Ask Abby: You can’t always get what you want — and that’s a good thing!

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ABIGAIL PLUFF | OPINION COLUMNIST | apluff@butler.edu

Full disclosure: I am not a licensed therapist. Honestly, I am not licensed in anything whatsoever. I’m just a gal with lots of opinions who enjoys giving unsolicited advice to almost anyone around me. So, if this is adverse advice, you can’t sue me or my place of work. Sorry!

“I just got turned down for a position that I really wanted and I feel kind of awful about myself. Any ideas on how to push through?” -Loyal Reader

Ah, sweet, sweet rejection. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I haven’t gotten what I wanted. Whether that’s a job, a grade or, most importantly, a cat, every time I’m told no it feels the same.

It starts with the disappointment, which often manifests itself as misplaced anger — I didn’t want that stupid  insert-wanted-thing-here anyway!

Then, I get sad and begin to take the rejection personally. I start to wonder what I don’t have that someone else does. I begin to minimize  my own value.

At this point it is important to remind myself to change my own internal dialogue, as hard as it may seem. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of talking down to myself, but I have to remember that the only person who can take away my self esteem is me.

Instead of negative self-talk, it is much healthier to refuse to take the rejection personally. And honestly, 98% of the time that’s the truth anyway. Just because you didn’t receive what you wanted doesn’t mean anyone thinks anything bad about you.

Things just didn’t work out in your favor this time. Sometimes, things just happen. Someone else more qualified comes along, or your personality doesn’t exactly match the environment you would have been in. It’s simply out of your control.

My favorite tip for dealing with rejection of any kind is to give yourself a month’s break from thinking about the rejection and the rejector. One month later, think about where you would be if you had gotten what you originally thought you wanted.

It may still sting, but time gives you distance to think more logically, and therefore less personally, about things. You’ll be able to see the whole picture of your life, rather than being swallowed whole by the word ‘no.’

This will also be more clear: being rejected from one thing opens you up to do more in other areas of your life. You can fully devote yourself to something you already love, or have time to take on something that will be perfect for you.

I know it’s cliche, but it’s really as your grandmother says: one door closes and at least thirty other freaking amazing ones will swing open.

Chances are, being rejected is the best thing that could have happened to you. You had time to grow, to take on new challenges and to spend time working with your passions.

Heck, you may have even dodged a bullet.

You’ll get what you need in life with time. And, believe it or not, what you need is often the exact opposite of what you were aiming for in the first place.

Rejection isn’t always a bad thing, even though it does suck big-time.

You are valuable, valid and loved, even in the face of rejection,

Abby

If you have a question that you’d like to see discussed in Ask Abby, feel free to contact me via email, carrier pigeon or telepathy. 

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