Although we all dread rejection, we each must face it several times in our lives. How we handle these situations can help to define who we are and set us on a brand new life path – for better or worse. Do you use rejection as an excuse to wallow in self-pity, or a chance to build resilience? Whether you let yourself be knocked down by it each time or consistently come back stronger than ever (and would like to keep doing so), it can be helpful to keep these surprising benefits of failure in mind:
Much like coping skills, determination is a quality that none of us enjoy practicing. However, it can be the difference between success and failure throughout your life. The best way to build determination is to face obstacle after obstacle and keep your eyes on the goal. If there are no obstacles to face, you will never get to build your capacity for focus and sense of resilience.
Because rejection is the ultimate setback, stinging us at not only an emotional level but a mental and even physical one, it is also the ultimate opportunity to build determination. The more you practice this quality consciously, in big situations, the more likely your determined nature will become an everyday habit and, eventually, a proudly treasured part of your personality.
Sylvia Plath once said, “I love my rejection slips; they show me I try.” If you have never been rejected, chances are you, unlike Sylvia Plath, are not pushing yourself very far beyond your comfort zone. It is only when we push ourselves to our limits that we realize how strong and capable we really are. We often must take great risks, such as the risk of rejection, in order to be rewarded in significant ways – a dream job, for example. Learn to see rejection as a sign that you are truly challenging yourself, and you will begin to re-frame the experience in your mind.
If you begin to see the rejection as a testament to your bravery, rather than proof of your inferiority, you will become more willing to risk being rejected in the future. By extension, you will be more likely to challenge yourself.
THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A FUCK
Find the Place Where You Belong.
Barbara Kingsolver expressed this idea beautifully. “This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package,” she said. “Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address’.” Although this idea applies to all rejection, it is particularly suiting for the ones that hurt us the most – romantic rejection, college rejection, and job rejection.
Chances are, if the party whose approval you seek decided to decline your admission/application/advances, they were not the right fit for you in the first place. Let them go. Use your determination, challenge yourself, and go after an even prettier girl or a better job. When you find yourself in the place where you truly belong, you may even look back at those rejections with gratitude.