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4 Ways to Handle Rejection When You Live With Anxiety and Depression

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Rejections are difficult for most people. It can come in and mess up your viewpoint on your life and self-worth. But when you have anxiety and depression, rejection can come down a little bit harder. It can set you back a little bit more. Dig the hole you are already in a little bit deeper. It tears at the little bit of self-worth you were able to build before.

I was rejected from a job. I tried not to get my hopes up, but I did. I thought I was a perfect fit for the job, but I guess I wasn’t. They found someone better. It felt, well, it felt amazingly awful. This isn’t the first time I had to handle rejection, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It always seems to knock me down, and it seems just a tiny bit harder to pick myself back up each time. I’m starting to develop a process and some reminders to keep me moving forward in times of rejection. To help me build myself up stronger next time.

This “how-to” obviously isn’t fool proof. This is what works for me… most of the time. Some rejections are a little harder to recover from.

1. Allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel.

I’m a big believer in feeling whatever you need to feel. Not letting yourself hold it in and concave on yourself. Allow yourself to feel sad, angry, scared, frustrated or whatever else you may be feeling. Recognize it and be with it. Let yourself be in the hole — just for a tiny bit. Just feel it and be OK with whatever you are feeling.

2. Do your best not to jump to the worst possible conclusion.

When I get rejected from anything, my mind automatically goes to “what did I do to deserve this? What is wrong with me?” Those thoughts are self-sabotaging. They don’t serve any purpose but beating yourself up more. This is my weakness area. I am self-centered but self-loathing. I let myself think those thoughts for a second because it comes naturally, but then I take a step back. What else could be the reason I was rejected? If you have a difficult time with this — ask others. What are their experiences? Or put yourself in the rejector’s shoes or think back to a time you have been the rejector. Was it always because of the other person? Or were there other circumstances going into it?

For example, take a rejection from a romantic partner. You have been dating for about two months, and they say they started dating someone else and they want to be exclusive with them. Well, that wouldn’t feel great. Your mind might start thinking, “What’s wrong with me that they do not like me?” It’s so easy to go to that mind space. Maybe this other person lives closer, they have more things in common, maybe the guy likes this other girl better because she likes reading Stephen King, or whatever other reason. This does not mean there is something wrong with you. You just may not have vibed with this guy as much as you thought. The fact that you do not like Stephen King or you live where you live doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you — maybe you just weren’t a great match, and that’s OK… which leads me to my next tip.

3. Do your best to believe there is something better waiting for you.

I have tried my best to trust my life. I try to believe if I was rejected by something then maybe that isn’t the right path for me. Or if I think it is, then I take it as a sign to push a little harder. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with what you got rejected from; you’re just heading down a different path. Sometimes I’m all talk with this. I find this so hard to believe. My anxiety starts whispering stuff like, “What if you never get another job?” or “You’re going to end up living with your parents forever and alone.” Those thoughts are difficult to hear and difficult to push away at times. I try to replace them with thoughts like, “There is something else out there for me,” “I can’t give up just yet,” or “This wasn’t my right path.” Wording like that works for me — but you can find something that works for you. It’s all about replacing the negative thoughts with something positive. Forcing yourself to have hope that something more is out there. You shouldn’t want something or someone who doesn’t want you. Find your better match.

4. Never give up.

I can’t count the number of times I wanted to waste away in my bed after rejection. How I let a piece of my self-worth slip away due to this one event. There have been so many times I thought of moving away and doing some menial job just moseying through life. I know it’s not really what I want — I want so much more. But, I get scared when I get rejected that maybe I can’t do it so if I give up now that means I won’t be able to get rejected again. It’s safer but not the way I really want to live, though my anxiety and depression tell me it is sometimes. I always end up moving forward and to keep going after life. It’s difficult not giving up at times. To not feel like a failure and wonder what the point is. By giving up, you could be cheating yourself of something better down the road. Never give up on yourself or whatever it is you are chasing after (love, job, trip, opportunity, etc.).

Rejection is never easy. It’s a serious blow. It’s never an end all — though it may seem like it is sometimes. Anxiety and depression will try to convince you it is the end. Don’t let them. You and I are worth more than we know, so we should keep going.

Unsplash photo via Averie Woodard

Originally published: March 1, 2018
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