Whether you have written a book and rejected by every publisher in town, or passed for promotion or forced to hand over your badge and leave the building — failed in an exam or experienced heartbreak, you know how it feels to get rejected. When you pine for something or someone and don’t get it. And how life after that feels unbearable and cumbersome. But you know what, rejection is a good thing. And you surely will agree with me, once you read why. So here goes.
Rejection makes you stronger.
Sounds ridiculous? Easy said than done? Cliched? Thing is, truth always is one of these. It’s funny, difficult and oft-repeated. You see if you look at yourself closely, you will find that everytime someone told you no or ignored you or broke your heart, you felt dejected and forlorn. But once you got through it, you became stronger. So hell yes, rejection does — make you resolute and tough.
Rejection isn’t the only thing about you.
When we are turned down, the only thing we end up thinking is how we were turned down. Nothing else seeps in, everything else stops mattering. Even though it’s natural to do that for a while, drowning oneself in self pity, anger or sadness can lead us to darker places. Like depression. And depression if not cured can kill. So don’t let a no define you. If you’ve been passed for promotion it doesn’t mean you haven’t done your best; if you’ve been rejected by a woman you wanted to marry — it doesn’t mean you won’t find love again. Remember, you are much bigger than a no and you must acknowledge and embrace this immutable fact.
Rejection tells who you really are.
Yup, it does. You discover your blind spots. You fight, you get bitter and upset — you shut down completely and stop responding to life around you — however you take rejection or react to it — it tells you about you. And even though it’s not a fun way of learning about oneself, it helps you grow as an individual and makes you confident about that one person you know well and can rely on…you.
Rejection is for real.
If you are living, which means you are trying and have stepped out of your comfort zone and taken risks or embraced opportunities which appear challenging, then you have definitely faced and handled rejection. I mean rejection is part of everything in life. Right from the gift you buy for your spouse that may get you a lukewarm response to being turned down by your closest friends, rejection is every where — in every single thing you do. When it comes to social interaction, making progress in life or simply pursuing your passion, you will have to learn to hear no and take it as a sign of living life to the fullest. Like J K Rowling, the woman behind the Harry Potter series says: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
So how do we deal with rejection when it hits us?
- Give in to rejection. Acknowledge it. Talk about it. Share it with the right people in your life. And once you’ve dealt with it and learnt from it, move on.
- Don’t take it personally. More often, rejection is about the person who is rejecting you and how you don’t fulfill their interest or need. It’s not about you. So don’t make it about yourself and lose your mind over it.
- Focus on what you can control. Like your response to rejection. Your emotions. Your actions. And behaviour. Chuck what you can’t control like your workplace, colleagues, your estranged fiancée. Focussing on yourself will help you feel in control and powerful, not weak and at the mercy of others.
Seasoned writers will tell you how they have over the years learnt to accept rejection with a pinch of salt. How their walls filled with rejection slips bear testimony to nays they’ve received over the years. And how that has made them nonchalant and determined to push further. It’s not only about writers, I mean senior professionals from any industry will tell you about the necessity to handle rejection and handle it well. They will tell you how after facing rejection nothing surprises them anymore. And how you become wiser by experiencing rejection.
Will you believe me, if I tell you J K Rowling too was rejected and ridiculed? Well, she was. Here’s proof.
So you see you’re not alone. And rejection is a big part of everyone’s life. We can’t stop doing something or give up on life because of rejection. We must move forward and keep doing — what we set out to do.