Facing rejection? How to cope, in this month’s issue of ‘Tell Your Story Newsletter’

June 2023 Vol 5 Issue 6

Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN):

Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Linguistic Communication

Let me teach you to tell your story!


ARTICLE 1: Facing rejection? How to cope,  in this month’s issue 


 ‘The Beaverton’ keeps us laughing




Welcome Mid-June 2023!

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy”

–Heyward and Gershwin

As we enter mid-June, we approach the longest day of the year. And since we have lived with premature, summer-like weather for most of the last month, Saskatoon has unfurled her natural beauty: trees have “greened” up, and the flowering varieties have blossomed with loveliness. Has the luxurious scent of lilac accompanied you (as it has me) through daily walks in the neighbourhood?

. . .Across the city, the water parks have extended their hours, to the delight of young children; splendid garden centres have sold their best perennials and bedding plants; the Children’s Festival has come and gone (and this year wasn’t rained out); . . . . And promotions for our city’s “Jazz Festival” traverse the airwaves and internet.

 It’s true that chronic crises like homelessness, addiction and our broken health-care system fill a good deal of our news and warrant our immediate attention and action. Kudos to Marketing Maverick Sara Wheelwright for publicizing the plight of Saskatoon’s homeless and those with addictions by participating in the “Sanctum Survivor Challenge,” last month. . . .  And yet, notwithstanding that pain, the splendour of an early summer in the loveliness of Saskatoon has nonetheless turned Heyward and Gershwin’s famous ode–“Summertime”–into an earworm.


Even as we read, write and record stories in the media that often include loss or pain, can we also find moments of lightness in this season?


What will you do, to observe June—arguably the most beautiful month of the year—before the intense heat of July and August succeeds it?


In Article One, this month, I discuss the challenging topic of creative (and other) rejection, drawing on a recent article by social psychologist Thomas Smithyman, in the online journal, “Psyche.”


In “Storytellers’ Corner,” we visit some of the headlines of “North America’s Trusted Source of News,” “The Beaverton.” Those jokesters joined Twitter in May, 2010 and have had us laughing, ever since.


And in “Shop News” I thank some long-deserving colleagues in my professional circle, and also feature “Entrepreneur of the Month,” Paola Chiste, of Beppi’s Gelato.


Whether you hike, camp, glamp, swim, cycle, garden, harvest local mushrooms, fiddleheads or haskaps; or whether you partake in activities that transcend the seasons of our beautiful province (e.g. “Word on the Street” will return sooner than we think), I wish you a marvellous start to summer, good readers.

May the lightness of prairie sunshine and the scent of fresh rain fill your senses and nourish your souls this season.






Storytelling Communications




Article One: Facing rejection? How to cope, in this month’s issue of  ‘Tell Your Story Newsletter’

Whether we get fired from a valued job, “dumped” by a spouse, or forced to close an unprofitable business (to name only three examples),  rejection happens to us all.

Our much-laboured manuscript gets rejected by several publishers. A “blind date” set up by friends (or the internet) goes sour quickly. An application for a professional award fails. Or we can find ourselves excluded from a position we covet, writes clinical psychologist, Thomas Smithyman, in a recent issue of “Psyche.”

Most of us feel the pain that comes with rejection very deeply and work hard to try to prevent its recurrence. But that’s seldom possible and avoidance results in “people . . . giv[ing] up the pursuit of things that matter most to them.”

Social psychologist Mark Leary writes that “the ‘hurt’ feelings of rejection arise when an event suggests to you that someone doesn’t value [your] relationship with you as much as you want them to.”

Rejection is a universal experience, affecting all of us. Those who study brain imaging have found that the pain of different kinds of rejections is (according to Smithyman) “processed in similar ways” by our brains as when we feel physical pain. We lose self-esteem, may become hostile, repeat negative thought patterns (although rumination retriggers the pain of the original rejection) and we often isolate ourselves from others.

Yet there are healthy and reasonable ways to recover from rejection. Smithyman cites strategies that “can help you to heal and move on.”

He says that by learning to cope with rejection, we can feel more resilient about taking risks “in the pursuit of meeting [our] social needs.”

These techniques borrow from mindfulness, self-compassion, and cognitive behavioural therapies.

There is no expiration date on social suffering. Smithyman says he’s worked with patients who feel the pain of rejections that occurred years earlier. He recommends these strategies:

(1) Since rejection delivers a blow to our sense of belonging, it’s logical that we can recover by receiving “whatever social support is available—such as love and compassion” from someone else in our community—even if it comes from a different area of our lives. A friend or relative can restore our sense of belonging, after we break up with a partner or spouse, thereby

preventing depression and anxiety. Having someone caring listen to your experience is a powerful experience, even if it will not “solve the problem.” (He suggests here psychotherapy or psychoanalysis).


Even if we aren’t able to discuss rejection with others in our lives, simply “spending time with them” can replenish our self-esteem and distract ourselves from ruminating over the rejection.


But not everyone has enough social relationships that we can trust to get through the rejections we face, so that we may not find it easy to seek sufficient support.


(2) Mindfulness, whereby we “step back and notice what [we’re] feeling,” rather than getting lost in pain, can provide some distance from the pain of rejection.


Smithyman writes that the difference is “between being outside during  powerful storm, and being inside a comfortable cabin, watching the storm through a window. It doesn’t . . . prevent the storm, but it gives you a refuge from which to observe it.”


Naming and differentiating negative emotions can help (e.g. anxiety is separate from anger and from shame)

can reduce distress among people who have suffered social rejection: “There seems to be something about simply naming emotions that helps reduce their intensity—possibly because it offers a sense of control and facilitates the selection of more effective coping responses.”


(3) After we’ve gone inward to recognize some of our feelings over rejection, we can interpret and make sense of our “rejection experiences” with self-compassion. We need compassion for ourselves, since the strong emotions that arise from rejection are not always reasonable or helpful to us—i.e. we tend to blame ourselves or think we are “unintelligent” or unlovable. Having been declined once can cause some people to assume a “lifetime of ostracism and failure.”


Writing exercises, such as a letter to ourselves can help us to show compassion for ourselves: we take the position of a wiser, older, compassionate self, writing “to the vulnerable, suffering part of yourself.” Smithyman notes that “both offering and receiving compassion have been shown to help regulate psychological distress, and you’re doing both in this exercise.”


(4) Once we’ve dealt with some of the heavy emotions that follow rejection, we can respond to it with “problem-focused coping.” This means we develop a plan to “solve our problem” of having been rejected, to avoid emotionally driven but anti-social responses, such as withdrawal or “lashing out.”


Smithyman recommends a four-step model for problem-focused coping: (i) clarify the problem; (ii) brainstorm a range of possible options for dealing with it; (iii) consider the benefits and drawbacks of each option; (iv) identify the best option and which tangible steps we’ll take to achieve it.

Once our emotional response to rejection has eased by earlier responses (1, 2 and 3), we can summarize the problem in rational terms (e.g. “I asked someone online for a date but they never responded. It mustn’t have been a good fit or good timing for them.”) You then recognize that you still want to meet someone to date and brainstorm as many solutions as you can.


For instance, we might “try to repair” a rejection, when it results from conflict with a friend, relative or long-term romantic partner.

Other times, it will be better to “accept and heal” from a rejection, when “situations cannot be fixed.” If trying to repair a rejection will only lead to a repetition of rejection experiences, then turning to “acceptance and taking care of ourselves” is a better strategy. Mindful and self-compassion practices can heal us, such as spending time with other people, spending time in nature, practicing spirituality, reading, etc.


We can respond to rejection in a very effective way by “creating new opportunities for meeting [our] needs” (Smithyman). He observes that “if a group of our friends” keeps excluding us, we can look to others for social connections and to satisfy our need to belong, such as among other friends, family, colleagues, etc. and by methods like texting/calling, inviting, sharing some aspect of yourself and asking about the lives of these others.


Job loss is often like losing at dating, because we must take concrete steps to find new opportunities, by continuing to look and trying to connect with others.


Smithyman notes that people can sometimes become preoccupied with rejection in close relationships, developing what he terms “rejection sensitivity”—a heightened concern about being rejected by people who are important in your life. This can become self-fulfilling, so that great fear of rejection can underpin behaviour that drives others away, repeating the rejection that is so greatly feared and then reinforcing the “rejection sensitivity,” itself.


This kind of experience (due to past experiences of rejection, especially early in life) can be coped with according to steps one to four, but especially working to “create space between emotional triggers and habitual, defensive responses such as yelling, or isolating.” That space can be created by self-soothing and assessing the reality of the situation, feeling emotions but being skeptical of assumptions we could make about others’ motivations. Adopting the perspective of a compassionate outsider can help to interpret situations of pain or loss without being oversensitive to rejection.


Rejection is such a large part of business and entrepreneurship that one of Canada’s top marketers of all time–Terry O’Reilly– and team (including several family members) have started an entire podcast on it, called “We Regret to Inform You: The Rejection Podcast,” featuring fascinating stories of successful people who “triumphed over debilitating career rejection. And the insights those rejections provide.” Smithyman says solace can be found as that podcast “shed[s] light on the valuable insights gleaned from each person’s perseverance through adversity.”


Recommended listening!


Finally, Smithyman also recommends two other podcasts that feature rejection–“the Moth” and “Mortified”–some of which include stories that, in their humour and emotional authenticity, can provide cathartic results.


And now it’s your turn: Have you felt the sting of rejection recently? Do you think Smithyman’s suggestions would help? Please write in; I’d be delighted to hear from you!



STORYTELLERS’ CORNER: Words, stories, riddles and more on writing and editing . . .

This month: “The Beaverton” keeps us laughing

This month, I give some long overdue praise to the satire of “North America’s Trusted Source of News,” “The Beaverton.” Its Twitter page tells us that it joined Twitter in May, 2010.

Along with some 20 contacts of mine on Twitter (quite possibly including you, good reader), we’ve been laughing, ever since.

In good times, in bad times, in every kind of times, “The Beaverton” has had us chuckling or guffawing through our Twitter feed.

Here are some of their all-time classic headlines:

  • “7 regional Canadian dishes that are poutine”;
  • “University student working menial summer job unaware it will be permanent job after graduation”;
  • “ ‘Politics don’t affect me,’ says guy complaining about inflation, the price of gas, the housing market, cost of living, ER wait times, and crippling student debt”’;
  • “Fugitive Trump’s attempt to flee to Mexico thwarted by big wall”;
  • “Toronto Goodwill asking people to stop donating Leafs jerseys.”

More recently:

  • “Canadians celebrate summer with nationwide campfire”;
  • “7 facts about Pierre Poilievre that probably aren’t true but we refused to be briefed on the actual situation”;
  • “First Canadian to orbit moon [Jeremy Hansen] in attempt to find affordable housing”; and
  • “Chinese government asks Elections Canada for tax receipt”  . . . & on and on “The Beaverton” goes . . . .

Besides taking donations to keep their social media satire going., The Beaverton has plenty of promotional  merchandise available for sale on their website, and even offers “a series of Satire and Comedy Courses” via Zoom, including a six-week class that covers all forms of professional satire writing, in partnership with Toronto’s “Comedy Bar.”

Endorsements for the group’s publications and work include those from the late Pierre Berton (beyond the grave), a selfie-seeking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and “The guy who does all the History Minutes.”

Visit thebeaverton.com/news/national/  for more medicinal laughter, dispensed especially for these challenging times.

Do you have a concept, idea, problem or joke involving any aspect of writing or communications? Please share it with me; I’d be delighted to use it in an upcoming issue. 



Special thanks this month (and every month, really) go to my wonderful IT specialist, Jordon MacKenzie, whom I met during his tenure as principal for ABA Technology Solutions.

Jordon was a fellow entrepreneur-in-training at the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship some five years ago, and has advised me and answered my tech-related questions  ever since. He’s done so with expertise and judgment that are second to none.

After reducing hours for ABA Technology Solutions and after providing IT related services at Audio Warehouse for several years, Jordon now works for another IT company, but continues to assist his freelance friends.

In his spare time, Jordon can be found with his wife, Michaela, and their canine fur baby, Ozzie (a Pyrenees-Maremma cross). The latter sometimes enjoys a “doggy cone” of gelato at Beppi’s on Broadway!


Special thanks to another Praxis alum, Jolene Watson. of Clarity Coaching and Development, for sharing with me some of the resources she uses to teach (and engage in) networking, this quarter.

Considering sources like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (of personality) for newcomer students has been crucial to their preparation for the workplace.


I must again extend words of gratitude to parish nurse Laura Van Loon, who tirelessly works for families and individuals in need of better health care. Thank you, Laura, and I will share my support in upcoming months, I’m sure!


This month, I also thank my colleague and mentor, Steve Cavan, who has suggested great alterations to curriculum that will make our  “Workplace Employment Readiness” classes more useful for those newcomers.


A word of encouragement and wish for healing this month to my French ESL student, Eliane, who has been a wonderful interlocutor for the past 14 months and who is struggling with Covid in her home, south of Paris: Je vous souhaite un bon retablissement, mon amie!


And I remain grateful as ever for the friendship of local novelist Lesley-Anne McLeod and her daughter, the multi-talented Kat Bens. When life amidst the 21st century state of elder care in Saskatchewan feels overwhelmingly hopeless, these women’s resilience and generosity encourage me to endure.


Entrepreneur of the Month: Paola Chiste, of “Beppi’s Gelato”. . . . 

Just one parking lot from the corner of 10th St. and Broadway Ave is located one of Saskatoon’s favourite specialty eateries, “Beppi’s Gelato.”

Gelato (an Italian style ice cream) is lower in fat, sugar, and made with more natural ingredients (such as fresh fruit) than ice cream (which can be half air!). With its dense texture, gelato is meant to be consumed in smaller portions, too. These are all good news for those of us wanting to shed some of last winter’s weight!

Born in Canada to Italian immigrant parents, founder and chief gelato maker, Paola Chiste,  returned to Bologna to study at “Gelato University,” after losing her job at the University of Saskatchewan.

When studying in Bologna, Chiste learned how to make authentic Italian gelato, as well as how to set up and run gelato shop. She named the shop after her “Nonno” (grandfather), “Beppi.” The shop opened in 2019.

Chiste and her husband used to travel to Calgary to find Italian grocery stores, because their products were hard to find in Saskatoon. So they started to order Italian delicacies for the market side of Beppi’s.

Now gelato lovers can also buy Rummo pasta, a variety of olives and preserves, handmade chocolates, cookies made on-site, vinegars, olive oils and other, unexpected treats.

“Beppi’s’” is known for creating sugar-reduced, plain gelato, available in free mini-cones for all canine customers. “Doggy cones” have become the eatery’s famous offering and a “great marketing” tool, Paola says.

Beppi’s is open 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, seven days a week during the summer (starting May 1st) and during winter (Tues-Sun) from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

During winter months,

Beppi’s also offers gelato for take-out, featuring nine standard flavours plus two monthly features. Hot Italian coffees and other drinks are also available then.

Beppi’s is a summer favourite, for visitors as far away as Penticton and Halifax, Chiste reports.

What flavour of gelato will you try? See you in line and bring your canine friend(s), too!

Beppi’s Gelato


616-10th St. E, #1

(306) 227-2214

Email: beppis@sasktel.net

FB and Insta: @beppisgelato


There are always new businesses and entrepreneurial programs to promote.   

Please write me to share your success stories!

I’m excited for what’s ahead in our entrepreneurial community.

But for now, this is a wrap for mid-June!



Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country.

Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I help new and economic immigrants to secure better jobs by improving their English skills; I help SMEs close more sales by communicating more effectively; and I help major companies write their legacy stories.

Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL-compliant website (www.elizabethshih.com).

After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss projects with you!

Please visit my website for more information (www.storytellingcommunications.ca).