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How to Deal with Rejection

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller

Recently, I’ve become acutely aware of the fact that we all have walls which we put in place, often subconsciously, in an effort to protect ourselves. While it feels like these walls keep us safe from harm, in reality they are actually blocks standing in our way of receiving and attaining what we truly want. I used a personal example of one of my blocks in my blog on insecurities. I was having difficulty feeling inspired to write because I felt like no one was going to care. The wall in this scenario was that I was caring too much about what other people think. I’ve had this wall up for as long as I can remember. This wall was put in place to protect me from getting hurt by other people’s opinions and criticism of me. But, I overcame that hurdle through realizing that the only person’s opinion that I need to care about is my own. This week however, I was faced with the same problem of having writer’s block. If I had removed that wall that was causing my writer’s block, what was still the issue?

Well, we have many walls that act as barriers for us. We may make progress by breaking down one wall, which gets us closer to opening ourselves up to vulnerability and to taking risks. But, sometimes there are still a few more walls that we have to tear down before we are completely ready to move forward. In my efforts to be introspective and self-reflective, I tried deciphering what other blocks were keeping me from writing effortlessly and freely. I started feeling overwhelmed thinking about how in the world I’m going to eventually write a book, when I’m presently only spitting out one blog a week. I just couldn’t link in my mind how I was going reach that end goal and was feeling judgmental about the minuscule, baby steps that I’m making now.

It then dawned on me that the underlying fear, the wall blocking my path, the feelings of inadequacy surrounding my efforts to achieve my goals, was a fear of REJECTION. It all suddenly clicked. I was having writer’s block because I had subconsciously put that block there to protect myself from rejection. What would happen if I could write easily and freely? Well, I would move further along on my journey and continue to make progress towards my writing goals. That would mean that eventually the time would come to start sending out my work, subjecting my writing to be judged and critiqued by others, and also possibly rejected. By having a wall, by having writer’s block, I was essentially protecting myself from rejection.

I have experienced rejection so many times in my life and it never gets less painful. I had a therapist once tell me that my sensitivity to rejection was far beyond the average person’s. When I get rejected, I am absolutely crushed. The reason why rejection is so agonizing for us is because we have a tendency of personalizing it. When I was younger and dating, whenever I was involved with someone who didn’t want to commit to me, I interpreted the rejection as something that was missing or lacking in ME. However, now that I’m older and wiser I can clearly see that the decision was due to something that was missing in the guy! If someone is not willing to call you their girlfriend, it is because they lack the emotional maturity to handle commitment.

In the scope of career, I have experienced rejection more times than I can count. There have been periods of my life where I’ve been unemployed for months, times where I couldn’t land a single job interview, and let me tell you—the job hunting process is not for the faint of heart. You have to acquire determination and learn how to process disappointment without losing hope because you never know, the next job opportunity could be the one that you land. When I was younger, I would internalize the rejections and question what I didn’t have as candidate that the chosen ones did. But now, I realize that closed doors are closed for a reason and the right door will open for you at the right time. You know the saying, “don’t go barking up the wrong tree”? Sometimes, we aren’t aware that the trees we are barking at are the wrong trees for us. So, the universe will then step in to show you in its own way.

A personal example is when I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to get different marketing job, even when all the odds were in my favor such as having a contact at a company, a personal in. Several months later, I realized that I didn’t even want a marketing job. I decided that I wanted to take another stab at having a writing career and started looking for serving jobs for temporary income. Almost immediately, a job fell into my lap and I interviewed for it and was hired on the spot. That was the right door for me and the universe showed me that I was barking up the right tree.

All of us experience rejection in life. Some of us take it to heart more than others, some of us experience it more than others, but rejection remains to be a wise teacher for us. Rejection teaches us self-love, determination, and it thickens our skin. It also forces us to develop COURAGE. Getting back up after you’ve been knocked down so many times is not only hard to do, it can be scary. But, if you never get back up, if you never subject yourself to the possibility of another rejection, then you'll also never have the chance to have something great. If you just gave up on dating, if you just gave up on getting a job, then you are guaranteeing yourself that you won’t get the right partner or a new job. We have to be brave and face what scares us most, in order to attain what we truly want in life.