A little over a year ago, I stepped out on faith and decided to leave my 9-5 to pursue life as an entrepreneur.

“You are going to know failure if you’re brave with your life” is a quote from Michael Bernard Beckwith that stood out to me during an uncertain time in this journey.

When I heard him recite these words, something inside of me shifted.

It became clear that being rejected—which was happening a lot on this new adventure—wasn’t the end of my story. It was actually proof that I was stepping outside of my comfort zone to reach the goals and opportunities I desired.

Yes, rejection wasn’t what I wanted, but it also showed that I was challenging myself.

Suddenly, I felt empowered by my rejections.

It’s no secret that rejection hurts.

When we’re rejected, it can quite literally cause us pain.

Studies have found that the brain regions that are activated as a result of being rejected are the same areas that light up on fMRI scans in response to physical pain,” LaToya Gaines, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist tells Shine.

The sting of rejection is literally real. This is why, for many of us, it feels better to simply avoid situations that come with a chance of rejection—at all costs.

But what if you were to tweak your mindset, looking at not the loss but the gain that comes from rejection? Rejection can actually be the catalyst for something greater in your life.

“Because we can't predict the future, there is no guarantee that the job you got rejected from was going to be the perfect fit,” Gaines says. “Rejection could be an opportunity to go after something else that could be much better in the long run.”

The greatest measure of rejection’s impact is in how we react to it or let it affect us.

Rejection’s pain loses steam when we acknowledge it and use it as the spark to aim higher, dream bigger, and push ourselves further.

Realistically, this can be a little daunting. But if you practice stepping out of your comfort zone, a little bit at a time, and embracing what comes your way as a result—the fear of rejection becomes less discouraging.

Rejection’s pain loses steam when we acknowledge it and use it as the spark to aim higher, dream bigger, and push ourselves further.

To practice dealing with rejection in your day-to-day, Gaines shares these four tips with Shine:

1. Keep the Odds in Mind

“Keep in mind the odds of being rejected," she says. "If there is a higher percentage that you will be, chances are the rejection may have less to do with you and more about other factors.”

It’s hard not to take rejection personally, but often times there are factors outside of your control that impacted a decision. Before you feel down on yourself, try to look at the situation from all angles.

2. Be Open to More Than One Opportunity

“Don't put all your eggs in one basket," Gaines says. "Rejection will sting less if you know that you are still in the running at other places.”

If rejection is something that really bothers you, try opening yourself up to exploring multiple opportunities.

If you lose one, it’ll sting slightly less because you’ll have other options to fall back on. And if you get them all—that isn’t a bad problem to have!

3. Accept You Did What You Could

“Keep in mind that rejection is not always about a personal flaw, issue, skill, etc." Gaines says. "People are rejected for all sorts of reasons that often have to do with the institution or person doing the rejecting.”

Maybe it’s not you, it’s them. Giving it your all is the best you can do. And if the odds aren’t in your favor with this situation, find solace in knowing that you did what you could.

4. Create Space to Soothe Yourself After a Rejection

What Gaines recommends when a rejection stings: “Seek positive social interactions from friends/family or engage in some exercise to cope with the difficult feelings," she says. It's a natural mood boost that can counteract those painful feelings that come with rejection.

You don’t have to deal with rejection alone.

Lean on those around you for encouragement in the face of rejection. If that isn’t an option, try engaging in a stimulating physical activity like a workout class or going for a walk to help uplift your spirits.

Remember: Rejection isn't the end of your story—it's just the beginning.

Read next: 3 Ways to Make Rejection Suck Less

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