Facing rejection. Ugh.
It isn’t easy, seldom graceful, but it is doable.
The lessons of rejection come in many forms: a school denying your application, a relationship ending, a job opportunity that someone else got, a lack of emotional availability, an omission of a compliment, a conversation that ends too abruptly, and so many more!
The common thread that tends to permeate every experience of rejection is impossible to ignore: the deterioration of your self-worth.
That’s the most dangerous part about experiencing rejection.
You internalise it. Make it about you. Tell yourself a story about how you aren’t good enough.
But that’s simply not true.
Because you’re always worthy, you are always enough.
When I applied to graphic design school after junior college and was rejected, I was devastated.
I took it very personally, and I felt like it cut me loose from a coherent plan for my life.
I spent the next few years fumbling around, not really deciding or choosing anything because I was afraid of being rejected again.
Afraid of being “deemed worthless” again.
The slew of self-defeating thoughts I had immediately after finding out I didn’t get it entered my psyche and made a home for themselves there.
And they stayed with me for years as I catered to the insidious shame-narratives that ate at my soul.
It took me years to learn how to deal with rejection in a constructive manner.
One of the pivotal things I learned about myself is that I almost always took the responsibility and the blame for the rejection.
Because it was easier to think that I wasn’t good enough than it was to deal with the reality of it just not being right for me.
The one action that I deem as incredibly significant and relevant to a positive response to rejection is setting intent – before finding out about the rejection, if possible, is best.
Inhale and set your intention to be at peace with whatever happens.
This helps you to close your mind to the wave of negativity that so easily surges up when you experience rejection.
Choose to listen to that deeply rooted, yet so subtle it’s easily missed, gut feeling that’s telling you you’re going to be okay.
Maybe this wasn’t the right time, the right place. Maybe this just wasn’t for you.
Because you may not have a choice in what others do, but you have a choice in how you respond.
You don’t need to react to every thought and emotion that bubbles up.
You can simply notice them and not take any action.
When you do this, it becomes possible to exhale when you experience rejection and actually feel proud of your chosen response of radical acceptance.
Then you can reach out to your loved ones and let them know about the rejection you’ve experienced.
If you would have told me I would one day feel proud of myself and even satisfied in response to rejection, I would have fervently told you that isn’t within the realm of possibility, NO ONE could ever feel okay with rejection.
But this truly is the healthy and more sane response to rejection.
Facing rejection isn’t easy. It’s seldom graceful. But it is necessary and absolutely doable.
How do you deal with rejection?
What kind of rejection have you experienced in your life? Not being accepted into a school? A relationship ending?
How have you dealt with rejection in the past and has your response to rejection changed over the years?
How has rejection affected how you see yourself? Have you taken the blame for the rejection because it was easier than dealing with the reality?
How would you like to deal with rejection?