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The question is – ‘What’s a healthy way to navigate rejection?’

At some point everyone gets rejected. A client or business partner may suddenly stop working with you, a lover might end your relationship, or maybe a new acquaintance won’t accept your friend request. Some refusals we shake off easily, others can ruin a day, and then there are those that can haunt us for years if not put in the proper perspective.

How do we continue to put ourselves out there and not get wounded or jaded from feeling as if we’re brushed aside? Anger and revenge don’t solve anything. Those emotions simply perpetuate negative energy and hurt us again and again.

Freedom from rejection begins with realizing that fulfillment and happiness comes from within and not from the opinion and validation of others.

Not too long ago a successful actress I work with came in for a session and after a short while, she suddenly broke down sobbing. When I asked her why she was so upset she said – “Everyone hates me. ” This statement was made despite the fact that she has been working on great projects, made millions of dollars the year before, was on the covers of magazines and had tons of adoring fans. She had gone online and read some nonsense and decided to believe the negativity, all while ignoring the good things said about her.

She was lost. Running herself ragged, amped up on Red Bull, obsessing over results, outer successes and validation from others. She had even gotten her teeth fixed not because she wanted to, but because she had read on the internet that people didn’t like her teeth. She was far from the grounded, authentic girl I knew only a few years before. She had little self-love.

It’s important to remember that if we please everyone, we abandon our true selves.
@MichaelWoolson (Click to Tweet!)

What she really needed in my opinion was time away to think and get back in touch with herself, i.e. read a good book, hang with a close friend, go to yoga, write in a journal, volunteer, anything where she could treat herself with value.

Isn’t it true that we give people the power to shame or hurt us? Rejection itself is simply neutral. Think about it – if you look back, how many “negative rejections” turned out to be turning points that took us in a better direction? The truth is we’ve survived the past and are here and better because of all we’ve been through.

So the next time you get rejected, know that it could be just what you need.

Remember, external happiness from things that happen or don’t happen is only temporary. This can be hard to remember in a world that measures happiness in terms of shiny things and big bank accounts. Inner joy is much more important and it comes from treating yourself well and realizing that you’re whole and wonderful as you are. It’s important that we remind ourselves of this constantly.

Can we learn from rejection? Absolutely. Maybe the refusal was to show us that our approach was off or that we have more to learn in that area. Always ask yourself “What lesson can I take from all of this?” Often times there’s real wisdom that helps us become better human beings when the next opportunity comes along. Of course, there are many times when the rejection is not about you at all. This person is almost always dealing with their own fears and insecurities and are in fact rejecting a part of themselves through your situation. Try this – after you’re ‘rejected’, write down all of your great qualities. Remind yourself how the person rejecting you is missing out. Not in an egotistical manner, but in a nurturing way like a best friend would. Then ask yourself “How can I build my inner strength/self love?” Lastly, whenever possible forgive the person who rejected you and most importantly forgive yourself. People are only doing the best they can with the tools they have, so put it behind you. Yes sometimes you need to cry about it and let the pain happen in its varying degrees, but hopefully it doesn’t last too long.

If you’re facing rejection from a person you had a romantic relationship with, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. It happens to all of us at one time or another. The hard truth is that rejection is unavoidable and braving it is the price of admission if you want to have love in your life. If you’ve lost romantic love recently, allow yourself the time to mourn it and then do your best to move on. Don’t hold your breath and wait for that person to change their mind, or try to manipulate them into realizing how great you are. Doing so is an act of insecurity, and even if you’re temporarily ‘successful’, it’s not fully authentic and it doesn’t stick. After all, we’re more attractive when we put our energies into self-love and care.

Some people say that time heals all wounds. I’m not sure that I agree with that. Time is not responsible for our healing, we are.

We have to be dedicated to looking at our wounds, granting forgiveness and letting things go. One more thing, If you’re holding on to rejection and hurt, don’t be afraid to seek professional help there’s no shame in doing what you have to do to heal yourself.

Lastly in the words of Khalil Gibran “You are far greater than you know and all is well.”


Michael Woolson has become one of the most prominent and respected acting coaches in Los Angeles. He is recognized for his unique ability to cultivate depth and authenticity from his students in an environment that is nurturing and inspiring. Woolson has worked with thousands of actors from talented up-and-comers to award-winning celebrities. He is the author of The Work of an Actor and Emotion on Demand: An Actor’s Workbook for Mastering Emotional Triggers.

For more, follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter.