Rejection is probably the best thing that ever happened to you.
Or, how to discover your inner resilience.
I don’t think I know a single person who has not been rejected at some point in their life. Rejection sucks, everyone knows it. It stings and makes you question everything about everything. It’s pretty darn near impossible not to take it personally, at first anyway.
I’ve faced a respectable amount of rejection in my life, and I won’t lie, I’ve sent a fair share of rejection in the opposite direction as well.
Below is a brief overview of some of my favorite rejection moments:
- I have been laid off three times, once with only a few days of severance.
- I was “let go” over the phone before an all-day client meeting.
- I’ve been dumped four times, once within a few months of moving across country for that person.
- I haven't gotten the job more times than I can count.
- I didn’t get selected for the thing (whatever that thing was).
- I am sure I was picked last for kickball a handful of times.
- …and probably a million other horrible, awkward moments of my life.
My response to all that rejection?
Rejection is probably the best thing that ever happened to me.
Rejection shows you what you are made of.
I remember the amount of tears I cried after one particularly bad breakup. I looked at my reflection in the mirror and said to myself, “I am dead, I no longer exist.”
Pretty dramatic, no? There were no other words to sum up how I felt. But, look! I’m still here! I survived. That breakup forced me to rely on friends for support, and dig deep inside myself for solace. It eventually led me to discover yoga, a practice which has transformed me as a person inside and out. Yoga taught me the importance of being gentle and loving towards myself, all while helping me develop profound inner power.
When things fall apart, you will learn how strong you really are.
Rejection shines a light on the things in your life that you need to let go of.
Getting fired over the phone is honestly one of my favorite rejection stories. It sounds sensational, scandalous even. Whenever I meet someone that was also fired over the phone, we bond immediately (there is a surprising number of us).
I could say a lot about what a shitty move that was, but what’s the point? I was living in denial of the truth. I was miserable at that job and they probably knew it. I didn’t want to let it go because it was safe, easy, and comfortable (sometimes these are bad words!). Things got uncomfortable really quick once the rug got pulled out from under me, but it was the shot in the arm that I needed. It set in motion a chapter of massive personal growth, and more letting go than I have ever done in my life.
The more it hurts, the more you are freeing yourself of burdens that are weighing you down.
Rejection empties you out, and leaves you with your true essence.
When I think about my biggest rejections in life — relationships, jobs, creative pursuits — I think about the massive amount of tears I have shed, and I become grateful. A good cry is like letting a river of clarity wash over you, rinsing away the soul-deafening detritus of life. All that is left is the purest essence of your being.
You know that feeling when you just can’t cry anymore? You’ve hit the bottom of the well at that point. The only way out is up. Finally. You get to go up again, unfettered and unencumbered, with free will.
An emotional purge reveals something beautiful within you.
Rejection sets revelations in motion.
That bad breakup I mentioned earlier? About a dozen years later, friendship still intact, we went on a road trip and talked for days about all the rejections that we’ve been through, including the one we shared. We laughed, we reflected, we stared off into the landscape and pondered life’s big questions.
That rejection, like so many others in the rearview mirror, ended up becoming a sacred gift. A gift of witnessing my own transformation, and of seeing my innate ability to recover and evolve.
Recognizing resilience within yourself gives you strength. It reminds you that life is a series of messy stumbles, followed by a series of uplifting moments. You learn that it will almost always turn out ok. You will survive.
Discovering your own resilience is a revelation in itself.
If you’re in the midst of rejection right now, I hope some of these thoughts help you out. There is that old saying, “This too shall pass.” It’s true. Everything comes to an end, and everything begins again.