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In this post, Stephanie shares about Instagram and why getting rejected by Instagram (or anything else) might not be as bad as we think!

Instagram, Rejection, And Getting Rejected By Instagram


Instagram can be hard. Has anyone ever noticed that?

A few weeks ago, I took part in what I have to say was a killer giveaway. I feel a teensy bit bad saying that because I was the one who organized it. But I got to team up with an amazing group of women (women I sincerely admire) and over 1,500 people entered to win. Not only that, but the prize was amazing too. A 1,000 dollar gift card to Southwest? Yes PLEASE!

The week was electrifying. Every time I’d open my Instagram app, I’d have hundreds of new followers.

New faces popped up every few seconds. It felt like a blogger’s version of standing in front of a broken ATM, money spitting out at you faster than you can grab to shove in your purse.

People say that if you want to be successful you have to take the stairs (in other words, one step at a time and a whole lotta work), but that week felt like hopping in the Willie Wonka elevator and blasting straight through the roof.

But then once the giveaway was over, something sad happened. I knew it would, I was warned, I was prepared, or at least I thought I was. But I wasn’t actually prepared. Not really.

After the giveaway was over, there was a mass exodus of followers from my Instagram.

It always happens this way. People follow you just to enter the contest, but then they leave once they found out they weren’t the big winner. I knew this would happen.

But I secretly hoped I could do enough to keep them around. Like maybe if I was funny or charming enough, or posted the perfect photo, they’d say, “Hey! This girl is amazing! I want to stick around forever, and read her book, and be her best friend.” Yes, that’s what I thought.

But as I’m sure you can imagine, it didn’t work that way, and people still left. No matter how funny I was, or charming I was, and no matter how perfect my photos were, they still left and I have to admit, it’s made my heart hurt terribly.

If opening your Instagram every hour or so to find out a whole slew of people has decided to follow you feels like winning the lottery, then posting a photo and watching a dozen people decide they don’t like you anymore just feels like crap.

It really does. It feels like plain old rejection. It feels like a slap in the face every time.

It doesn’t feel gentle, or like they just prefer a different brand of bagel. It feels intensely personal. And that’s hard.

I was home in Denver this last week, and had a cozy, PJ-clad evening with a group of girlfriends sitting around my living room.

One of my friends had applied for a job she was really hoping to get. She put her heart and soul into the application, and was devastated when she got a “Thanks, but no thanks,” in response.

As we curled up together on the couch, she sighed and said almost wistfully, “I feel like you guys have never been rejected from anything.”

She didn’t really think that, necessarily. But it’s how she felt. She felt like everyone else around her was sailing through life, like coming down the escalator at the airport and having a guy in tux there holding your name before he drives you into your future.

She felt isolated in her rejection. I think we’ve all felt that way.

We could have tried to talk her out of it, tell her how she shouldn’t take it personally, or that she should just try again. But instead we took a different approach. We started to tell her about our rejections.

We talked about the jobs we’d been rejected from, or the chances we taken only to be met with epic failure.

I got rejected from TONS of internships in college before I finally found ones that were willing to give me a chance. I've sent tons of magazines and blogs my articles only to be met with a polite no, or total silence.

We heaped stories on her like dirty laundry in an overflowing basket. We laughed all the way through them, seeing in hindsight how small the rejection was in comparison to the successes that followed.

And the longer we talked, the more she brightened. As she found out she wasn’t alone—that rejection is a normal thing and not the final word on your success in life—you could see the weight lifting off her shoulders. You could see that she might be willing to give it another go.

I tell you how I’m feeling about my Instagram following because I think it helps.

It helps to know we’re not the only ones who feel rejected at times. Sometimes the things are big like a job, or a relationship. Sometimes they’re small like a tiny number on our Instagram profiles. Either way, rejection hurts, but it’s a natural part of trying anything new.

Rejection isn't the final word on your worth, or your future success, or whether or not you'll make it. It's a normal thing, an obstacle to overcome, something that will make you stronger, smarter, and make your story better when you look back at the path you took along the way.

So if you've been rejected recently, this is what I want you to do, in fact, we'll do this together. I want us to take a deep breath, dust ourselves off, and keep going.

P.S. Here's a podcast episode I did with my friend Carrie Grace all about how to stop fearing rejection.

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In this post, Stephanie shares about Instagram and why getting rejected by Instagram (or anything else) might not be as bad as we think!

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  1. That sounds like an amazing giveaway and I’m so bummed I missed out on it…I have felt this rejection from IG as well and from FB too. Being rejected is all part of the process…I try to look at it as it something I can learn from the experience and just move forward. What is in the past is in the past!

  2. I feel your pain. My insta account is mainly food photos – as it’s a highlight reel of my blog, which is mainly recipes, so I understand that that is the main reason why people follow me – BUT it is also a personal instagram account and every now and then I like to share a snippet of my life. For Easter, being a believer and a follower of Jesus, I posted a simple little picture of a cross = heart. #Godislove. Well, yep, just as expected, I lost a small handful of followers. I thought for a second, maybe I shouldn’t have posted that – then I thought, NO WAY, that’s my Faith, and this is who I am, if you don’t want to see it – then that’s OK. By the next day I had built up my followers again, and was reminded that this is just the way insta is. Besides, maybe my #Godislove photo put a smile on someones face, or touched their heart, and really, that’s all that matters in the end. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this post – I think it happens to the best of us and it’s nice to know there’s the common thread.

  3. Kendall says:

    Love your blogs and instagram posts Stephanie! You are so honest and truthful in the way you share parts of yourself. Keep it up! I won’t be unfollowing anytime soon. 🙂

  4. Becca says:

    I listened to an awesome podcast episode recently (on Invisibilia by NPR) about fear, and it profiled the man who invented this game: http://rejectiontherapy.com/

    It’s all about turning small rejections into successes, which makes the big rejections in your life feel a lot less horrible—they can even feel comfortable. Really interesting concept.

    Love this post, Steph!

  5. Julie says:

    Rejection can be so hard. Thank you for sharing this. I am a new blogger and often feel that things are going nowhere. It’s something that everyone deals with and not enough people talk about.

  6. […] though we tend to believe we’re the only ones getting rejected. That’s why I love Stephanie’s tell-it-like-it-is story so […]

  7. Lori says:

    This helped me remember I’m not alone. I am anew start up..really with nothing more than a spark and a dream in my heart. I hope to set up my blog soon and am in the beginning stages of pursuing personal training certification. My faith is a huge part of me..it’s my foundation. So I’ve recently begun sharing more of it on my Instagram page as it lays the foundation for my dream. I’ve gained some followers and lost a good bit. And it IS hard! Hurts when you put yourself out there and it’s rejected even though it’s just a number. It helps to hear others tell their own stories and find encouragement in that. I know I can’t give up but have to take it as opportunities for future growth

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