Rejection, I feel, is one of those things that rears its ugly head in so many parts of life.
It maintains a solid foundation, but waves poisonous tentacles all over a person’s world, instilling a fear inside that prevents the free pursuit of a rich and fulfilling existence.
For me, as of right now, I have defeated its strength and power over me, and have developed an antidote for the poison it injects. But for many years, I was stopped dead in my tracks due to the fear of rejection.
I can think of two main areas in which rejection has played the biggest part in my life: relationships and academics.
I have seen the power that rejection has had over me and absolutely willed it out of my life. But trust me, this isn’t a process that necessarily concludes when you want it to. Sometimes the power of “hearing no” almost acts as abuse. Once you experience that initial bruising and hurt, the pain may never be alleviated.
Relationships, for me though, have been interesting. I have put myself out there to men and without a doubt, heard no. But over the years, I have learned to take that rejection not necessarily as a result of my own flaw, but merely as an opportunity for exposure and growth.
When I hear “I don’t think it’s going to work,” I have to respect that for the many reasons why. I can’t just assume that all of the reasoning has to do with me as a person. I feel like when the recipient internalizes rejection, that sets up a cascade effect of unhealthy patterns. For me, being proactive in a romantic pursuit can be accomplished by maintaining my reverence and respect for myself. Find the balance.
With academics, I came to my father crying because I had been turned down at a college that I really wanted to go to.
He looked me in the eyes, took my hands and said only, “Greer, rejection means you are shooting high enough. If you had been accepted everywhere, it would have meant you weren’t striving as high as you could.”
That put me in my place, and for the first time, I really and truly felt okay with No. And now that I have more years under my belt, I see that with all of the times I have heard “No,” I have also heard “Yes.” And I know that all of that brought me to where I am today.
Therefore, in my life I am not necessarily going to demand that everything I want to happen happen, but I must maintain the assurance that I made every effort I could to hear Yes. There will be no regret, no opportunities missed.
Does hearing a “No” mean you took steps back? Absolutely not, it doesn’t make you are any worse off, it just means that you are embracing vulnerability and turning your back on insecurity.
Editor: Brianna Bemel