The Sting of Rejection & how to transcend it
March 11, 2016
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Ah yes, rejection. It starts early in life, but no one actually tells us how to deal with it. In our early lives our caretakers may try to shield us from it, but they never actually tell us how to get past it. It is the kind of thing that we learn as we go along, stumbling and getting up, but mostly, avoiding it. Nobody enjoys rejection. There is a unique sting to it that reverberates throughout the body, like a punch in the chest. It shakes us to the core, sometimes even leaving with physical pain in the chest. It haunts us, ringing us to shame (like that scene on Cersei’s atonement in Game of Thrones!).


Rejection follows us around like a shadow.

Rejection is painful and pain has a way of grounding us back into our humanity. It reminds us of our vulnerabilities, our fragile egos, our insecurities, doubts and the fears that run deep within us. It awakens our survival instinct – the need to preserve ourselves not only physically, but also to preserve our dignity. It isn’t so much the rejection itself as the feelings of doubt and humiliation that follow. It’s like sitting on the high table and then being asked to step down for someone more worthy. When faced with rejection, it is easy to feel deflated and think, “Maybe I’m not all that.” You are all that and more. The truth is, you are going to be rejected more times than you can count in your lifetime. Friends will reject you; a love interest will reject you; a company will fail to pick you after a great interview; banks will decline your loan requests for a business you are sure is a goldmine and investors will reject your million dollar idea. There’s one thing, (and possibly the only thing) you need to know about rejection.

Your value does not decrease based on someone else’s inability to see your worth.


This may sound wild, but rejection is actually a positive thing. It is just a form of pain that reminds you who you really are. Ponder this. If you put your fingers on a hot dish you will burn. The hot dish has rejected you. By pure reflex, you will withdraw your fingers from the hot dish. The pain reminds you that you are in fact a human being and are not made of metal. Imagine what would happen if the hot dish did not reject you – you would burn your fingers to a crisp! Rejection, like nerves is a necessary evil. It is also a double edged sword. The same way nerves detect both pain and pleasure is the same way rejection steers us away from the wrong path into the right direction.

When you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to see the positive side of something that has aroused this upheaval in your psyche. For mentally strong people, it is easier to rely on logic, and resist the emotional inertia that keeps us on the path of resistance to life, by continually fantasizing about what might have been. For the not so strong ones, every rejection can be an opportunity to build on this strength.

Unless you’re bottling up your feelings, the sting of rejection takes time to transcend, and over time, you will find that the places where you were rejected were probably not a good fit for you. Even if they were, there was probably something bigger and better ahead, waiting for you. You have your own unique path to take and some of those things just aren’t on your path. If you listen to the voice inside you, your gut, your intuition, your sixth sense, if you become attuned to your soul’s needs, you will always know what is for you and what isn’t.

Tap into the power of positive affirmations during times of wavering, when you’re tempted to go back into a situation that’s bad for you. Remind yourself that you deserve dignity, respect and someone/something that is worthy of you and all that you can be. Stay hopeful for something better ahead. Changes are often challenging to make so don’t worry if you trip up sometimes. We’ve all given in to that misleading urge to check out what got away from us – who they chose instead of us – and for a while it can be gratifying if we find that they’re not doing so well without us. But that is not the path to your higher self; it is ephemeral, a deceptive and unhealthy loop that will lead you back to that same place. Seek, instead, the finality and certainty of transcendence, the true purging of those negative emotions from your spirit.  Choose your higher self.

I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want me.

Oprah Winfrey



About author

Wanjiru Ndung'u

Wanjiru Ndung'u writes fiction, poetry and essays. She is an irretrievable night owl, tea-lover and cat mom. She enjoys books, alternative music, movies and streaming shows.

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