Let's be real: sometimes you compete in a pageant and do not win. But "rejection" is something you will handle often in life and things like pageants, sports, and competition prepare you to handle such difficult situations.
Instead of storming off after a non-win, causing a scene, or having family members trash the pageant online or elsewhere, here's a few suggestions on how to handle life when you don't win:
1. Acknowledge your emotions
You are upset. I know. I've been there myself. Allow yourself some time to be upset and then allow yourself to regroup. Do not do anything you may end up regretting like going on Facebook Live or making an Instagram/Snapchat story about it.
Convince yourself that it was no big deal and remind yourself that the world is still turning. You have to keep moving forward or you will be left behind.
2. Be nice to yourself
Don't run off saying that you are horrible OR you are not the right size for this pageant OR you are not pretty enough. Do NOT say those things to yourself. Do not hurt yourself; be nice to yourself.
Instead, make a list of things that make you great/awesome/cool. Make a list of things you are thankful for. Go out and do some fun stuff with your family. Be nice to yourself by taking care of yourself. Do not mentally or physically harm yourself - you deserve better than that.
3. Do not let the crown define you
Yes, it would have been awesome if you won. Yes, it would have been a super cool year. But, do not allow the lose to define you, make you feel a certain way, or make you feel like you are not amazing without the crown on your head.
Remember that whatever you said you wanted to do WITH the crown is still possible. For example, you can still volunteer, you can still meet with government officials about things that are important to you, and you can still be a role model to others.
The crown does not define you, your opportunities, or your future. You define those things.
4. Seek feedback
Always. Always seek feedback. Your director/pageant may have a formal process for this (like National American Miss automatically sends scores and comments, but some pageants require that you call them to request the information).
Sometimes the feedback can provide you valuable insight into what the judges saw that you may not have realized. For example, maybe they thought you spoke too quickly in interview or walked too slow on stage. Seek the feedback and use it to help you prepare for your next event.
Make sure you are polite and positive when seeking feedback. Do not be demanding, rude, or offensive in any way. Be professional - do not burn your bridges.
Note: some pageants do not provide feedback. In this case, take your pageant dvd to a REAL pageant coach and get some feedback. Do not rely on family or friends for feedback, as they might be biased towards you OR may not be professional pageant people.
5. Be sure to remain positive (and express this need to your family/friends too)
Too often, I see non-winning contestants and their families storm out of the theatre/ballroom and cause a scene. Yelling, screaming, crying...do NOT do this.
Be a professional. Yes, you may be upset, but the world goes on. There is always next time (or another pageant).
Handle yourself like the "professional" you told the judges you are. Collect your belongings, take a few photos to remember/note the learning experience, go home, and relax. Breathe. Learn.
Think about what could have been done differently, make some goals to focus on, see your coach, and try again.
Things happen - we get knocked down. But dust yourself off, don't get offended, just try again.
REMEMBER: not winning is okay! You will survive and you can always try another pageant or try again. Use each competition as a learning experience - next time you may be more confident, stand taller, or even be able to handle those interview questions with greater ease. Use every competition to grow and build yourself because hey, isn't that what pageantry is about anyway?
Flip the Script: - use a coach/professional to figure out where/what you can improve and start working on it so you can be your personal best in your next adventure. Also, think about making a list of what you gained from competing in the first place - maybe you didn't win the crown, but you may have walked away with greater confidence, experience interviewing, stronger public speaking skills and more! Sometimes focusing on what you did walk away with can be more empowering that walking away with the crown! Remember: it is NOT 'sometimes you win and sometimes you lose' --- instead think of it this way: 'sometimes you win and sometimes you learn'!