Should rejection honestly hurt?

The feeling of rejection is one that bites. Imagine liking someone, and you make your intention known, but the person turns you down. Or even just extending a hand of friendship, but no they are not interested. Or perhaps it’s in business, in networking for that next career move, but no, they do not give you a chance.

I am of the opinion that if I am rejected, it is either:

1. A reflection on me – there is something I am doing or not doing that is the cause for this rejection

2. A reflection on the other person/party – perhaps they have their reasons/issues they are dealing with that causes them to reject me.

3. Timing is all wrong. It just isn’t the right time.

I believe that as much as being rejected hurts, one can approach the aftermath from a practical and logical point of view.

The last time I felt rejected was when I reached out to someone both professionally and socially, and on both counts, it was a no, no.

From that rejection, I had two options, it was either I allowed the feeling of rejection to overwhelm me thereby knocking every ounce of self-belief and confidence in myself, retreat and decide never to reach out to anyone again.

Or I can evaluate the situation logically and practically and use it to gain a better understanding of myself or the situation.

The thing with building self-confidence is that to be confident in an area; you have to actively engage in whatever it is you are trying to become more confident in, until you become better at it, therefore going up a notch on the confidence level. As you get better and see results, your confidence level increases.

So for example, say I want to become better at public speaking and overcome my fear of public speaking. Until I get out there and do it, and possibly repeat it a few times and seeing that the responses or feedback I get is positive, my confidence level will remain low. However, if I kept doing it and got better each time, my confidence level will shoot up. Practise does make better.

I want to propose that dealing with rejection – the feeling or fear of – can be considered the same way as with developing self-confidence.

If I want to be great at public speaking, I consider what it takes to be an excellent public speaker and do it, practise and repeat.

Therefore if I want to get better at dealing with and handling rejection, improve my chances of getting better at not being rejected, why can’t I consider, evaluate, what it takes NOT to be? In other words, why can’t I think is it me? Is there something I am doing or not doing that is resulting in the rejection? If so, what can I do about it?

What I mean is not introspection that sends one into the ‘I hate myself’ mode, ‘There’s something wrong with me’ mode, ‘I am not good enough’ mode.

Naturally, based on sentiments it’s so easy to travel that road. However, I am referring here to a critical and practical evaluation. One that comes with accepting that rejection no matter how painful or hurtful it can be, it is a part of life, and just as we are sometimes rejected no matter in what area of life, we also reject others.

Or have you forgotten you do the same? The last time you rejected someone, anyone, what was your reason? And how do you think they might have felt? It’s worth considering uh? When we think about it this way, isn’t it harder to take rejection so personally?

We reject people for different reasons:

1. In the past, I had refused to employ someone, though they ticked all the boxes at the interview because they came across as too arrogant. Whether justified or not, for them the lack of a job offer was still a rejection – something they would have had to deal with either negatively or positively, depending on their outlook.

2. I have rejected a friendship because I felt the other person did not match up to what I wanted at the time. That didn’t mean there is specifically something wrong with the person (of course there isn’t) it just suggests that what I wanted was different. That is on me, not on them.

Should the person become something she is not to gain my friendship? No, absolutely not!!!

That relationship will not last because it is impossible to thrive in an identity that is not yours. You cannot embody a ‘character’ that is not yours because the real you will CRY out sooner or later.

We can’t make ourselves miserable just because we want to gain someone’s affection, love, care, and concerns.

Likewise, we can’t compromise our values and principles in business just because we want that partnership, that synergy. It’s a sign up to the loss of peace because, in the long haul, your internal compass will always hold you accountable. Your conscience will prick you against the injustice you have done to yourself because your true nature demands WHY?

3. I have rejected others in the past for no good apparent reasons, except for my insecurities and anxieties. For example, due to my lack of belief in myself, I rejected the person because I couldn’t see why this person would want to associate with me. I thought, what do I have to offer? Nothing. So as a result, I pushed them far away because I couldn’t conceive what they wanted because I didn’t feel I had it therefore not trusting their intentions.

Not too long ago, I read a book that talked about how rejection links to our childhood experience etc.

Now I could not remember as far as being a kid and being rejected in any particular way, but I do remember some rejections I experienced as a teenager that I dare say affected me and possibly in some areas impact on the way I do things.

Now what is great about being practically reflective about rejections you experience is that it helps you to put things into perspective, and if there is an area of development for yourself, you identify it and work towards it.

Working towards it to become a better and improved you, not working towards it to gain others’ validation. There is a difference.

When I’m working to improve me, I’m doing so for me, to be the best version of me, to be who I want to be. I want to be better at public speaking, so I go out and do what it takes. It isn’t so that someone can approve me as worthy. So ‘Abi you are a good public speaker now, well done, now we can be friends, you have earned my association.’

Now if I did it for them and tomorrow, they decide they don’t want someone who is a great public speaker but someone who can a host a live TV talk show, then what becomes of me? Is that who I am, what I want to be?

I want to bring something out here; it is possible that in the process of self-improvement and being the best you, those that once rejected you would now begin to seek after you. It’s the irony of life.

What’s important to remember is:

1.  If I am rejected today, it does not mean I would be tomorrow.

2. Rejection can be a tool I can use for developing more and being better

3. Sometimes, being rejected is not on me. But I need to evaluate that realistically and honestly and see if it’s me or not, without being unnecessarily self-judgemental and harsh.

4. Not everyone will like you or want you. It’s just one of those things in life we have to accept. Some you love may not love you in return. Those you want to connect or associate with may not want the same with you, no matter at what level. Focus on those who love you and those willing to give their time to you.

5. Address issues that may make dealing with rejection difficult for you. Go back to the roots of the problem even If from childhood and address them. Sometimes knowing the source helps us to resolve our issues better and quicker.

6. Don’t live in denial about how you feel, e.g. I feel rejected. Accept it so you can heal.

7. Last but not least, know you are not alone. Everyone everywhere experiences rejection; rejected by someone, some people, an organisation, a group, the state. It is common to ALL. Therefore, if the rest of the world is thriving, so can YOU! Don’t let the feeling or fear of rejection ruin you or your life. Keep going no matter what!

Thank you for reading.

Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below or sending me an email at

Have a great day!


  • Ify

    12/11/2018 at 10:51 am

    Well done Aby! thought provoking.

    Also for those who believe in divine work, sometimes rejection may be a way of God ensuring that you do not fall into the wrong hands and deter your destiny. In applying all the was said, remember to search for your inner peace in dealing with rejection.


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