How to Deal with Rejection (as an Introvert)
Anyone who says they haven't ever been rejected before is a liar. Everyone, in one way or another, have dealt with the discomfort and pain of rejection. Everyone.
Or maybe I'm just saying this to make myself feel better. I like the thought of not suffering all by myself. Misery really loves company, huh?
But I think it's safe to assume that most of us have been there.
Rejected affections, rejected business proposals, and in my recent case, a rejected guest post submission. It's a bummer, but it's one of life's unfortunate details. One which we either embrace or allow to ruin our day.
So like any self-respecting introvert, I examined my feelings when I get rejected. I realized that being rejected and the idea of rejection itself is probably tougher on introverts than it is on extroverts.
I mean, look at me, my guest post got rejected and I'm here writing a pseudo-emotional post about it. That should tell you something.
Why Rejection Can Be Such a Big Deal to Introverts
Rumination is like solitude's lesser known cousin who only visits during the winter. I personally think that it has a positive definition. We are, after all, deep, quiet thinkers. But we have a tendency to go overboard when it comes to "thinking deeply about something," don't we?
Yours truly ruminates a lot, which kind of scares me because I've read somewhere that too much rumination can lead to depression.
So if a simple thing like a rejected guest post puts me in a ruminating mood, I can't help but think about other introverts who have to deal with heavier kinds of rejection and don't have any support system.
How do they cope? Do they have an outlet like I do? Are they OK?
The thought that there are introverts out there who probably feel many times worse than I did when I was freshly rejected is disheartening. Especially if there are people who would say things to belittle their feelings. "It's not a big deal. Get over it." (To which I'll respond, "I know. But I can't stop thinking about it!)
So this leads me to ask...
How can introverts effectively cope with the rejection?
I pose this question because I don't really know the straight answer myself, if ever there is one. As much as I love to read books by my favorite innie authors, cultivate self-awareness, and all that jazz, I still can't help but think deeply and ask myself all kinds of ego-deflating questions. My positive self-talk is kind of effective, but it comes later.
But thankfully, ever since I finally put a name on my personality, I realized that I do have ways of coping that work for me. These may not be the answers for all introverts but perhaps these could work for others as well, especially for innie freelancers and small business owners.
Here are five ways introverts can deal with rejection.
1. Express yourself.
I write about it and put it out there for all the world to see. Not everything, mind you.
You may not want to be as dramatic, but self-expression has always been touted as a form of therapy. Personally, letting people know how I feel, even if I don't see them, is release. After this, I'm pretty confident I can move on and try guest posting on other blogs.
2. Nurture a good support system.
I can depend on my family and friends to cheer me up. Although this doesn't work all the time because I tend to just keep things to myself, I take comfort in the fact that there's someone I can turn to.
It's even better when you don't have to say anything to communicate how you feel, like how mothers instinctively know something's wrong with their kids. Mine told me that she can pick up on my and my brothers' moods by looking at (a) our food intake and (b) how much fight we put into control of the TV remote when we're together.
The support system could also be online, which I think is easier for many introverts who prefer to remain private yet still connected. My online support systems includes a few writer groups with people who "know the feeling" and can actually give actionable advice.
3. Revisit past successes.
I was scheduled for a coaching session with a wonderful mentor the day I got the rejection email. I actually began talking to her just minutes after I read it. (By the way, this is proof that online support systems are great.) When I told her about it, she wisely advised me to "go and read again all emails that say your work is awesome."
Reminding myself that I'm not a total loser was just what I needed . I've successfully pitched other blogs before. And I've also been rejected before. I got over it. So yeah, this too shall pass.
4. Remind yourself that not everything is a crisis.
It is so easy to look at everything in a bad light, especially if you've been dealt with one bad card after another.
For a long time, it was difficult to make ends meet. When things got better, it took me a while to realize how deep in survival mode I was. I was always ready to either fight or panic.
When I finally noticed this about me, it was almost like a weight off my shoulders.
But (note to self) not everything is a crisis. Not everyone is out to get you.
Rejections are not personal attacks. They're just a part of life.
5. Move on to the next.
It's cliche but I realized that one of the best ways to get over rejection is to just move on to the next challenge. Famous people failed before they succeeded. And although I have no intention of being famous, I want to succeed by being excellent at what I do.
This is where my introvert traits come in handy. My rumination can also have fruitful results when I don't get too much into it. I came up with this post, didn't I? And now I'm more determined to go on a pitching spree for my virtual assistant services.
How do you cope with rejection?
Whether you're an introvert or not, I'd like to hear your own stories of rejection and pieces of advice for us who need it.
Share your stories by commenting below and spread the word about this post if you think it can help a friend. I'd appreciate it.