How to stay positive when turned down

Being rejected or, more specifically, being turned down when we ask for help could be very embarrassing, demoralizing, if not damn right depressing. But, does it have to be?

How to stay positive when turned down

“i’m thankful to all those who said ‘no’, because of them, i did it myself ”
Albert einstein

1. They have not harmed you – in the sense that they didn’t take anything from you – they have simply not taken the chance to be a blessing to you.

This particular philosophy helps me a lot to stay positive whenever I find myself starting to get bitter about being turned down.

2. Remember the times they did

That certain people turn us down on a given occasion, even if it seems obvious they could help, does not mean they are not nice, have not been good to us, and will not be good to us again.

Growing up, my mom used to impress this on me a lot:

The one who hasn’t helped you today could still be of much bigger help tomorrow. Don’t be embittered. Keep an open mind.

It is, therefore, important to determine not to be bitter the very first time they refuse to help us. The most recent event isn’t necessarily the most crucial. The human memory, especially when it comes to one’s interest, is notoriously short.

3. Compassion Fatigue has simply set in – and we need to give them a break

Sometimes, when people, especially kind ones, turn us down, we need to look at ourselves, ask some questions:

  • Have I actually tired this person out with my incessant requests?
  • Do they feel that I am starting to take them for granted?

If the answer to these, or related, questions is yes, then, the best thing is to simply give them a break, while also appreciating how consistently good they’ve been to you, instead of being disgruntled.

Mothers are about the only people we can bother incessantly. But, even with them, we should make our bothers fewer and far between over time


4. They are pointing you in the direction where real help is

We have no divine right to be obliged by the very person or the first person we approach. Therefore, instead of being demoralized, we should see it as a box ticked in our quest for help or success and keep searching.

This quote Bryant Mcgill captures this succinctly:

Rejection is merely a redirection: a course direction to your destiny

5. Sometimes, it’s an opportunity to look inwards

There are times when we need to think of who else to approach for help when someone turns us down, but there also times when we should take it as a challenge to look inwards and solve that problem by ourselves.

That need to become resourceful is especially sensible in a situation where we already know that we will need someone’s help continually.

Looking inwards can happen in two ways:

  • Engaging your brain more, doing some research – Google is ubiquitous – and/or simply finding the courage to attempt to solve a problem.
  • It could also be that you get mentored (even by that same helper) or go for requisite training.

I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.
Sylvestre Stallone

6. Take a honest look at your self

Some honest introspection can reveal that you are the reason why someone, or people in general, keep turning you down.

For example, you shouldn’t be surprised that someone you have never approached to loan you some money turns you down – it might just be that they know about your reputation for being a bad and serial debtor.

Similarly, an uncle might turn down your request for a business loan if he knows that you’re profligate and ostentatious.

Taking a good at yourself might turn out to be a chance to reform your character.

7. Take pride in your courage and sense of responsibility

The final thought that can help you stay positive when turned down is remind yourself that it takes uncommon courage and a sense of responsibility to reach out for help – particularly for noble reasons.

Therefore, instead of feeling ashamed just because you were turned down, you should feel proud and be encouraged.

Over to you:

What are your thoughts on staying positive when turned down?

Please share in the comments below.

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More on Positive Thinking

8 easy ways to build and maintain a healthy self-esteem

Image credits: Twenty20


  1. Sometimes reaching out is bit hard to do, there is this negative thinking that sets in. This is always been an interesting topic to discuss and glad I stumbled upon this post.

  2. I’ve recently heard the comment that triggers are our best friends, and I appreciate that because they give us a chance to see why we are triggered and heal that thing that is moving us in that negative way.

  3. When I get turned down for anything, I just find it as another opportunity. Turned down from a job? Got another opportunity to find the work I love. Turned down from an outing from friends? That is ok, I got my own adventure!

  4. Rejection can often feel like it brings you to a complete halt, but in reality it gives you something to push against. People do not grow stronger when everything is working for them, but when they are forced to cope with the unexpected or the undesirable.

  5. I feel like a lot of the material in this post can be applied to losing a job or getting rejected after an interview. I don’t think we talk enough about such things, from the outside we only hear when people were accepted for a position or helped. Thanks for sharing.

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