“Dear Alyssa, thank you for applying, but unfortunately, we won’t be moving forward with your application at this time.” I remember a year ago sitting in my dorm room reading yet another rejection letter from a job I was more than qualified for. I sat at my desk with very low self-esteem and began to question my ability to do what I thought God had called me to do.
Have you ever felt the same way? Maybe you lost your job or went through a messy breakup. You could feel stuck in life, and wonder what you did wrong.
Learning how to let go of low self-esteem is a journey, and I don’t always get it right. Here are some ways that have been helpful for me to move forward from rejection with my self-esteem intact.
5 Ways to Deal with Low Self-Esteem
1. Let it hurt.
Rejection hurts! Don’t let anyone ever tell you it doesn’t. It’s hard to hear someone tell you that you’re not right for the job, the school, or the relationship, so it’s okay to let it hurt. I tend to move on too quickly from hurt—or even ignore it. But that can create a bigger issue down the road. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, the writer wisely told us there’s a time for everything—even feeling our hurt.
2. Remind yourself of the truth
Low self-esteem can often stem from lies you believe about yourself. You aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, good enough, etc. Those are all lies. With God, and by His grace, you are enough. In fact, Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10 that we are created by God to perform good works God planned for us in advance. Don’t let the things a few people say about you create your belief system about yourself. Instead, stand on the truth of who you are as God’s carefully created child.
3. Surround yourself with people who love you
Rejection often hurts the most when you keep it to yourself. Tell someone what happened and why it hurt so much. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says that two are better than one because they can help each other up after they fall. A friend will be able to help you cope with the pain and remind you of the truth. A friend will be able to turn your low self-esteem into confidence again.
4. Get back up and try again
Don’t let the rejection keep you down. Start dating again. Apply for another school. Head out on another interview. Galatians 6:9 reminds us if we do not give up, we will see a return for our efforts. Keep doing what you set out to do, but learn from what has happened. Often, people will tell you exactly why they are saying “no” at the moment. Use that honesty as a guide to get better. You’ll never get where you want to be one day if you don’t get back up and try again.
5. Know where your identity comes from
Often rejection can hurt so badly because we feel that someone is rejecting who we are, not what we do. When you know where your identity comes from, you can separate who you truly are from what you do. The Apostle Paul told us in Colossians 3:1-4 that our lives are no longer our own if we’re following Jesus. We’re supposed to hide our lives in Jesus. In other words, we need to be more concerned about what God thinks of us than people. And the good news? God is love. He sticks closer than a brother, and He will never reject us when we come to Him in love and humility.
Here I am, almost a year after receiving my last rejection letter, but certainly not my final rejection. I know there is hope after rejection. I chose to move on, and you can, too. Someone once told me, “You can let this make you bitter or better, but it’s your choice.” Choosing to let rejection make me better has not only grown my self-esteem but also allowed me to apply for jobs and take risks I would never have taken before. I promise you; this rejection is not the end of your story—it’s just the beginning.