Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Rejection. Say that word out loud and notice how you feel. Most people will feel a queasiness in their tummy or some other form of anxiety. Or maybe it brings you back to a time, place, or person. Every single one of us on this planet will experience rejection of one kind or another. There is no avoiding it. How you react to it is another thing. The official definition of rejection is this: “the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc.”, and “the spurning of a person’s affections”. Those definitions are enough to cause anyone anxiety, but the reality is this. Rejection means “that one time, in one situation, with one person, things didn’t work out”, or did they?
Fear of rejection causes some to settle for that #safe job, person, place, or thing. It stunts #growth. It’s not living, it’s “settling”. When you are stuck fulfilling an obligation because you’re afraid of rejection, you are not at your best. That’s why we see people going from job to job, marriage to marriage, changing friends like they’re old socks, and moving to newer, bigger houses or apartments like never before in the history of our world. They think they are doing their best to be happy, but they are obviously failing miserably. What are they missing?
Some see rejection as failure. I know I used to. “Failure is a friend dressed up like an enemy”, says Jeff Goins in The Art of Work. I took every rejection personally no matter what the circumstances. It was awful. I never felt good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, rich enough, cool enough, on and on. I was never #enough. It was exhausting. Is that really any way to live? No, it’s not. If you want to keep moving forward, you’ve got to take action and try again. Sure, I could be rejected again and again, but what happens if I don’t try? Nothing!
Let me give an example. I am a lifestyle model and actor. The truth is models and actors face a lot of rejection, if we’re lucky. Yes, you read that right, if we’re lucky. There is something to be gained from every audition I am #honored to have. I #get to utilize the skills I have acquired through various classes, teachers, on set gigs, and auditions. An audition is practice! Be daring and take a chance to show your skills. If you get the gig, fantastic! If you don’t, it’s because “that one time, in that one situation, with that one audition, things didn’t work out”. Let it go and make a note of something you learned for the next audition. We can’t control what life throws at us, but we can control how we react to it.
I choose to view rejection as #redirection, because that’s what it is. Just because we want something or can do something doesn’t mean we #should. There’s something bigger at play, and that is the redirection. God wastes nothing. There is something to be gained from all that we do especially when it comes to redirection. Each setback, inconvenience, and frustration are more than what it appears to be. Sensible people reinvent themselves every ten years, Charles Handy once stated in an interview and the author of, The Age of Unreason. Are you listening to your life?
Think back to the first time you felt rejection. For me it was when I was the last picked to be on a team in the neighborhood. My neighborhood had mostly boys. It didn’t matter to me that I was a girl, usually the youngest and smallest, but it always made me work harder. I wanted to be better so the next time I wouldn’t be picked last. I tried to run faster, be smarter, quicker, funnier, “a good kid”, anything just to not be picked last. It didn’t always work, but I kept trying. This type of determination continued throughout my childhood and right on up until today. It’s made me a better person. I don’t mind working a little harder and smarter to succeed. In fact, I like it.
I’ve noticed that kids today are not taught how to handle rejection very well. When my children played sports, as much as it hurt me to my core at times (I remember crying myself to sleep a few times over their painful experiences), I tried not to provide too much comfort when it came to rejection. Sometimes I simply told them, I’m here for you if you want to talk while reassuring them, they would be okay. I did my best to redirect that pain by asking, what could we do better for next time? Same with their schoolwork. I never did their science projects or book reports. I left it to their own devices and if they failed, oh well. They got the same redirection. They may not have had the best grades, but they learned the value in working harder and smarter for next time. I am proud to say that both my sons have exceptional work ethics.
If we choose to look at rejection as redirection, we may be able to push through the fear of trying again a little quicker. Look for the lesson or silver lining in the rejection because there always is one. My personal favorite is realizing that God is saving me from something. If I didn’t get that gig, I really wanted, I choose to believe God has something better in store. Perhaps he saved me from someone or something, and I’ve seen proof of this time and time again. As I said earlier, God wastes nothing.
I am not trying to downplay the more serious symptoms that can come from rejection. Rejection can lead to trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, physical abuse, addiction, pain response and more. Anyone experiencing these types of symptoms should speak with their family doctor, a parent, a trusted friend or relative, or a licensed therapist for help dealing with these more serious reactions from rejection.
Looking at rejection as redirection will bring peace. It’s knowing that it’s not “you”; you ARE good enough. It’s just not the right time, place, person, or thing for you at this moment. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s like your spouse wanting pizza and you wanting sushi at that moment. You don’t hate pizza; you just don’t want it right now. You’d rather have sushi. I realize that’s a silly analogy, but my point being, it’s not about me rejecting my husband or the pizza. It’s about me not wanting pizza this “one time, in this one situation, with this one person”. He’s on a diet anyway so my redirection will help him in the long run.