‘Emotional gut punch’: How to cope with rejection

Rejection can be tough to take – but as Jo Stanley discovers, sometimes the biggest successes come after failure.

Whether it’s missing out on the track team, having your heart broken or being fired from a job, everyone feels the pain of rejection at some point.

Jo Stanley describes being fired as an “emotional gut punch”.

“I know because I’ve experienced it; you feel like a complete loser,” she says.

“But I found out it doesn’t need to be so traumatic.

“It is pretty painful and you have to work through a lot of things. While you know you’re going to be fine at the other end, just for a little while you need to wallow.”

It’s OK to feel devastated by rejection

Clinical psychologist Brett Fernandez says rejection is a form of abandonment or neglect that is known to be more damaging than acute abuse.

But it’s important we let ourselves “feel what we are feeling”.

“That in itself is what we need to work with,” Brett says.

“Nothing ever good in life comes from everything being rosy. Sure your boss might have told you this and your Tinder date might not have liked you.

“Whatever it is, you have a chance to look at yourself and think, ‘OK, what can I do here, how can I do things better?’”

rejection work

It’s how we handle rejection that counts

“We can let it defeat us or we can see it as a great opportunity. Some of the world’s most successful people have been rejected,” says Jo.

“Elvis Presley was told to go away and learn to drive a truck.

“JK Rowling had 12 publishers reject her with Harry Potter and Oprah Winfrey was told she’s too emotionally connected to her stories to be a journalist.”

Author and speaker Jane Turner is another person who has bounced back from rejection.

After being retrenched from her public service job aged 52, she’s now an author of two books on overcoming adversity and sought-after corporate speaker, and and says she’s never been busier or happier.

“Once I picked my heart off the ground and put it back into my chest I thought, ‘I can’t take this any more, I’m going to find what I can do, leverage that to build a business and see what happens’,” she says.

Give yourself time to get over it.

Jo reminds us to take time to get back on our feet.

“It took Jane three years and there’s no right time. The process will happen and it’s important to embrace all stages. You can take control and it can be an exciting time of new beginnings,” she says.

Catch up on the full episode of The House of Wellness TV show to see more from Zoe, Ed, and the team.