We all have a need ‘to belong’. We want to feel a part of a group and be accepted, and it’s where we get validation that we are valuable. No matter how much people may tell you that they’re fine on their own, that they’re fiercely independent, it’s a characteristic that’s ingrained in our DNA.
There’s nothing better than feeling that you’re needed and able to contribute and feel part of something bigger than yourself. This group could be your friends, school, family, or even place of work.

And because of this, rejection is a part of our everyday lives. We don’t always find the connections that we desire.
In my case, I grew up as an only child and high school was a pretty traumatic experience.

It was at school where I had my first lessons in rejection. The way I dressed was different, I didn’t act like the cool kids, and I never felt like I belonged.
As an only child, I found it difficult to connect with people and often felt awkward so i was often rejected so I didn’t feel accepted. I had very few friends, and as you might imagine, the impact of this definitely spilled over into my adult life.

Now I know that rejection sucks, but looking back on my experiences I realised that there are benefits of rejection. It may feel crippling at the time (no one wants to be the kid in the dining hall eating lunch on their own), but it’s actually one of life’s greatest gifts.

Here’s what rejection can do for you, if you choose to see it from a different perspective…

1:Build resilience: When you’ve faced rejection head-on, you learn pretty quickly that you need to get back up and dust yourself off. Wasting time thinking ‘WHY ME?’ doesn’t serve anyone — least of all, yourself. My experiences at school taught me that when you don’t get what you want, it’s often because there’s a greater opportunity waiting for you. You need to be open to it though… And that doesn’t come from feeling sorry for yourself.

2: Stay focused: You remain productive. You stick within time limits. You set boundaries on yourself and have less distractions, and you don’t waste time on anything that is not going to serve you, as well as rejecting anything that is not going to bring you towards your goal. When you’ve swallowed the bitter pill of rejection, you know that laser sharp focus is what you really need.

3: Reduces the thirst for validation from others: You don’t self sabotage with approval seeking behaviors, like changing who you are, feeling worried about what someone else thinks about you, or constantly apologising for what you say, what you do and how you do it. You know without a doubt that no one can take your dream away, because your dream isn’t in the hands of others. It’s all down to you.

4: Identifies who you can trust: When you are going through this period of rejection, and self doubt kicks in, identify the people around you that will hold your hand, who will start to speak positively into your life and situation. These are the people that you can count on who will not let you give up on your dreams.

5: Increases optimism: Being rejected keeps you hopeful and gives you confidence in your future. You have a greater investment in what happens next because you know how to stay thankful for where you are now in your life, and you always that something better is on it’s way. You know that your YES is just around the corner.

In closing, rejection is a part of everyday life, but rather than think of it as being negative, think of rejection as being one of your greatest gifts.
You’re not a victim unless you choose to be.
Sure, take some time to lick your wounds. But then dust yourself off and see the opportunity for what it really is…

A catalyst which will propel you to achieve your wildest dreams.

Originally published at medium.com