Reconciling with Rejection
The hardest moment in life comes right after a rejection. The rejection itself happens so swiftly and suddenly that you can barely comprehend it happening. It is only after, as we sieve through the images and sounds repeatedly, that we wonder why we weren’t enough.
There are two types of rejections. The big rejections (lovers, promotions, bank loans, colleges). The little rejections (not having your hand picked in class, not making varsity, being given the oboe in band camp). The rejections start to wear on us, so we pack on a thick layer of indifference to take the sting out of it.
But we don’t start of indifferent, do we? Have you ever seen preschoolers on their first day of class? The enthusiasm, volume and sheer excitement over every little thing is joyous, contagious and adorable. Compare that to a bunch of high schoolers who can barely put their pants on or stay awake through study hall.
What happened? How do we lose our joy in the space of 10 years? Why do we lose our joy? I am going to point the finger at the world—because somewhere along the way it told us, not to bother.
“Why should I bother singing? Charlie is such a better singer than I am. They always pick him.“
“I don’t have long legs. I won’t make track this year.”
And on and on it goes, because the external world doesn’t validate what brings us joy, we stop doing it. We don’t even bother doing it for ourselves. Somewhere along the way we begin to believe that if we can’t make a career out of it, there is no point in trying.
It also doesn’t help when successful people give TED talk’s about how they had trials and tribulations but after 30 days they became millionaires, or after they wrote their first book they ended up on Oprah. These are nice stories…but it only happens to 0.01% of the world. Does that mean the other 99.9% doesn’t have meaningful ideas and gifts to contribute to society? Just because we embark on a journey and don’t end up with a Disney-like ending after 90 minutes—doesn’t mean we should give up altogether.
So yes, you will get rejected repeatedly. You will fail 10 times more than you will succeed (in every aspect of your life: career, love, finance, recycling). Once you gather yourself together again. Also—I feel like I’ve forgotten this part, do take a moment to gather yourself. Mourn your loss, feel the weight of your disappointment. Take a week to wallow, wail, hit things and eat ice-cream.
But after all that, you have two choices:
1) Tackle life head-on with grit, delight and determination.
2) Slink off into the shadows and watch your life get smaller and smaller.
It is completely and utterly your choice. No one will make that decision for you. We are in an uncertain time, so dig deep within yourself and bring up some of those hobbies that once upon a time brought you much joy. Blow the dust off and begin again…