“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~ Maya Angelou
It happened again today. I submitted an article that was turned down.
At first, that familiar feeling came back; lump in my throat, shortened breath.
The thoughts started swirling:
You’re not good! You’re going to embarrass yourself. Stop writing!
Yet, just as my ego was about to wreak internal havoc with its self-deprecating nonsense, my sweet Spirit swooped in to save the day.
G, you got rejected. You were turned down. Yes. Now you have the opportunity to ask why, so that you can get better. This is part of your dream — to be the best you can possibly be at what you’re doing. Congratulations!
Oh, and FYI, no one said it was going to be a smooth process. Laugh about it instead, okay?
I took a deep breath. Spirit: 1. Ego: 0.
So, I did just that. Instead of tumbling down a rabbit hole of self-criticism and despair, I asked for feedback and received it. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t cringe while reading over the reasons why my piece was un-publishable, but it was super helpful and, for that, I’m grateful.
Rejection (along with failure) is a powerful, beautiful experience to have because it breaks, cracks, pushes and pulls us; it stretches us in ways that make it impossible to return to our original dimensions.
We’re forced to look inward, re-evaluate our decisions and ultimately decide how badly we want fill-in-the-blank goal.
Yes, it hurts; but it doesn’t have to. Rejection is an experience. That’s all. When we choose to embrace it as an experience, as opposed to a measurement of our worth (because it totally isn’t), we begin to view it as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.
We’re going to get turned down. It happens to everyone. That’s not the part that defines us or our work. Our reaction to the rejection and our drive to keep going is what will ultimately allow us to grow into the people we truly are.
Each one of us is worthy, capable and powerful beyond measure — always.
No matter what.
Therefore, to be rejected has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with your particular growth path. It’s part of the deal, how your unique soul was intended to grow in order to get you to where you need to be.
It also helps to keep in mind that there is always a reason behind the perceivedNo.
No is actually just the Universe’s version of Not yet, there’s something coming that’s way better suited for you or There’s a lesson here. The Universe has your best interest at heart. Therefore, every experience that we have is to our advantage.
There is always something to gain, especially during the most challenging times.
It wasn’t too long ago that I was applying for jobs at different NGOs and law firms. I had a pretty solid résumé and good rapport with my interviewers, yet I literally heard nothing… from anywhere.
After a few agonizing weeks of compulsively checking my e-mail, I took a break from the job hunt and swapped it for a period of deep introspection instead. I started reading a crazy amount and involved myself in projects that called to my soul.
In the words of Joseph Campbell, I followed my bliss. And, just like that, things started happening.
Taking a break was not part of my plan (I’m disgustingly Type A), yet it changed my entire trajectory for the better. I’ve now tossed my former plans out the window and am creating a life purely from Spirit.
If I had gotten one of the jobs I thought I had desperately wanted, I wouldn’t be where I am, energy shooting through my fingertips, as I write a piece that’s begging to be born. There is no other path I’d rather be on.
Rejection, shockingly enough, played a huge role in the process.
As a society, we automatically ascribe negative connotations to the terms rejectionand failure; however, we’ve created these words and their implications. Therefore, we can just as easily change the way we view them. It begins on the individual level.
The power lies in the realization that we have the ability to choose how we want to perceive these experiences.
Ego is going to freak out, regardless. The question is, will you listen to the voice that tells you you’re not worthy (psst, it’s lying) or will you choose to disengage from the negative self-talk and accept the situation as an opportunity for growth
Let’s be real — acceptance just feels a whole lot better!
Therefore, accept the doubt, uncertainty, frustration and unavoidable pangs in your chest at receiving the dreaded Thank you for your submission/application/interest. Unfortunately… These feelings are merely part of the experience. Feel them, let them go and keep moving forward.
Life is just giving us another chance to be brave.