Pausing To Reflect with Lisa Foster
Dec. 21, 2021

Dealing With Rejection

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In today's episode, we are joined by Olivia Eppe, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of four kids, as we discuss the topic of rejection how it affects our children and ourselves. Listen as we discover our feelings behind the rejection and how our kids have their own styles of dealing with this topic. Join us at to continue this or any other conversation about parenting. We look forward to hearing your stories.

Key Points:

  • Rejection does not equal failure.
  • Boys tend to communicate more when paired with a motor skill.
  • Experiencing rejection earlier in life may help you handle it later in life.
  • Rejection is not always personal.
  • You don’t need to put someone down to lift yourself.
  • Do something for the love and to better yourself, not just for that one part, job, etc.

Call to action:

  • Join Real Life Momz Facebook group,
  • Follow Real Life Momz Podcast
  • Olivia Eppe website:
  • Simon Sinek, author of the Infinite Game

Welcome to Real Life Momz, I'm your host, Lisa Foster, and Real Life Momz is a podcast. That's all about real conversations and real-life issues that parents deal with every day. Our mission is to connect moms by talking about these topics and to continue those conversations through our Real Life Momz, Facebook group, where we would love for you to become part of this community. Today, I'll be talking with my dear friend, Olivia Eppe on a really important topic, rejection and how it affects our kids and ourselves.


Hi, Olivia, thanks so much for coming and joining me on my show today. Happy to it sounds like fun. Today we are going to discuss rejection and just how we can support our kids through this process because rejection is just like, I feel like it's a bummer. Like nobody likes to be rejected in life.

Right. But for kids, it's like, it's also sometimes really hard for them to understand like the why's behind it, and it's so personal. Right? Like it just gets too personal. I feel like it's a skill that you have to work on for the rest of your life because I feel like rejection is ongoing. It happens all the time, whether it's at work or school or even in your family, you know, it's something everyone will experience throughout their entire lifetime. Yeah. And that's a great point because as a kid having rejection, it's a great practice, right. They're not going to look at it that way, but it is great practice later in life. Yes, for sure.  I think the biggest thing I have problems with when it's my kids and rejection, and I get so emotionally attached, I think to whatever they're doing, you know, whether it's a job or a school play or whatever it is, a team, whatever, they're so excited.  I'm on that journey too. I am so excited, but when they get rejected or don't get the part or don't get on the team, all of a sudden, it's hard for me to comfort them because I'm dealing with my issue. And you're an extension of them. Right. A lot of times you prep them for whatever it is that they're going out for. You know, you're part of the team that helped them prepare for whatever it was.  A little extension of you. Um, I have to say my, so I have four kids. I feel like my oldest daughter; she hasn't been rejected a lot. She's a model child. And I think I've told you that in the past and so she has gotten things easily in her life. You know, she's always been at the top of her class. She is talented, you know, she's a go-getter. Um, very assertive in a lot of things. So she's in college now she's going to graduate this semester. She didn't get certain internships in certain jobs. Uh, and so when she didn't get one, I mean, she was really bombed really, really bummed, which I totally get, you know, I've been there. Yeah, and she's away. So it's not even like, you know if she had some of this experience when she was younger. You could have been maybe there for her, you know, but now she's like alone and dealing with it. And I had actually to talk her through the whole process of, you know, this wasn't meant for you, this, you don't want to have to like make yourself, you know what I mean? Like I know that the job was kind of what she wanted, but in the end, if they didn't feel like she was the right fit for their company… Then there might be a bigger thing going on there. Yeah. I know. And that's always; I feel like that's always my go-to whenever they don't get something they were hoping for. I'm always like, well, the universe, the universe spoke there's probably a bigger plan that maybe, you know, this wasn't a really good opportunity for you. We don't know why, you know, and that's always hard; they never know why at the time. And, but usually, if you go back to it, they do see like, oh yeah, I would have hated this. Or if I did this, I could've done that. And it usually is a bigger picture to it. So I use that all the time. Exactly, exactly. I don't know how comforting it is to the kids. But it makes me feel better about the rejection that I'm trying to get over. Yeah. And I think for everybody, regardless of age or where you are in life like sometimes you don't see the reasoning of why that didn't happen. Doesn't reveal itself until much, much later. Yeah.

And I think another piece of rejection is it; it isn't always personal, right. Like, you don't get the job. Right. Or, or whatever, you don't get in the show. Right. It's like all of a sudden, if it is personal, I'm wrong. I'm not good at that, whatever. It isn't always; you know that you weren't good enough for this position. It could be so many different reasons why you didn't get it. Right. Yeah. It's hard not to go right to like, it's me. Like, it'd be nice to be like, oh, I didn't get it. It wasn’t me. That's what I want to be able to do next time. Like it must have been something else. It is hard not to take it personally. I mean, I still have to do that. I think I told you last week, like, um, you know, cause I, I do speech therapy, and so my clients do have a say in who they want to work with. So I get assigned to these families to work with on their therapy and stuff. The majority of my families are okay working with me, but once in a while, there's one family, you know, a couple of weeks ago for the first time in years. But you know, now that I think about it, now that we're talking out loud like this, I kind of feel like it kind of keeps you from getting complacent. But it is, it's hard. It's very, it's very personal, no matter what age, which is maybe why it's so hard to comfort for me, my child, because I still have to work on it myself. Moving on, moving on, I think is a, is a big piece too, after being rejected. Right? Like it's one thing to be rejected and, like, take that in and be like, okay with it. But then the moving on from whatever you wanted, right. There's also a whole other thing. Right. Finding that next thing and being like, okay, I'm done with that. That has closed. And there is, you know, people have said, you need your door to close to open another. And we forget that. I sometimes think that it's okay to close it. Cause there's a lot more waiting on the other side.

Yes. I mean, rejection comes in so many forms. I know it's kind of a really big top. I feel like there should be another word. I almost feel like there has to be a synonym. That sounds a little better, but yeah. You could make one up. Listen to us talking. I feel like, um, in my mind, I'm feeling like, you know, it's funny that failure and rejection seem like they go together, but I feel that maybe, maybe that should be separated. Right. Because you know, just because you’re rejected didn't mean it doesn't mean you failed because it shouldn't be really personal once again. Right. Some reason we're just thinking immediately is that rejection and failure are just hand in hand. And I think maybe in our minds we have to like change that a little bit. And you know, I love Simon Sinek and his book, the end game, if we really put his perspective in this, um, where you're doing things right for a specific cause or a reason, right? If you want to be on the dance team, you're not trying out and practicing just for that one moment to make that team right.

You're, you're practicing to be better because you want to be better. It's a love, right? So making the team is a bonus, but you know what? You went to tryouts all week, and you've improved, and you've met, even if they're better than you, they have inspired you that the end game is still reached, and that's not rejection. Right. I think that's a whole, maybe another way of looking at things and, um, and doing that. And I did that with my daughter, you know, when she was trying out for her dance team, she did make it.

So that was a win. I know it's great. And it's life changing. She loves it. But, but the thing was, the week was long. Um, and, um, and she was going up with people who, you know, we’re dancing in dance companies.

And she had taken a break from hers, but you know, she was like petrified. And I said to her, I said, well, you love to dance. Right. So we don't have to look at the other kids, and you know, we can be inspired by those kids because great. They're better than you. That's awesome. Because now that's going to make you better. You know you don't want to just dance for this. You want to keep dancing. Right. So play the end game and be inspired by those better dancers, you know, live up to your potential and then have fun. Right. And granted, it all turned out good. And if it didn”t, I mean, it might be a different story right now, but I think, I think that's also something to look at too, is really these life lessons that we really can take with us. And, and what is your why for doing something? Oh yeah.

You know, and you mentioned like there are people better, you know, like I tell my kids that all the time, there's always, always, always someone bigger, better, brighter, smarter, you know? Like, and you have to just look at where you're starting at and where your endpoint is, or yeah. Like your growth potential because you can't, I mean, there's just so much, there are so many levels of ability out there being the best too. I mean, that's not really the easiest; there’s a lot of pressure to maintain that, to look at your child's starting point and how far they've come. We should celebrate the little achievements that we don't even notice that the kids are doing.

Right? Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Little baby steps. Add up. Those are what add up to like those really big accomplishments. Like those are all the building blocks for the things they're going to accomplish later. So.

It's not always achieving the goal itself but achieving these little milestones that we have to celebrate. Sometimes I feel like kids are actually better at being rejected than parents are. And I feel like sometimes we put our own influences in their reaction. Right. And I remember, so there was a time like my daughter like your daughter does acting. And she was trying out for a show that she wanted so bad. Right. Like she wanted it so bad.

This was like the end all be all. And all her friends are also trying out, and she didn't get it, you know? And she was definitely devastated. And I, of course, as a mom, like rooting, and I was also devastated. And you know, I almost went down a little bit of rabbit hole of like, man, you know, but before I could even do that, that was my initial reaction right before I could even do that.Um, she picked herself up, she congratulated her friends. She like taught me. I've never been so proud of her because she actually meant it. She was so happy for her friends, even though that was her dream, you know, that I was like, wait, take a note and a lesson. She didn't bad mouth, one kid. Like you can easily go down the hole of like, I was better than that one. I can't believe they even got it. None of that. And she was like, what 12? At the time, to me, that. Success. Yeah. Exactly. To me, not getting into that show was the best thing that could've ever happened because I never even knew that she had that in her. I was more proud of that than if she had gotten it. It was just amazing. And then, of course, that door closed and two more open and better opportunities for her at the time. And, and it just goes to show like sometimes we don't get things because there are things waiting for something else. I think it's easy for us to even like get on that bandwagon. You're so much better than they were, you know, like, you know, make them feel better. But honestly, that's not good. That's not the thing that we should be doing. Like we should never have to put somebody else down to raise us up. Yes. That is the lesson right there. Yeah. That is a really big lesson. So yeah. So speaking of like this acting stuff, so I was talking about my older daughter earlier because everything came easy for her. Um, so on the flip side, my youngest has been doing the acting thing and has been through probably hundreds of auditions at this point, um, is very, um, what do you call like rejection does not phase her, You know,

If you get enough rejection, She had a fair amount, like a lot, she's had a lot of auditions, almost like it's super busy in that pilot season at the start of the year, she'll get like anywhere from two to five a week. So it just depends. Right. So that's plenty to go around a lot of rejection. Um, so when her sister didn't get a couple of jobs earlier, you know, like a year or so ago or whenever it was, um, you know, I have one daughter who's like bawling her eyes out, but my older one, because she didn't get it. 

My youngest is like giving all those, everything that we're kind of talking about right now, she kind of has the maturity to say, well, you know, they have their reasons for not hiring you, and you know, blah, blah, blah.

So is she giving you, giving you, your older? So you're 14 now she's giving your older daughter who is like almost graduating college. Like in her twenties, Worldly advice. Um, you know, that's, that's amazing.

So crazy because she hasn't gotten, like, when you think about it out of the hundreds of auditions, she's only booked three, four-ish kind of thing. So the percentage is crazy, but because she's gone through it multiple, multiple times, you know, she had those words of wisdom for her sister. Yeah. So she, there is that contrast there of me seeing like my older one, not experiencing as much as my younger one that has a harder time dealing with rejection than her little sister. Right? Like you really cannot control what the director and whatever, you know, the casting and stuff that you can't control, what they're looking for. Like they know when they watch your quick introduction, like if they're envisioning like a girl with long flowy blonde, well, you hear whatever and braids or whatever, and she doesn't fit that. Then she's automatically cut within five seconds. And that's just how it goes. It has nothing to do with her skill or whatever. And she understands. So she's probably learned that rejection doesn't mean failure because it's not; they’re not always rejecting you on your talent. Right, right. To be your height, it could be your things that are not in your control. So maybe in some ways, she's already learned that rejection doesn't mean that I'm bad. It just means I'm not what they want. Right, right, right. No, you don't get that in like other forms, right. Of rejection, like a job. Right. They don't you, and it's not usually your hair color. Right. Hopefully, it's not like we only hire blondes, you know, or if you get dumped by your boyfriend or something like that, it's also kind of a little bit more personal. So it's kind of nice that she learned this lesson; in an industry, that's tough, but it's not all about your talent in an industry. It's about like, oh my gosh. So here's a question for you because you have, you know, four and two boys and two girls. So do you feel like, um, any difference when your boys have something that happens that we're going to call rejection. They're different. And I feel like, I feel like the girls are more open about talking about it, whereas the boys. Um, and I don't know like my boys are not very chatty about stuff like that. And so they try to kind of man up, or I don't know what they're not, and even in general, they're not as chatty as my girls. 

And I, and I'm thinking about my son too because he's younger, you know, he's in middle school, but he is quiet, you know? And, uh, and it's, it is, he's, he's not necessarily quiet, but he doesn't communicate, you know, all the things that I think that are going on. Whereas, you know, daughters come home and they're like. Kind of word vomit. Everything comes out and it's exhausting really. I mean, sometimes I'll just have to walk out of the room for a minute. Cause I'm like, I am exhausted from hearing all these words and emotions, but then my son, it's like, I'm yanking stuff out. Like I'm bribing him half the time to talk. I'm like, okay, I'm only driving you here. If you tell me one thing about whatever it is, um, to get him to say something, but it is true. It's, and I know he's, you know, definitely felt rejection because, you know, middle school, like everyone feels rejected in every way. It's the worst. Yeah. Middle school, you. Know, it comes out in like a sentence, you know, like one sentence, then it's gone. And I don't know if I'm doing as good of a job. Like, I don't know if he didn't get the part in the play. Would he have the same reaction? Because I've talked to my daughter about this stuff, but you know, with him, it's, different. It's a different kind of conversation, you know? Yeah. It is. It's totally different. And I feel like, boy, friendships are different. You know how boys interact with each other? What we know when they're on a team or, or whatever, their extracurriculars or whatever their school, um, the social scene looks like or whatever. I feel like, in general, they relate to their friendships, differently. Um, you know, they're not friends anymore. They're just not friends. It feels like it has to be more, but maybe it doesn't, I don't know. Um, I feel like girls will talk on the phone for lengths of time and things in boys. Like I don’t see my son, the only time he's like having conversations on the phone or with girls, you know, girlfriends, not girlfriends, but friends that are girls, but I don't see those conversations as much with other guys. Right. Yeah. So my son invites his friends over, but they're not chatting in a circle like girls or, you know, like doing whatever their spa things or whatever, gossiping they're downstairs in the basement watching a game. So their social relationships are so different. Like they're down there screaming at the TV, right. They're playing a video game together or, or something. Right. They're not necessarily, whereas girls, you come in and they're chatting with each other about the, They have so many more outlets to express. Themselves. Right. And that's an interesting topic, you know, rejection in sons or, um, in yeah in sons and males. Right now. Actually I'm a little anxious about it. I'm like, oh my, I gotta go talk to my son. Not that he's going to actually say anything to me, but, um, but yeah, I do find that if there's some sort of motor activity, he will discuss more and I've heard this. I had another friend who told me this once. Like, you know, we go for walks a lot. So we just walked on the trail this afternoon, and words come out. Or if we're throwing a ball back and forth. And I even said that to him, once I said, you know, one of my friends told me that, like, if you're, if you're being active, then boys tend to talk more. And then as, as we were throwing this football around, he goes, he's like, yeah. He's like, you know what? I feel like talking. And then, you know for a while he was like, Hey, let's go throw the football. And I was like, huh, because he feels like talking, but then we stopped throwing the football because let's face facts. I don't like throwing the ball. So yeah, we started doing walks, but we kind of faded, but today we went, and yeah, he did talk more. So that might be something just, you know, FYI out there for those that have boys, if they're doing a motor skill, there'll be more open to talking. I'm going to have to experiment with that.

But I do worry. I do worry for those boys. I feel like the girls take things like rejection, maybe a little harder because they're emotional, but boys also perhaps but we don't hear it because they're not telling us. Yeah.

So it's funny. Yeah. So my older son, um, you know, put in for, uh, what is it, a study abroad in Lithuania of all places, but he had to put in an application and then you kind of make a certain round you know, how many rounds of finally getting chosen, but he didn't get chosen. So I just thought about this because he talked to me about this the other day, but he didn't get chosen, which was fine. You know, again, it is what it is. Right. But, um, he didn't seem to be all affected by it, which is what it is. And he goes, you know, it's, you know, a lot of people applied for it and um, I made it, uh, you know, I just kind of made it to this round, and that was the end of it. Whereas, you know, with the daughters,Yeah, crying like, oh, you know, I made it to this round, and then they put, they chose the other person or whatever. And she's super like needing to talk about it and crying, and I didn't get it, and you know, all that stuff. Is it as simple as they can brush it off? It's not as emotional, or is it more emotional, but we're not hearing it. And, I guess that is a little bit of the scarier part for me, because like. I mean, if they applied and they put all this effort in, they had to want it a little bit more than they're letting on. So, and I, and it may be subconsciously, I mean, me, they're not even aware that they're, you know, but that is interesting. We will have to look into that a little bit more, and it makes me feel like I have to sit with my son a little bit, maybe go for a run or take some walks, throw a football a little bit more to get him talking about things like that because right. Because they need those skills later on. Right. As things get bigger and they should feel like things are important. Right. Exactly.

So, now that I think about it and kind of looking back on that conversation, I probably should have dug a little more. Easier to be like, oh, you're not affecting yet. Let's do something else, but you have many other things to do. Right. It's so much easier. Whereas the girl it's like, you have to sit with and comfort. Right. But yeah, at least for my, I mean, not everybody, but like, um, but yeah, it's so much easier, so we let it go, but you're right. Like I, you know what, I'm going to make a pact right now with you say next time we will ask. At least three questions, three follow-ups digging deeper questions just to make sure that they're okay. Right. Yeah. I mean, yeah, there has to be a bummer part therefor, you know, from his perspective, he didn't convey that. So he closed the door, but he moved right. There you go. He closed the door and he moved on. So it sounds like that was healthy. Um, you know, is there anything that you think take away from this conversation or just in general about rejection? I mean, I learned a lot.

My personal experience just in my own family is it's a skill that you can, you know, kind of learn to deal with effectively. Um, and just based on my two daughters, different, uh, experiences with it. Yes. Like the more it happens, um, the better you get at dealing with it, you know, based on my own family unit, you know, between the girls and stuff like that. Um, I think as long as you learn how to deal with it in a healthy way that you can get over it and move on to the next opportunity. Yeah.


So think it doesn't have to equal that it doesn't have to equal failure and, and we can learn and grow from rejection, and that's, and that's what it should do for us. It's a growing and to do better and inspire us to do more. Yeah. Thank you, Olivia, for talking about rejection. I mean, you never know where these conversations are going to go. And I feel like, honestly, I learned so much from talking to you today and just, you know, looking at things. So this was really fun. Yeah. This was super fun.


Thank you so much for coming and listening to our show today. I have learned so much on this topic, just talking with Olivia today, and I hope you learned something too. Please join us on our Facebook page where we can continue to connect about this topic or any other topics. And don't forget to follow Real Life Momz. So you don't miss an episode.

Olivia EppeProfile Photo

Olivia Eppe

CEO Eppe Household/Speech-Language Pathologist

Wife, mom of 4, amazing napper, foodie. Educated and certified to be a Speech-Language Pathologist, and now going on 20+ years in the field. Beach lover, former sugar addict, and tv/movie enthusiast.