Dealing With Rejection Doesn’t Have To Suck
I found myself in a conversation recently, in fact, a couple of different conversations, where the topic of rejection kept coming up. Just like every other human on the planet, I’ve dealt with rejection or supported someone through a moment of rejection, many times in my life. And each time I have either been treated with pity or have pitied the other person. And not once in any of those instances have I stopped to think about whether the status quo reaction to rejection as helpful or hurtful--until this last time.
My first foray with rejection occurred when I was a whopping five years old. My dad is an artist, a musician, and a singer--among many other things, and when I was a little girl he was really into performing healing music with his band. Because they were a healing-focused group, the band performed lots of benefit concerts. It was around this time that my dad wrote a song for me and my younger sister, “In A Child’s Eyes.” The day he recorded the piece in the studio, I happened to be there, and I ended up with my first debut as a performer on the recording. Giggling gleefully and chatting with my dad in the last few seconds of the song, I had no idea where it would lead. Everyone LOVED it and thought we would be the next successful family band. My dad, in all of his wisdom, thought it would be a stupendous idea to recreate the song on stage at his next concert. But here’s the thing--I was four (or five maybe), and not prepared at all for a crowd of over 100 people watching me perform. I completely freaked out. And when the moment arose for me to go on stage and sing with him, I hid behind a vending machine in the lobby--I still remember crouching behind the neon green box, with Sprite plastered all over it, so he wouldn’t find me. Thank the Lord, my two-year-old sister saved the day, and went on stage that night; launched a lifelong interest in musical performance. I resented that moment for years. I felt rejected by myself and my Dad. Every time my father would ask my sister to sing with him and not ask me, I felt it a little more. Then, in my twenties--yes, I held onto that for a just 15 short years--it hit me that the rejection I felt at the young age of five didn’t come from my dad, it came from me. I still remember clear as day my dad’s disappointment and my feelings of rejection and loss at that moment. But as much as he could have acted differently, and I could have gotten on stage, I am damn grateful I didn’t. I spent the rest of my youth looking for the thing that was my calling, and because I was so driven to ‘find my thing’ I found it! For me, self-expression comes from being a writer--and I will be forever grateful that this has been my calling!
Jumping forward; my recent conversations about being rejected got me thinking. Should the feeling of and act of REJECTION be considered such a bad, horrible and lowly occurrence? I, for one, don’t think we are treating rejection with the proper emotion and support.
As a society maybe we shouldn’t tiptoe around the topic and try to soothe someone’s ego when they get let down. In fact, rejection (based on my experience) is a blessing--not most of the time--all of the time!
If you don’t give a child a toy they really want because they have five others just like it, does their perceived rejection mean that they should have gotten the toy? As an adult, you have a perspective based on more maturity and understanding about life that a child must learn over time. And while a crying-fit might ensue, that choice on their behalf is the best choice for them. It allows their mind to grow and creates space for the realization that they will survive without a toy.
Same is true for adults, in my humble opinion. Rejection happens for the best reasons, not the worst. If you don’t get a job you REALLY want, the truth is that it wasn’t meant for you. Maybe the person interviewing you would be a complete biatch to work with, and you just saved yourself a buttload of heartache by not getting that job.
So then why don’t we congratulate each other and throw a party when the universe steps in and steers our path in a different direction than what we had planned? I for one, want to make that shift and live in the land of what could be not what should have been.
Anyhow, with that in mind. I’d like to share some of the ways I’ve learned to turn rejection into a positive outcome in my life--because obviously I have had lots of practice and am now an expert. 😉
A Good Cry Helps
First and foremost, just because I’m sitting here on this soapbox sharing my two cents on rejection being a positive thing, doesn’t mean that being rejected on any front feels good. Disclaimer: I am a crier. I cry at the drop of a hat. It was even worse when I was pregnant--my dear husband can attest to this fact, but in most emotional moments, I ball my eyes out! Sometimes I just need that opportunity to let out all the emotions that are pent up, and then I can totally move on. If this method doesn’t work for you, find something that does! Mediation, a glass of wine, night-out-with-the girls, whatever. Just do something to unwind all of the pent up energy.
Call Your (Positive) BFF
You know who I’m talking about. It’s that wonderful friend that lights up the room when he or she walks in, always has an uplifting take on any situation, and listens to YOU instead of making the whole conversation about themselves. That’s the person to help you take the moment of grey skies and rejection you’re feeling and help you find a few rays of sunlight. Whatever you do, don’t try and grieve with a negative-Nellie. Even if it’s your partner, mother or another bestie. A negative outlook will feed your feelings of loss and NOT help you see where the benefits in your current trajectory lie!
Make A List
First, make a tear-filled, anger-fueled list of the things you will not see come to fruition because of the rejection you are currently experiencing. You can then throw that list away--or if you have more of a sadistic streak, you can burn the damn thing! You’ll feel so much lighter once that junk is out of your system. The write a list of things you are still doing well have accomplished and still want to do! If you applied for a job at the top marketing agency in the US and didn’t get it, well, list all the other amazing businesses out where you could get an amazing job. If you wanted to lose 30 pounds and only lost 10, list out the things you can keep doing to continue your weight loss journey. In times of rejection, I implore you, DON’T GIVE UP...instead, DIG IN!
Ultimately, once you’ve processed the rejection you’re feeling, it will be time to move on. Nothing says ‘eff you’ better than living a happy life, in spite of all the adversity and challenges you are bound to face. Are there going to be moments of wallowing and licking your wounds? Of course. But no one can put you in a corner (thank you Grease), unless you let them. So you didn’t get that book deal, job, audition, marriage proposal, etc. So what! Does your life have to be defined by those objectives, or can you set new ones?
Make The Most Of It
At the end of the day, to me rejection means just one thing: you are being given a gift. A gift that was forced on you, but necessary. It’s the universes way of saying, “Hello! You are headed in the wrong direction! It’s time to change course.” So make the most of it. I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes, because why not. It’s an inspiration kind-of-day. You’re welcome.
“A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” - Bo Bennett
Interested in writing a guest blog? Shoot me a message! I’d love to share your story!