauma? ›

How to Recover from Rejection
  1. Allow yourself to feel. Rather than suppressing all the emotions that come with rejection, allow yourself to feel and process them. ...
  2. Spend time with people who accept you. Surround yourself with people who love you and accept you. ...
  3. Practice self love and self care.
Nov 13, 2018

What does the Bible say about rejection? ›

We know that, now, nothing can separate us from the Father's love (Romans 8:38-39). Man's rejection is made so small in light of the truth that, through the gospel, we have God's eternal love and acceptance, unconditionally.

Why am I so hurt by rejection? ›

Why Rejections Hurt So Much. Researcher Naomi Eisenberg at UCLA discovered that social pain (such as being rejected and let down by others) and physical pain are felt in the same parts of the brain. In other words, the brain can't tell the difference between the pain of a breakup and the pain of a broken arm.

How long does it take the average person to get over rejection? ›

Most people start to feel better 11 weeks following rejection and report a sense of personal growth; similarly after divorce, partners start to feel better after months, not years. However, up to 15 percent of people suffer longer than three months (“It's Over,” Psychology Today, May-June, 2015).

What is cold mother syndrome? ›

Emotionally absent or cold mothers can be unresponsive to their children's needs. They may act distracted and uninterested during interactions, or they could actively reject any attempts of the child to get close. They may continue acting this way with adult children.

What are five possible Behavioural effects of rejection? ›

Social rejection increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness. It reduces performance on difficult intellectual tasks, and can also contribute to aggression and poor impulse control, as DeWall explains in a recent review (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2011).

What are signs of unhealed childhood trauma? ›

Signs of childhood trauma
  • Reliving the event (flashbacks or nightmares)
  • Avoidance.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Anger.
  • Problems with trust.
  • Self-destructive or risky behaviors.
  • Withdrawal.

How do you help a child who feels unloved? ›

Consider the following ideas to integrate into your regular routines to make your child feel loved and valued:
  1. Be attentive. Actively listen when your child wants to talk to you. ...
  2. Show affection. ...
  3. Provide genuine praise. ...
  4. Ask for help. ...
  5. Go for a drive. ...
  6. Create bedtime rituals. ...
  7. Enjoy family meals.
Oct 21, 2018

What happens to a child that is unloved? ›

Lack of trust

“Children who are not raised in safe, loving, respectful, and consistent environments tend to grow up feeling very unsafe and untrusting,” explains Manly. As a result, they tend to experience challenges trusting themselves and others throughout life.

When a child feels rejected? ›

Whether intentional or not, the effects of rejection in childhood may include fear of intimacy, distrust, anxiety and depression, and people-pleasing behaviors. Feelings of confusion and emotional pain from rejection may lead to attachment challenges, ineffective coping mechanisms, or an overall sense of loneliness.

What is rejection trauma? ›

Rejection trauma results from growing up in homes where we were rejected and often considered worthless and a waste of our parent's time. Perhaps we were told we were worthless, or our parents maltreated us using us for their own pleasure. The result of having no support and being rejected… February 14, 2022.

How do I let go of rejection sensitivity? ›

Acknowledging their work, acknowledging their positive efforts and rewarding activities really helps them feel more confident. It can also help them see things from a new perspective and shift from negative self-talk about rejection. This can encourage them to approach future situations bravely as well.

What triggers rejection? ›

Early experiences of rejection, neglect, and abuse may contribute to rejection sensitivity. 7 For example, being exposed to physical or emotional rejection by a parent may increase the likelihood that someone will develop rejection sensitivity.

How do you turn a rejection into a yes? ›

Here's how to turn a “no” into a “yes” in sales:
  1. Rephase your “yes” questions into “no” questions. Making more cold calls isn't the only way you can turn “no” into a yes. ...
  2. Use “nos” to build the relationship. ...
  3. Restate their answer. ...
  4. Ask follow-up questions to uncover the real objection. ...
  5. Disconnect from the outcome.
Oct 11, 2021

What are positive affirmations for rejection? ›

I trust the process and embrace my journey. Regardless of what I see right now in this present moment, I know that the best is yet to come. I celebrate each and every breakthrough right now. I look forward to looking back on this time with a heart full of gratitude and an eagerness for the things to come.

How do you treat rejection anxiety? ›

Psychotherapy (also known as mental health therapy) can help people with RSD. Therapy doesn't stop RSD from happening or affect the symptoms. Instead, therapy can help a person learn how to process and manage feelings so they're less overwhelming. That can help a person with RSD feel more in control of their emotions.

How do Christians overcome rejection? ›

What to Do Next
  1. Do not argue. Do not jeopardize your testimony (and potentially build barriers for other believers who may engage. ...
  2. Do not take their rejection personally. ...
  3. Continue to pray for their repentance. ...
  4. Continue to live out Christ-likeness and be available for future reference. ...
  5. End with a warning.
Jul 30, 2019

What is the Psalm for rejection? ›

Rejection stings. It can be embarrassing and, if it happens often enough, can lead to self-doubt. To be rejected is to be spurned, dismissed, turned down, rebuffed, or marginalized.

Why is rejection so powerful? ›

“The emotional response to rejection is huge, because it's one of our deepest human fears,” clinical hypnotherapist Marie Fraser tells Stylist. “Rejection can also mean 'change' and the brain does not like change because of the uncertainty this brings,” she adds.

What does rejection do to a woman? ›

Rejection can take a major toll on your self-esteem and often leads to deep emotional wounds and wounds in your spirit that open up doors that cause you to experience other negative emotions, including depression, fear, doubt, isolation, self-pity, suicidal thoughts, people pleasing, double-mindedness, eating disorders ...

Why do I feel angry over rejection? ›

When you are rejected, it can cause the same feeling as physical pain. This is because rejection activates the same areas of the brain as physical pain. Physical pain has been seen to provoke an anger response, for example, rats that were given an electric shock have gone on to randomly attack other rats.

How do you break the cycle of rejection? ›

Overcoming the cycle of rejection is about getting back to a place of empathy for your partner. When you understand the pattern that you find yourselves in, and what's behind your behaviour and your partner's, you can stop both the initiation and the rejection coming off as insensitive.

What changes after rejection? ›

Quite naturally rejection gives rise to emotions like sadness and self-doubt. Rejection can impact your sense of self-worth and get you to constantly think about what went wrong and how you could have salvaged the situation. This keeps the door wide open for depression and anxiety.

Why can't I get over rejection? ›

The same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. That's why even small rejections hurt more than we think they should, because they elicit literal (albeit, emotional) pain.

What is the psychology behind rejection? ›

Rejection piggybacks on physical pain pathways in the brain. fMRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. This is why rejection hurts so much (neurologically speaking).

What is the most common type of rejection? ›

Acute cellular rejection: This is the most common form of rejection and can happen at any time. About 15–25% of kidney transplant recipients have at least one mild to moderate episode of acute rejection within the first three months after transplant.

What causes child rejection? ›

Rejection trauma occurs in childhood and is an offshoot of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. When children are severely maltreated via abuse or neglect, they often respond in the only ways they know how.

What is rejection syndrome in kids? ›

People with RSD typically develop behaviors and mental health issues that stem from their fear of rejection. Children with ADHD and RSD also face potential problems with low self-esteem, fear of failure and severe social anxiety.

How do you help a child with rejection sensitive dysphoria? ›

How to Manage Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria
  1. Combat rejection by reinforcing strengths. ...
  2. QTIP – Quit Taking It Personally! ...
  3. Develop affirmations. ...
  4. Remember that all emotions are valid. ...
  5. Be prepared to handle outbursts. ...
  6. Emphasize family connection.
May 25, 2021

How can a teacher help improve behavior with rejected children? ›

Talk to them about their behavior and if necessary, move them to the front of the classroom so as to better monitor their negative behaviors. 4. Place the alienated student with a supportive and nurturing peer or peers for class activities. communicating negative feelings for a child in front of the class.

What are the two types of rejected children? ›

Recent research indicates two types of children who are rejected: Children who display disruptive and aggressive behavior, and children who are socially anxious and withdrawn.

Can rejection cause mental illness? ›

Social rejection increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness. It reduces performance on difficult intellectual tasks, and can also contribute to aggression and poor impulse control, as DeWall explains in a recent review (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2011).

When a child rejects a parent? ›

Definition of parental alienation. Parental alienation is a disturbance in which a child rejects a parent without good cause. The rejection can range from mild to severe. In mild alienation, a child may share a parent's litany of complaints about the other parent but warms to that parent when they are together.

What are the psychological effects of rejection by parents? ›

When a child perceives that their parent is rejecting or neglectful, it can lead to feelings of low self-worth, helplessness, and hopelessness. These negative emotions can persist into adulthood, contributing to the onset and persistence of depression.


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