On the Road to Happiness… Dealing With Rejection
It is not the rejection itself that people fear, it is the possible consequences of rejection. Preparing to accept those consequences and viewing rejection as a learning experince that will bring you close to sucess will not only help you to conquer the fear of rejection, but help you to appreciate rejection itself. — Bo Bennett
How do you handle rejection? Does it make you afraid, scared to try again? Does it paralyze or catalyze you? Do you take the time to learn?
Yesterday I had an experience where I felt completely rejected, for real for real, I would probably call it a dejection how bad it felt.
If you could imagine the jolt of being pushed off a plane while you were still talking to the captain, coupled with all the feelings of WTF atop the reality that no matter what just happened or why, you still had to land; then you can understand an experience I had yesterday.
Surprisingly, I didn’t cry though. Last week I might have cried about it until I was blue in the face, instead I stood there and tried to process what happened.
I’ve been learning more and more that the universe responds to the energy you put into it. And yesterday I started an experience with defeatist energy. I felt like I had already lost and so, many of my actions fell in-line with that both consciously and sub-consciously.
Have you ever gone into a meeting where you felt like omg, how did I get here, am I good enough?
You see even if you don’t think that the person on the other side of the table knows you feel that way, most often they can because of the energy you put into the universe. Maybe it’s the way you answer their questions with a bit of a question mark at the end: are you telling them or trying to convince yourself?
Or maybe it’s personal and instead of saying or doing things based on your true feelings, you mask it behind random actions/expressions of sarcasm that make dynamics awkward and inauthentic. Only to turn around and say… see I told you he/she didn’t like me!
The concept of rejection can be self-filling and self-inflicted.
I’ve had times when rejection has catalyzed me into superwoman, like it unleashes the beast y’all.
But the learnings are best in those others times when it’s made me timid, trying to avoid landmines.
This morning I woke up feeling well rested, despite yesterday’s rejection experience. I’d hoped that today’s musing would be about rejection, but I wanted to ensure that I was channeling learning and not rushing the process.
I turned over to my phone and saw a text from my mom about a candidate and she said to me — she’s great, but how does she handle rejection? It was really pretty serendipitous.
It made me think about yesterday’s experience and how I had to handle my landing.
I could have gotten completely down by the shock of it. I could have gotten completely upset by the abruptness of it. I could have gotten turned around by it all. Instead I was proud of myself for being pretty calm. I was trying to make sure that I focused on my landing.
Did I want to crash into the ground or did I want to land as gently as possible? Which one was going to be better for me and my health? Landing softly meant I had to address the situation and remove layers of inauthenticity on the way down because the weight would have made the landing horrible. I had to listen with a focus on content because there were clues and instructions inside that if I rushed to judgement I might miss. But I also had to just fall and not claw the side of the plane trying to stay on, flailing my limbs wasn’t going to change the fact that I was already out in open air.
In doing this I heard things that didn’t sound like rejection. I learned things about my approach, I learned things about the other party. Things that in high emotion I could have just said “f it” to and chalked it up to their loss, you know how we do that because we don’t really want to learn what our role was.
If we didn’t get the job was it because we weren’t a good candidate or was it that the company had an internal change. If we didn’t get the contract was it because we weren’t qualified or was it because the company had to move forward with another one due to internal politics. Did we lose the client because they sucked or was it because our pitch didn’t really speak to their core needs. I think it’s important to not just write rejection off, but to try to learn from it.
I thought about all this as I meditated this morning. I said to myself:
I will handle rejection with grace, I will handle rejection with awareness, I will handle rejection in a way that allows me to learn important lessons.
If you are really putting yourself out there rejection in some form has the potential to happen everyday. Truly living means we have to find a way to deal with it so that not trying doesn’t become the default — because that’s not living at all.