Aaah, the universally feared ‘R- word.’ No, I’m not talking about ‘radiation’ (although it is also scary in its own right). No, my friends I’m talking about REJECTION.
Now, I’m not one of those people who say that they love the feeling of being rejected. I’m not delusional.
Rejection sucks. It hurts. Being rejected by someone, turned down for a position or by a school is an experience tailored specifically to reveal some of your deepest insecurities. It may even develop new ones. So, the idea of dodging rejection by avoiding vulnerable situations altogether is completely understandable. It seems like a full-proof plan to ensure a 100% probability to NOT fail. But there is one huge experimental flaw with this plan: your success rate also automatically drops to 0%.
Realistically, rejection and its effects are completely mental and emotional. If you never put yourself out there and be open to rejection, you do a great disservice to yourself. In sheltering yourself for fear of getting hurt, you are being deprived of truly enjoying life, reaching your potential, and finding passions. In order to develop layers of identity one must actively search for something that gives them meaning. Think about something in life that makes you feel genuinely happy and has become a part of you. In almost every case, risk was probably involved in the process of finding it. Whether that risk involved auditioning for a play, starting a conversation with someone, or signing up for an event that you never would have thought to, they all involve a risk and an eventual reward. In this process, hitting roadblocks is inevitable. However, this frustration of life also contributes to its imperfect beauty: the path of one person does not have to be uniform to that of another.
There is a big misconception about the people who we all look at and think, ‘I could never be like them. They have the best friends, life, grades...etc.’ The truth of the matter is that what you admire about them (whether you realize it or not) is not about whether the person has faced rejection before or not. It is about how they manage rejection and how they let that rejection affect them positively. You never see a person’s whole story. An experience in which flaws are exposed can be looked at as an opportunity to grow and better oneself.
The next time you get rejected, absorb it, get in your feelings, reflect and do what you feel you have to. Don’t ignore your feelings because they won’t just disappear. But after all this, the most important thing to do is conjure artificial optimism (if you can’t find the real thing). Eventually, the optimism will stop feeling forced, and one day success will not feel so far away. If you don’t allow rejection to have power over your state of mind, all it is is a slight delay in plans, and that is no reason to stop you from getting to your destination.
Now, I do realize that this is easier said than done. Especially if you are an overachiever like many often are, this is going to be even harder for you and despite accepting rejection, I still struggle with this sometimes. But for now, take baby steps. You don't have to rush off and seek out the things that scare you the most YET. For now, keep this all this mind and next time that you see a flyer for a job, opportunity to share your work in class, present, or apply for a position, or even just talk to someone that you’re afraid of, DO IT. Put aside the what if. And it might be awkward; it might hurt; you might hate it and feel the urge to run away and hide. But that’s ok. Try again.
The good thing about stepping out of your comfort zone: one day, the entire world will become part of it.
By: Hooria Haider