Most people don't like being told "no." Even if it is gracious. Even if the "no" includes useful feedback or constructive criticism.
Jonathon Field's recent Good Life Project podcast riff, "How You Handle No is How You Handle Life" really resonated with me. This is only 10 minutes, so if you want to listen, check it out HERE.
In the riff, Jonathon explores possible reasons why we shouldn't get all bent out of shape when being told no and I agree.
As an acquisitions editor (for over 15 years), I've had to tell plenty of people "no, thank you, but this project isn't a good fit for us." Mostly people act like adults and either don't write back (which is fine, no reply required) or thank me for my time. These people stick in my mind as possibilities for future projects. Others will write back with a lot of hostility and defensiveness. So even go so far as to spread angry comments about the company in public. When I receive, hear, or see those words, it makes me thank the gods and goddesses that we did say no, because there is no way I want to work with someone like that. All their vitriol did was burn a potential future bridge.
As a tarot reader, I've had to, in essence, tell people "no." By "no" I mean giving them news that isn't exactly what they want to hear. Whether it is the common, but still always heart-wrenching, "will he come back?" or the ostensibly advice-seeking "what can I do to get a job?" If the answer isn't "yes" or "nothing, someone will walk off the street and give you a dream job with stellar salary" some people react with anger, defensiveness, or disbelief.
I remember one reading where the client wanted to know about getting a job and there were some very obvious blocks that he could clear, but he kept getting more and more upset. He ended up saying that I had obviously brought my own negativity into the reading and that it was the worse one he'd ever had. His reaction to the really solid advice the cards were giving made it easy for me to see why he was having trouble finding employment.
Instead of being defensive to the gracious no (especially when it comes with feedback or advice) and behaving as if the world is against you, calm down (maybe make note of the disproportionate emotional reaction and investigate it later), sit with the rejection and consider it, as Fields suggests, as data. Information is valuable. Take it in. Respond with openness. Use it as an opportunity to grow.
In tarot terms, don't be like the guy in the 4 of Cups, who is only seeing something that makes him unhappy and is completely missing the gift that is actually being offered.