Have you always gotten what you wanted? Have you never had to apply to several jobs to get your current job, or never had to go on many dates before you found love? Have you always achieved every goal or fulfilled every dream you had for yourself?
If you answered yes to all these questions, then perhaps this article isn't for you. However, if you're like most people I know, you have experienced some disappointments or rejection along the way. Things like not getting what you want, not being invited to an interview, not getting the deal, or not being accepted to the dream school or sports team are some examples of how we experience rejection.
Rejection sucks. It hurts. It feels personal and very uncomfortable. It is demotivating and hurts our ego, self-esteem, self-image, and challenges all those nice attributes we've manifested and which got us going. Rejection can crash our dreams and even make us lose faith.
I've experienced quite a bit of rejection in my life so far too, but really in hindsight, it was actually always an acceptance of a better option.
Here are five ways to see rejections in a positive light:
1. You are not ready yet
Especially during a job search, rejections are most likely to play a big role. You might send out hundreds of applications only to receive negative responses in your inbox almost on a daily basis, which are surely de-motivators and self-esteem eaters.
Have you actually ever asked yourself how this correlates with each other? The more you write, the less time and effort you can put into it, and the less focused you are. So how about changing your strategy and start reflecting on what you actually really want? This will help you find what you're really looking for and then the cover letter and job hunt will be a piece of cake.
See it like this: A tree has to be shaken in order to get its fruits.
2. There is something better waiting for you
As the Dalai Lama has said before: "Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck."
Yes, rejection oftentimes feels very personal. We start questioning ourselves, our abilities, past experiences and even others around us. How can you not if all you get is declines, date cancellations, or no responses at all?
Instead of self-rejecting yourself now, think of this phase as walking underneath a scaffolding. It's a little shaky and you might be scared, hesitant to keep walking, and wanting to give up because it could break down on you. However, you keep going because you can see the exit. Really, the only way to get out of it is to stay focused and patient. There is an end to it, and you'll reach it faster than you think.
3. There is something you still need to learn or realize before you get there
Forgive yourself and see it as a chance to re-focus. See it as a trial you have to go through in order to learn a lesson and be prepared for later. For example, receiving and dealing with rejections can be a great training for your professionalism, which is a very valuable and important skill for any future job.
Look at rejections like a sports competition. Each one is a new opponent who is challenging you to perform better and reach your actual potential. If everything in life was easy and went smoothly, we would never know our strength and what we were actually capable of doing in hard times. And we all know that no relationship, no job, and no organization experiences only positive and successful times.
As much as defeat or rejections don't feel good, they are just as necessary as victory and success. Only when you know what both feel like, you will be prepared and even more confident and grateful in your future job or relationship.
Or as Bo Bennett once stated: "A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success."
4. The timing is bad
Have you ever walked around in a foreign city without a plan and no map or guide to help you with directions? You kept walking although you didn't know where you were, but you just felt that you were on the right track to get to the place you were looking for?
Getting lost is actually important because it makes you listen more closely to your intuition again and builds your trust in your strength. Like when you went right instead of left in a foreign city, you might have to change the path or realign your strategy, but you will find your way to the destination.
We'll end up where we are supposed to be, at the right time -- no shortcuts, no manipulation of routes, and no matter how many detours we are taking. Think of how many very successful writers, actors, or business people have been rejected plenty of times before they finally succeeded. It's part of the game, so you might as well enjoy it!
5. Your ideal job/partner/place is not ready for you yet
Have you ever considered this one? It's funny how we tend to look for reasons or mistakes only within us instead of also changing our perspective and wondering about the "other side" as well.
How about you haven't been asked out by the nice person you had eye contact with at the grocery store, or you haven't gotten a job offer because your future partner or job simply isn't free, open, or available yet?
We really don't and cannot know all the reasons or circumstances for a rejection. All we can do is to know ourselves. So open yourself up, think about what you want, trust the process and never ever give up!
"Rejection isn't failure. Failure is giving up. Everyone gets rejected. It's how handle it that determines where you'll end up." -- Richard Castle