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.
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.