Rejection is hard
No matter how we try to explain it away, it hurts. It’s no wonder then that we do all we can to avoid it.
We avoid the people we feel are looking down at us. We avoid mistakes that would get us bashed on social media. We try to surround ourselves with people we feel would protect us against those who’d try to bring us down.
At the end of the day, however, we can’t help but receive some rejection. This is especially true when you’re a writer. You may submit your work to various publications only to be rejected by editors. You may also successfully publish your piece, but then you’re not exempt from rejection by critics that read your work.
Being Immune to Rejection
One coping mechanism you may try to develop is to be immune to rejection. Why not? What’s the use of being hurt over and over again?
Rejection may be so crippling that it could discourage you from doing your work. It could erode your self-esteem. It can even make you detest the very people who can help you improve your craft.
So you try our best to get used to it. When you think you’ve already gotten numb to every sort of rejection, you claim you’ve already succeeded in overcoming it.
What Happens When We Get Used to Rejection?
At first, we may find satisfaction with the fact that we’re no longer hurt by the rejections we receive.
If you’re a writer, you’re no longer affected whenever editors or literary agents refuse your work. You are then able to continue working to produce more and more as you’ve never done so before —you celebrate how productive you’ve become!
Later on, however, you may notice something slowly happening to you. You find dryness and lack of inspiration. You lose the initial momentum you felt you had. You’re no longer afraid to submit your pitch, but then you could no longer submit any.
The Necessity of Rejection
When you’re a writer, you can’t be disheartened by every rejection you receive. However, you can’t also just make yourself numb and lose all reactions to rejection. When pain is removed, all it does is increase our tendency to be complacent.
The hurt caused by rejection alerts us that something is wrong
It sends a signal that something unfavorable has happened to us. Hence, it prompts us to improve and to do our best so we can avoid such pain.
“Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt…” ― C.S. Lewis
Here are some areas where pain can serve us well:
- Pain alerts us of undue evil and makes us avoid circumstances that can cause us harm.
- Pain tells us that something is wrong and we can do something to improve the situation.
- Pain makes us more sensitive and develops our compassion.
Instead of trying to do away with the pain of rejection, why not try to make it work for you?
Here are some of the things you can do instead of numbing the pain away:
- Take a pause. Every rejection hurts, and you have the right to acknowledge your pain.
- Assess the situation. What was the cause of your hurt? Was it the natural effect of rejection? Was it something deeper? Are you being involved with people who can harm you?
- Plan your course of action. You may take measures to improve your self-esteem. You may think of ways to improve your craft. You may also look for other strategies to be successful in your line of work.
- Use your pain. Your pain may be telling you to avoid people that could harm you. Listen to it. On the other hand, you may use it to propel you towards your full potential as you listen to constructive criticisms about your work. If you’re a writer, you may use that pain as an inspiration for your next piece. Empathy and compassion are tools to help you write stories more readers could relate to.
Pain may test your courage, but it can also help you develop it. You can be like a warrior who does not lose heart even when he gets wounded. On the other hand, he lets his wounds urge him to conquer his fears and to finish the battle.
“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.”― C.S. Lewis
You may not see pain as a friend, but pain serves a purpose
You will know that it has served you well when it has helped you become the best version of who you are.