Updated: Apr 15
We've all been there; we check the list, scan down (and do it again because we want to make sure), and sure enough, our names aren't written there. Rejection hurts a lot, especially if it was something you were looking forward to. You feel like running out the door screaming because you feel so awful. You get thoughts like, "I knew I wasn't good enough." You ponder if you did something else, the outcome would have possibly changed.
"Rejection destabilizes our 'Need to Belong,'" says Guy Winch of Psychology Today. Disconnection with others is the main factor behind why it's just such a horrible feeling when you get rejected. Although today your hopes are crushed—you didn't get the girl, you didn't make the cast list, you didn't win the class officer election—soon, you'll think back to how you're feeling right now and feel glad it happened.
When we get physically injured, our first instinct is to ask for help. Why isn't that reaction the same for getting mentally injured? This is further questioned by how you perceive pain, both physically and mentally. The brain treats rejection similarly to pain felt by getting punched or a paper cut; the brain sends signals "that something is wrong" no matter how the pain is felt, according to NBC News' Sarah DiGiullo. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Tell your friends and family how you feel, don't underplay your emotions to others. Big or small, your mental health is important to maintain.
Now, you talked about your feelings. If you feel better, feel free to stop reading here! If the rejection pangs still haven't stopped rolling, what might help you is something I came up with: The Alternatives List. If you got rejected from joining something, whether it be a team or a show, think about what you were looking forward to if you were going to be a part of it. Then, come up with alternatives you can turn to so you can still go through what you wanted to experience. For instance, if you got rejected from that basketball team, you might have been looking forward to being a part of a team. There are plenty of alternatives to that! Join an after-school club during the times you would have been practicing basketball at school, you'll feel you're a part of a group by spending time with other club members.
So you thought of solutions to what you'll miss out on. If you are over the rejection, congratulations! If you're not, that's okay too! As the saying goes, "Time heals all wounds." What you're feeling is perfectly normal. If your crush said they already had someone they were going to the dance with, no one's going to judge! You went out of your comfort zone, you took a risk. Even if it didn't work out, the fact that you tried makes all the difference. It'll be easier to face the world when you already experienced rejection. When you ask out the next person, you'll already understand how it's going to sting if they say no. If you keep taking risks just like you did right now, it will eventually pay off. Maybe right now you want to crawl into a ditch and cry, but soon enough, you'll get what you're looking for if you keep doing what you're doing. Good luck out there!