What happens when someone tells me “no”?

never let someone else's no define who you are woman smiling looking out window

Sometimes we put ourselves out there and get rejected.

And it hurts.

Sometimes that hurt is a sting, and sometimes it’s a big ‘ole ego-crushing, complex-creating monster of a blow. Either way, its up to us to learn how to move on, and we should start by making an honest evaluation of the situation.

Is this door just closed temporarily? OR, is it time to move on?

Sometimes “no” really just means “not right now.” In this instance, persistence is your friend. Don’t allow a temporary setback to derail you. However, if someone has a right to say “no” to you, and that “no” is conclusive, then it is your responsibility to accept that answer, just as you would want them to respect yours if the situation were reversed. The good news: You can be pleased that you a person in your life that is honest enough to say “no”.  It’s not easy to say and you actually know where you stand with them on this issue.

Is this a sign that I should handle my problems myself? OR, should I face my fear of being rejected twice and ask someone else?

Do the reasons you asked for help in the first place still apply? If you thought you were OK to ask one person and they turned you down, but you know another person you would feel just as comfortable asking, then go ask that person. The first person you asked doesn’t speak for everyone you know. However, if you don’t know anyone else you would feel comfortable asking, then it may be time to start looking for another solution.

Was this person within their rights to say “no” to me? OR, is this actually a form of injustice?

Most of the time, when we ask for something, we are making a request. Meaning that whoever it is we’re asking is allowed to turn us down. It doesn’t matter if they’re rude, petty, or unfair: saying “no” is their right.

However, there are a few special cases where either the grounds for denial or the denial itself are wrong. In those instances, you may need to push back, but pick your battles: you could be in for a long fight that you may not win, and you’ll have to decide for yourself it’s worth the stress, and possibly worth doing damage to relationship.

No matter what the circumstances, rejection in one thing never means the end of all our opportunities. “No” may mean that we have to accomplish our dreams by a different, or harder, or currently unknown route, the later just means we’ll have to come up with a new plan. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t still in the driver’s seat.

Regardless of someone else’s response, say “yes” to yourself and NEVER let someone else’s “no” define who you are.

Iris Proctor
Iris is the director of ArborWoman.