On Dealing with Rejection

Jess Ann Kirby wears a printed red dress with sneakers for a cute and comfortable look while exploring the coast of Spain.

A few days ago I shared on Instagram that I was not chosen to be part of the SephoraSquad. It was sort of a long shot but I felt pretty confident because as part of my application, so many of you had written testimonials on my behalf, hundreds of you in fact. And I was really blown away by that. To think you would take time out of your day to write nice things about someone you’ve never even met in person, all to give them (me) a better shot at a collaboration with a brand like Sephora. Damn. So when I got the email saying I wasn’t chosen it stung a little bit more.

I wanted to share that I wasn’t picked, and that I was kinda bummed about it, because I realized in that moment, we never do that. Not just we (bloggers) but in general, how often do we talk about rejection? When we don’t get that job or promotion or second date. Maybe we share with our closest friends or family, but it’s not something that’s openly discussed. I mean I get it, rejection sucks. I am a pretty optimistic person, I tend to see the bright side of most situations, and I always look for a silver lining. But when I got that email on Friday, it felt a bit like a punch to the gut. I guess because I really believed I had a shot and pictured myself being chosen. I felt good about it, and so the news that I wasn’t picked was, quite frankly, a bummer.

Honestly, I’m fine and truthfully, already over it, but I spent pretty much of this past weekend thinking about rejection, how we deal with it, and why it seems like we never talk about it. It’s a pretty universal experience. I think we can all relate to being rejected at one point or another. If I had a nickel for every “no” I’ve experienced in my life, I could buy that farm with land I daydream about. I got so many messages from you guys after I posted about not being chosen, sharing your own stories of not getting the promotion, not getting that job, not making partner. We all agreed, it sucks, but all of us came out the other side feeling stronger in spite or because of it.

There’s really no road map to getting over rejection, it’s complicated. Sometimes that process is quick and relatively painless, other times it’s like a wound that just won’t heal. As I had some time to sit with my feelings, I thought about some of the things that help me cope with rejection, so here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Allow yourself to process emotions. There is power in letting yourself feel sad, disappointed, upset. We aren’t robots. We are human beings with complex lives, and feeling emotions is a part of that experience. There’s no need to shove it away or pretend it didn’t happen. In my experience, allowing the feelings to happen actually helps me process those emotions quicker and move on.
  2. Have perspective. Don’t make rejection all about you. It’s not. There’s always a variety of factors at play, some of which are beyond your control. At the same time, be honest with yourself. Is there room for improvement? Is there something you can do differently? Don’t beat yourself up and second guess yourself but use it as an opportunity for personal growth.
  3. Don’t be a victim. Sometimes it’s easy to sit with negative, angry thoughts. It’s easy to wallow in self-pity and blame anyone and everything else for our situation. But it’s totally counter-productive. That’s not going to get you anywhere. When you sit around being a victim, you give up your power and control over the situation.
  4. Use it as motivation. What’s better than turning a negative into a positive? Turning rejection into a better opportunity. I fully admit I love to prove people wrong, especially when it comes to their assumptions about me, or what I can accomplish.
  5. Focus on the good. Use it as an opportunity to be reminded of all the great things you have in your life already. Gratitude will take you far.

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens

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  1. briana wrote:

    You’re so right that this isn’t talked about enough. In fact, when I started reading this post, it was almost jarring (not in a bad way) because I’m so not used to bloggers/influencers being so open about what opportunities don’t work out for them. It’s so helpful to share our “failures” or rejections like this, I think, because, being an inevitable part of life, it is something that should be culturally normalized.

    I recently found a podcast called “How To Fail” where the host talks to all sorts of people about failure which is really cool and refreshing. But anyway, thank you for your vulnerability here 🙂

    briana | youngsophisticate.com

    4.2.19 | Reply
  2. Jen Pen wrote:

    So…. I have been following you for years. At first for the sole purpose that you posted with photography of Aquidneck Island. Once we moved here permanently two years ago, I still followed you. I have watched a metamorphosis in your blogging.
    Personally I love the change. So much more real content, much more thought provoking, and you are a strong writer- with insight. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share this with us all!
    Keep growing and sharing! I especially love all the local content that is seasonal. Strong work!

    4.2.19 | Reply
    • Maura wrote:

      Agreed! I’ve seen a big change for the better too. Jess is one of the few people I continue to follow. I have given up on most including some big names because they felt inauthentic and like one big ad. This is a place I can come to actually learn something. Keep it coming (:

      4.2.19 | Reply
  3. Isabel wrote:

    This post was such a delight to read. It’s so true that we don’t talk about rejection, to the point where I feel like sometimes people are uncomfortable even hearing/reading about it.
    I am changing jobs this spring, and let me tell you, there was a lot of rejection emails coming into my inbox. Since no one talks about it, I felt so alone and ashamed to discuss it with anyone, afraid I would be the only one this has happened to.

    I am looking forward to seeing your future posts.


    4.3.19 | Reply
  4. Lynn wrote:

    I felt disappointed that you were not picked for Sephora and I was struck as well by your honesty at the news. I think of you as so very good at everything you do and probably like so many of us find you so reachable and relatable for not actually meeting you in person. Whether it’s for that job or a relationship , rejection always can start out too soon and at such a young age these days. I remember for me it was the not ending by phone or letter of a serious 5 year relationship. Poof, he was gone. I cried a long time and wondered what was wrong with me. Today, I know it wasn’t about me. Was he fair? No. Did I take it well? No. That was the first of many rejections that I faced in life. This is life . This happens. We can take the time to process our disappointments and then learn from them to find other goals and things that make us happy. You are a winner to us Jess, in every way in my book. You have my vote❤️❤️

    4.3.19 | Reply
  5. snow rider wrote:

    Don’t stop learning and talking about your experiences. Seasonal, locally-produced material is my absolute favorite. That’s some excellent stuff you’ve done.

    2.2.23 | Reply
  6. dordle wrote:

    Thanks for giving me this information. What you’ve written on your blog is great. You wrote a very helpful and fun blog post that you let people read.

    7.18.23 | Reply

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