parenting

Rejection. Could it be a gift?

Rejection is a gift. Vidya Sury

Nobody’s a stranger to rejection. Each of us experiences it at some stage. Who hasn’t been scolded or criticized by a parent? I certainly have. Why, I’ve even had a parent walk out of my life. People we know, acquaintances and friends turn into hypocrites and become judgmental. Boyfriends/Girlfriends break up. Projects we put our life and soul into, come right back. Rejected. Throughout life, there are rejections and snubs. Why, the very word leaves a bad taste in the mouth. And the mind.

If childhood rejections hurt, the adult ones seem worse. There’s nothing worse than someone being sarcastic about something we care about. There are days when we feel so low that even the cab guy we hailed whizzes past without bothering to stop.

Oh yes. It all feels bad.

Yesterday, we spent almost all day planning and preparing a school project for a major school event. Schools from all over the region were going to participate. The project had to be carried to school and set up, so that a panel of judges could go around and choose the ones that would go on final display. The project turned out very well. The unspoken question in my son’s mind was – would his  be chosen? I don’t know how, but I could see the thought clearly in his head. Call it mommy’s intuition. I reassured him that it was perfectly okay to be rejected. Because it was not really rejection, per se. Obviously everyone who participates in a competition cannot win. Sometimes, participation is just as important.

And then, look at the learning experience. He learned an entire topic in depth, with statistics to boot.  But in spite of all that, when he returned home this morning he was a teeny bit sad that so much effort had gotten rejected.

That’s when I told him about reading somewhere about rejection being a blessing and how it is important to keep an open mind – think positive – you know what I mean. That didn’t really wipe the disappointment from his face, though, but I knew he would be okay in a little while. It only takes a little time to accept the fact.

I advised him to store his project carefully as it was likely to be useful later. No learning goes waste, anyway. So the teachers didn’t choose his project. So what? They are entitled to their views. They made their choice.  In life, we too make choices all the time.  Some choices result in rejection. If we take it personally, it hurts. A lot.

Making our own choices

But we can control how we feel by not taking it personally.  We have to accept other peoples’ choices. My grandmother always staunchly believed in “karma” – that whatever happens, happens for a good reason. I used to get so mad at her when she said that, especially when I was smarting over a particular incident. She would say rejection is a gift sometimes. Rejection, most of the time, is not personal. Convince yourself of that, and you may deal with it in a much better way instead of letting it pile up as emotional baggage.

Often, rejection has more to do with the other person and his or her inner issues. Rethink some of the situations you’ve felt bad about in this light and see how you feel now. Think about these statements:

  • We can’t control other people’s actions. Their choices are theirs, based on what they feel and what they want.  What we can do is change how we interpret their choice and our response to it.
  • Rejection could very well be an opportunity for growth. The suffering is real. Those wounds must heal. We can choose to learn from the experience and grow. Move on. Why doubt yourself?
  • Don’t reject yourself. You are your best friend. So learn to love yourself and accept yourself first. Obviously it feels bad when someone walks away from you. But it feels a little less bad if you love yourself. Nobody can love you as much as you do. That mourning can be shorter and less life-shattering. Feel at peace within. Let people say what they want. Appreciate their honesty. Try to smile through it. Shrug. Get on with your day.

Vidya Sury love-yourself

See rejection as a gift – because if you really think about it, you may be better off being rejected. It definitely opens up avenues for new experiences, better friends, better partners, happier events. Think of it as an experience with truth. How exciting is it to cling to someone who does not care or respect your feelings?  Be grateful to them for letting you go. It is a lot of time and energy saved – time and energy you could devote to pleasanter things.

Isn’t it better to be told upfront than to live in a make-believe world where things are not what they seem?

Reflect, and change your attitude towards rejection. All rejection is not bad. When you don’t take it personally, rejection is a different color. Don’t take it to heart.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking am crazy, that what I just said is easier said than done. I want to assure you that it works. It takes effort, though.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments, your opinion.

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    S.R.Ayyangar
    September 22, 2011 at 4:27 am

    Being a writer, I had several rejections of my articles not only during initial period but even now but that rejection should not put us in depression mood. In fact rejection is to polish more …to shine later in life.

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    September 22, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Mr Ayyangar, you expressed it very well. If we allow it, every little thing can hurt. 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

  • Reply
    Dionna @ Code Name: Mama
    September 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Such wise words! I’ve been thinking about this lately with respect more to anger – I cannot control how/why a person becomes angry with me, but I can control how I respond to *them*. And as you said with rejection, anger stems from the other person’s issues, it may not necessarily be entirely my responsibility.
    Thank you for making me see it from a different angle!

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    September 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Dionna, thanks for your comment. It is very hard not to personalize certain issues 🙂 especially when you’re angry. I know it too well. The “unfairness” is painful. Big hug to you.

  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    September 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    “See rejection as a gift.”
    Vidya, Yes, Rejection hurts, but I’ve found (especially in the writing world) that rejection has caused me to spur forward & become better, more aware, sharper…. One needs to BELIEVE in one’s self. If we do…That is everything.
    Great advise. Xx Kisses for you.

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    September 23, 2011 at 3:11 am

    @Kim, I always love your spirit. Have I told you I find you very inspiring? I have friends who are cynical about “positive thinking” but without at least some degree of it, how to survive?

    Hugs to you.

  • Reply
    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog
    February 4, 2012 at 1:01 am

    I have to admit after reading this I realized that in fact I have gone on to do some really awesome things because of rejection.  It was all for the best!  It sort of frees me to do my next thing now upon realizing what a blessing it can be!

    Mahalo for the perspective!

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    February 4, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Awesome, Jt.  Rejection is a blessing. I think we’re lucky to have been encouraged by rejection. In fact, some of the most successful people are the ones who had a series of rejections before they rose to greatness. Thank you for your wonderful comment!

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    February 4, 2012 at 4:20 am

    I am happy you enjoyed the post, Paige. As bad as rejection feels, it can fuel our desire to excel. But so many people find it hard to take it in that spirit – especially when the person rejecting them or their work adds some nasty words. It takes a very strong person to break through that mental block and see it objectively. 

    Thank you for the beautiful comment! 

  • Reply
    Paige | simple mindfulness
    February 4, 2012 at 1:35 am

    As you’ve said so well Vidya, rejection is simply a choice made by someone else and we can’t control other people.  It has nothing to do with us.  Many times rejection is a wonderful thing because it challenges us to push past our current comfort zone and become a greater person.  I like to see rejection as a challenge to improve myself.  It’s truly a gift from someone else.  Thank them for the opportunity.  And thank you for the beautiful message, Vidya!

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