Denied. Rebuffed. Turned down. Dismissed. Swipe left.
Rejection. There are many different terms to express it, and none of them feel like a particularly good message to receive.
I’ve seen a lot of stories about rejection just this week. From JK Rowling posting her rejection letters as a way to inspire writers, to a man who made rejection into a game in order to conquer fears, to a woman who had a disappointing encounter with a teen idol. So many tales of rejection cropped up at once, that it got me thinking if there was any social significance. Perhaps this is a wake-up call to a society that is now so accustomed to instant gratification and demanding of recognition. A reminder that, like the Rolling Stones sang, “you can’t always get what you want.” Or, the universe exercising its muscle to remind mere morals of humility.
OK, fine, or maybe it’s a slow news week. Whatever. The theme of rejection is trending right now.
It was hard to read some of those articles. Embracing something negative like being turned down can be difficult to deal with. Whether we’re talking personal or professional life, it’s a straight up bummer.
From my life experiences, I’ve learned that in some instances it is also very hard on the person who is doing the rejecting. For example, I judged a well-respected conference bursary award for the past few years. It’s highly selective and decisions were often made after hours agonizing over who was the best fit for this substantial award. I was very cognizant of how the rejected applicants would feel, and therefore I took my role as judge very seriously. As bitter as some of those people may have been for not receiving that award, I do hope they realized how difficult it was to reject. In some instances, having compassion for the judgement makers can help lessen the blow of a negative result. Sometimes.
The other point that I wanted to make about rejection is that, in my opinion, any good rejection story is going to have some sort of inspirational silver lining. A door shuts, but a window opens – you know, that sort of stuff. That’s the point of it, really, is that life goes on and you need to keep going.
But, wait, aren’t you allowed to have any time to be upset about being rejected?
Oh, hell yes. Once, after receiving some news of rejection myself, I basically shouted through the phone at a friend every expletive I could think of in a nonsensical string of phrases. Well, not *at* that friend. That person was merely a sounding board absorbing my rant of swearing like a sailor for one hour. That’s friendship.
But, afterwards, I got myself together and moved on. I had some compassion for the decision-maker, I had some pity for myself, and then I had a new outlook with a fresh attitude.
You’ll come across rejection many times in your life. So, wash-rinse-repeat.
Don’t let rejection break you. Let it make you.