What I’ll Tell Sweet E: How to Overcome Rejection

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Dear Sweet E, my very first post to you was What I Will Tell Sweet E: Dig Yourself.

Today’s post about overcoming rejection ties into the notion of digging yourself by knowing who you are and what you want from this life.

Rejection stings, my sweet boy; you’ll never get used to it when it happens to you.  The good news is that you can learn from it; you can overcome rejection.


I could list, nay catalog, my vast book of rejections, but that wouldn’t do you any good, especially if the rejection you’re facing is deeply personal (and when aren’t they?).

What I’ll do instead is offer a way to navigate, once the slap of rejection finds you.

For me, rejection is one of the most difficult obstacles to traverse in this life, yet has served to push me to succeed in the face of doubt. Tell me no, tell me I’m crazy, tell me I’ll fail and you better prepare yourself to be wrong.

I’m a stubborn and determined woman.

Rejection demands we give up, do what is comfortable, conform, and pay attention to that which makes us blend in instead of stand out.

Rejection from the world can be tough, but tougher still is when someone you know or love is the one doing the rejecting.

In those instances, I try to keep this in mind: when those we know or love reject us (or our ideas), when those we don’t know or love reject us (or our ideas), it isn’t so much a reflection on us (or our ideas), but on them and what they can tolerate as truth. Their rejection of us (or our ideas) is simply fear.

Overcoming Rejection

Yet, when one you love rejects you, it can be devastating; this I know from experience.

We trust those we love.  Period.

~ We trust they’ll tell us truths that are hard for us to see.

~ We trust they’ll have our very best interests at heart.

~ We trust that whatever they tell us, they’ll have considered carefully, and are offering their words in love.

~ We simply trust.  Period.

When you are slapped with rejection, from one you love, your first inclination is to believe their rejection.  You must have brought it on yourself.  They must be right.  You must be in the wrong.  The sooner you accept the rejection, the sooner you can move through it.  Right?


…they are wrong.

My sweet little man, I offer you my road map to overcoming rejection from anyone.

Deal with the Initial Blast

This is the very first step.  When someone tells you they reject x, y or z about you (or your ideas), you’ll need to take a hot minute to deal with your feelings about said rejection. Maybe you’re surprised or shocked or just plain pissed.

It’s important that you allow yourself to go with whatever you’re feeling.  Maybe find a quiet spot and feeeel ALL THE THINGS.

Some folks cry.  Some want to kick furniture.  Some sit quietly and think.

I know a good cursing out, to no one in particular, in a closed-off room does wonders for your Choochie.

Immature?  Possibly.  But, it allows me to vent privately without lashing out in anger and making matters worse. Even when I don’t care (in that moment) about making matter worse.

Talk to a Trusted Friend or Family Member

After you have taken time to CALM DOWN! it’s time to sort things out with someone who not only knows you well, but can tell you if the rejection was warranted or not.  Cause, hey, there’s always the chance you’re the problem.  WHAT?!  It’s true.

Try to give a factual, rather than emotional, account of the rejection, then listen to your counsel.

Do not try to sway them, or try to garner sympathy.  Just the facts, ma’am, um, sir.  This will be helpful in two ways:

#1: If there was no provocation on your part, your counsel will see that and automatically be sympathetic to your pain.

#2: If there was provocation on your part, your counsel will be able to advise you to STOP IT, if indeed you have picked wise counsel.

Do NOT, Under Any Circumstances, Take the Rejection Personally.

This step took me some time to learn.  I would get rejected, and BOOM! I instantly tried to decode the whys and the how-the-hells of the situation.

Instead of wasting my time trying to get in the mind of others, I should have looked at the rejection without emotion and asked myself if it was warranted.  (see steps above)

People reject others for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with you personally.  Some of those reasons are due to things you have no control over, like religious beliefs, or simply because someone’s a douche. (yes, grandmothers know/use this word).

If you are grounded in your convictions, then convictions of others are less painful.  If you aren’t, then rejection is gonna kick your ass all over town.

Sometimes Rejection is Temporary

How many times have I been rejected for an idea or as a person, only to be accepted later?  So.  Many.  Times.

You may not know this about your Choochie, but my very best friend in life hated my guts (and I his) when we first met.  Rejection all over the joint!  Yet, as time passed, we softened to the other until we created a bond that was unbreakable until the day he died.

Sometimes you’ll be rejected and it will be temporary.  The key here will be patience and an open heart to change.

Sometimes Rejection is Permanent

I’ve seen lots of people think that they are entitled to whatever they want whenever they want it.  Um, no.

I reject that premise all day long, every day from now until infinity.

Don’t be that person that pushes against rejection to get what they want regardless of what others want or need.  If you are faced with a negative, a permanent rejection with no hope of changing anyone’s mind, take the time to understand it.  Then, use the negative as fuel for the positive.  T

ry to do that instead of holding on to anger or disappointment.  When done right, it’s like having a super power.  POW! WHAM! BANG!

Use Rejection as a Tool for Growth

No one likes or wants to be rejected, even if it means we’ll gain from the experience later.  Growth and change are hard, yo.  Yet, if we are faced with rejection, and we’ve taken steps to not take it personally, we can grow from the initial trauma.

Try these steps:

#1: Expect rejection.  That’s right, understand everyone gets rejected; no one escapes.  Knowing every single soul you’ll ever encounter has been rejected or will be rejected takes the sting out a little, right?  Dang, you’re not so special now, are you?  (don’t worry, baby.  you’ll always be extra special to me.)

#2: Learn from the rejection.  If it’s valid, figure out ways to do things differently.  Grow from your mistakes and missteps.

If it’s not valid, see the above “Do NOT, Under Any Circumstances, Take the Rejection Personally.”  This part is the hardest to do when the rejection comes from someone you love and respect, but is still doable and necessary.

Above all, check yourself, meaning look inward and see if the rejection stems from you.  If so, adjust adjust adjust.

“There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.” – James Lee Burke

Once you have thoroughly managed these steps, there’s one last thing to do:

#3: Let it go.  In other words, stop dwelling on the reasons why. Even if the rejecting party gives you reasons for the rejection, those reasons, their reasons, will never make the rejection easier to take.

Let it go.

Move forward.

Sweet E, getting rejected can be a badge of honor.  People have a hard time seeing or believing anything that makes them look past their safe harbors.

Getting rejected simply means honing what it is you believe regardless of the noise of the world.  It’s an opportunity for growth and success.

Take the time you need to grieve a rejection, to rail against a rejection, to understand a rejection, then leave behind the injury, while gathering the strength of the experience, as you forge the work of your life.

That, my Sweet E,  is how you overcome rejection.

Onward, baby.




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  1. Onward indeed. It can be so hard to let go of those past rejections and the feelings that tend to linger. But, you’re right, you’ve got to let it go because so often it isn’t about you, it’s about the other person and their feelings and perceptions. Great advice!

  2. Rejection sucks be we all suffer some kind of rejection in our lives it is part of life it is how we deal with it and how we move on that says a lot about us

  3. Wonderful. Every word.

  4. Excellent advice, as always! And don’t forget, the “rejector” is human too – subject to errors in judgment, lack of correct information, and sometimes careless presentation of the criticism.
    But I like “not taking rejection personally” the best. The thing that helped me the most when I was a young high school teacher was the principal’s advice to not take students’ bad behavior personally. They are teenagers! What a tremendous boost to my self confidence that was!

    • Joyce, thank you. You are right about all of us being human and subject to goofs. As I have moved through life, I have found that not taking rejection personally has served me well. And what a great principal you had.

  5. Such great advice!

    I like that you acknowledged that we tend to trust those close to us, but they may not, for one reason or another, be right in what they say or how they say it.

    I tell my kids that if someone yelled or spoke angrily to them to mentally turn down the emotional volume and try to hear the concerns in the words. What is the other person really trying to say? Is there any valid nugget in it? Then calmly respond to and work with that, and fluff off the rest.

    I also think your point is good that if someone is going to continue rejecting you, don’t keep trying to cling on to the relationship.

    • Rejection is so hard, especially from those we trust, but you’re right in that we should try to discover if any of the rejection is valid. If not, in the words of Taylor Swift: Shake it off…Shake it off! Thanks for the thoughts, Virginia.

  6. Such a great post. I hope I am able to deal with rejecting when it strikes (again!) with dignity and strength. i will probably play Swift’s song and dance to it just to re-inforce the thoughts 😀


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