The Five Stages of Grief: How to Get Over Rejection

Rejection is a horrible feeling. We all get our heart-broken once, and for those who haven't had their heart broken, be warned it will happen one day. Rejection can come in many forms: breaking up with your boyfriend/girlfriend, being turned down by by the guy/girl you like, even not being accepted into your preferred college or job. Just like grief, you're dealing with the loss of losing a life: just your imagined life where everything goes your way. But not everything goes your way. Sorry; that's life. When dealing with rejection we go through the 'Five Stages of Grief'. It can take weeks, months, or even just a night out with your friends on the town to get over and accept your rejection. Everyone is different. But the feeling doesn't last and you'll be out living it large in no time.

1. Denial.

You can't accept life as it is right now. You keep imagining scenarios where everything will work out. Even if the person gave you a firm no and has left you as you were. For college rejections this usually manifests itself with you calling up the admissions office and informing them they must have made some mistake. Nothing else makes sense. For recent break ups or romantic rejections, this is the time when you would text and call them incessantly. Even though everyone around you is telling you that its a bad idea, alcohol and a broken heart often steer you in a different direction. Or denial shows itself with you pretending that you're not bothered by it in the slightest. You choose to go out and get absolutely plastered with your mates. You didn't care in the first place.

2. Anger.

At your ex, the person who turned you down, the universe, yourself. Everyone is out to get you, nothing is working out for you. You feel hard done by and will not let anything pass. You send angry emails to your ex to let them know that they didn't get away with anything, bitch about the person who turned you down and tell yourself they were an asshole anyway and wouldn't have made you happy. You denounce that university as a pompous snore-fest that wouldn't be good for you anyway. This anger explodes out of you at random times. When your housemate eats your bread, when you are late for the bus - which is clearly the bus drivers mistake - or your professor gives you a bad mark on the essay you barely worked on because you were so pissed by everything anyway. You blame everyone and everything. You hate everyone. Stay away from people during this time, unless you want to lose friends and make enemies.


3. Bargaining.

Reverting back to denial, you still can't accept that there's nothing you can do to change their mind. You promise to change, to be a better person, you email the college and tell them you'll take up extra classes or work for free on campus, you'll constantly offer that person a drink on a night out in hopes that they might give you something back (creep). This is the pathetic stage. The stage where your friends and family try to distract you from your loss but also secretly hope you'll get over it soon when you're turned down again - which is only inevitable. The stage where you lose all self-respect and sell yourself in hopes of getting what you want. There must be some way, right?

4. Depression.

Usually the stage where you spend days in bed, not getting washed or dressed. Feeling hopeless and either overeating or under-eating. Friends and housemates and family don't know what to do because you are feeling so hopeless. Nothing they can say will penetrate the depressive cloud that has formed all around you. You feel like you will never be accepted anywhere by anyone. You see yourself as a failure. You still blame everyone else but now you're blaming yourself too. You have no energy to be angry anymore. You're done with that, all you feel is sad and alone.

5. Acceptance.

Finally, you come to terms with everything. This can happen suddenly, or gradually bit by bit. It doesn't mean that you're going to be jumping around thinking life is great but you'll be able to deal and move on. You'll get into another college, you'll be in another relationship and you'll be attracted to another person. You recognize that you totally over-reacted but your human and everyone deals with it Hopefully you won't go through it again but now that you have you might handle it better next time. Everything is going to be okay. Okay?

Orlaith Costello
Article written by
Orlaith is a Creative Writing graduate from NUI Galway. Hailing from the low lying fields of Athenry, or at least what’s left of the low lying fields. She enjoys the internet as a means of living vicariously through others from the safe confines of her own bed. She will initiate a dance off after at least two drinks on any given night out.
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