Be honest, you’re terrified of being rejected.
The dream job you’ve been waiting for all your life. And the reply email with the clichéd response, “Thank you for your interest in writing for…Unfortunately, we will not be able to move forward with you due to…” The University you have your heart set on attending. “We regret to inform you have not been accepted into the Medical program at____________”. The guy you’ve been crushing on in English class. “Um, I’m flattered that you like me but I don’t feel that way about you.” Your heart…the floor…stomped. Rejection from a company or a school or a friend or a family member or a guy or anyone else can be the most heart-wrenching experience for a gal. So much so that you might begin to feel like an insignificant fraud and lose all motivation to live courageously.
The bad news? You’ve got it all wrong. The good news? You’ve got it all wrong! Rejection is not the evil gremlin sent to destroy you; it’s the good angel sent to save you.
Here are 5 lessons I learned about rejection that have turned me from a scared and timid writer to a bold and joyful human being:
Rejection will not kill you
I’m serious, it won’t. I tested it; I lived. Once you’ve gotten that rejection letter from a school (or in my current case, the rejection emails from blogs/online magazines) and after you’ve balled your eyes out in sadness, you find yourself at the end of the day ALIVE. Rejection helps you come to the realization that contrary to what you might have thought, you’re one tough cookie. Rejection builds resilience.
Rejection Makes Your Story Rock
Think of all the really cool and inspiring stories of people in history and in our lifetime – you’ll find it tough to find one who wasn’t rejected. Think of Thomas Edison – he had over 1,000 wrong tries before he finally created the light bulb (imagine being rejected by a light bulb). Think of Jack Nicholson (I loved his “Joker” in the original Batman) – he auditioned to be a member of the Actors Studio 5 times before he was accepted. Five. Think of Stephen King – his most renowned and first book, Carrie, was rejected by publishers thirty times. Thirty! Think of Walt Disney – he was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because his editor said he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. (I bet one of your favorite movies as a child was a Disney movie; mine was Cinderella.) Think of J.K. Rowling – She received 12 rejection letters for Harry Potter before it was picked up for publishing. (The seven Harry Potter books have collectively sold over 500 million copies since publication of the first book in 1997.) All the really exciting folks in history have really awesome rejection stories. If the past is any indication of the future, you should be excited to receive your next rejection.
Rejection Proves You’ve Got Courage
It means you had enough cojones to put yourself and/or your work out there for people to see and judge. It means you went beyond your fear of rejection and acted in faith anyways. It means you are fully present in life and experiencing the joy of living in each opportunity, whether the outcome makes you happy or sad. It means you’re one of the brave ones.
Rejection Destroys Ego
That’s a good thing. There is nothing more unflattering on a person than arrogance and pomp. Rejection reminds you that you’re not the greatest that ever lived and that you can always use a slice of humble pie. Remember, self-righteousness is a SIN.
Rejection Promotes Practice
Rejection reminds you that you always have room for improvement. As a writer, I should write consistently, continue learning about the craft of writing, and continue developing my skills as a writer. And the same goes for my work as a coach and a speaker. I should make it a lifelong habit to continue improving. And so should you in any craft that captures your heart. Rejection reminds you of the good ol’ saying, “practice makes perfect”.
The more you get rejected, the easier it becomes to deal with it and the less of a negative effect it has on your psychological and emotional well-being. It becomes an acceptable part of your life. There is NO ONE who has ever achieved great feats that wasn’t rejected. It motivates you to put even more effort into your life/your craft, and reminds you that rejection does not mean an end to your great life unless you let it mean so.
So, my question to you is what rejection have you been afraid of that has crippled you from going after what you want? Who rejected you in the past that made you doubt your self-worth and potentially great future? Make the decision to embrace the rejection (tears and all) and keep on thriving in your life. Don’t allow rejection to stop you from success. Remember, the rejection is just an added ingredient that, if used properly, will make your life story FASCINATING.
Photo Credit: fancy.com.hr
Adaeze Diana Obiako is a freelance writer, copy-editor, speaker, and vision coach who helps young Christian women feeling depressed/hopeless discover who they are and why they exist so that they can learn how to enjoy more fulfilling and fruitful lives. She blogs about the spiritual lessons she’s learned at www.deserveyourgreatlife.com. You can follow Adaeze on Twitter and Google+.