Rejection. It is everywhere. It is part of the human experience.
It’s in relationships – with all its various forms. The kid on the playground told she can’t play. The person who braved asking someone out and got a no. The parent who deserted their family and everyone who is left questions “was it because of me?”
It’s at the workplace. Putting in hundreds of resumes to companies with few interviews and still no job. Putting in that request for a raise, or a promotion but it doesn’t pan out.
It’s in how we see ourselves. Punishing us for who we are or who we aren’t. Making choices that deliberately hurt us. Or giving in to others wants – leading yourself away from your true self, rejecting your authenticity.
There are times when you feel rejected even though it isn’t the intent of the other person. They have their own pain/problems to work through and so inadvertently reject another person not realizing the magnitude of their choice.
The experience of rejection weaves its influence into our hearts and minds. It can be detrimental, fueling the already vibrant fire of self doubt. Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe there really is something wrong with me. I’m not worthy. I’m not to be loved or valued.
To say that it is “rough” would be an understatement. It has the ability to destroy. However, the truth is you are able to handle rejection. You are able to rise above it. To improve. To learn. To discover strength you didn’t know you had.
Two things will be key. Two things that will help you push through the rejection, in whatever form it comes. Number one is something that I read in The Four Agreements. It’s something we all know, but rarely do. Don’t take anything personally. Understand that it is through the critic’s own experiences that they view you or your work. Don’t take it personally. That goes for the good too. The good can help strengthen a relationship simply because you know they see something in you, but it doesn’t need to go to your head or make you feel like you are no longer allowed to fail. The rejection given by others isn’t about you, it is about them. If you can learn from it then great, but no matter what don’t take it personally.
Number two is critical. Whether it is moving on from a failed relationship, or continuing to send manuscripts to agents even though you’ve gotten 12 rejections (What? Did you think I was not going to say anything about writing) the second thing you need is persistence. Do not give up on yourself or what you truly want.
There is a quote my great uncle loved. He printed it out and put it in beat up old frames and handed them out to some of his relatives. It is one of my treasures. Not only because of the man who gave it to me, but because of the importance of the message.
“Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb! Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – President Grover Cleveland
You can have all the hopes, dreams, desires in the world, but if you don’t have persistence you won’t see them turn into realities.
Taking a deep breath and not taking anything personally will help you endure the rejections. And as you are determined to see your goal through – that job promotion, having a meaningful relationship, staying true to yourself etc – you will come upon success and you’ll appreciate it more than if it came with ease.
So embrace rejection for what it truly is. Just one more step toward seeing the fruits of your labor.