Rejection...just saying the word makes my stomach hurt. As an artist, I know all too well the sting of rejection. “Dear Deane, We are sorry to inform you...” No matter how eloquently a rejection letter is written, it still hurts. And I immediately shift into that “I am not good enough mode.”
Rejection is an unavoidable, universal experience. The key to it is how to react when it happens. For me, rejection can lead to a new path and be a bridge to a new direction. I won’t know until later if it’s the right path, but I am willing to find out. Rejection can open up unknown opportunities and also reinforce priorities. Because I am stubborn, I don’t like to learn new things or take an unexpected path. However, rejection can be a gift to learn more about myself and to figure out what’s most important. Life doesn’t always go my way, but it always goes some way. Just because the road diverged, doesn’t mean it ended. Dusting myself off and finding that resiliency is hard but it’s the only way I will grow and find my direction.
Rejection is really a rerouting. Rejection removes the roadblocks so I can find my true path. There is redemption in rejection because it forces me to redefine my authenticity. Although I feel abandoned and alone in the immediate aftermath of being told no, there is rejuvenation in rejection. There is a reason for rejection, but unfortunately my default setting seems to tell me it’s because I am not good enough. How self defeating. I am so quick to assume the worst in myself and to see rejection as a personal failure. From a negative perspective, rejection communicates that I am not wanted, that I don’t fit in, that I don’t belong. Rejection is hard enough and then I add my own self loathing to it to further punish myself.
From a positive perspective, rejection leaves an emotional wound, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent one. Rejection means a risk was taken and that I had the courage to put myself out there. I have to keep in mind it’s a redirect, not a roadblock. It causes me to reevaluate my goals and desires. It shouldn’t restrict me, rather it should refocus me. It should motivate me to reformulate what I really want and cause me to reaffirm that desire. Rejection can encourage me to be resourceful as I reorganize and rediscover why I wanted something in the first place. It forces me to reintroduce myself to my big picture goal and intensify my resolve for getting there. There are rewards from rejection “rebound.” Instead of reducing me, it can invite me to redetermine what I really want and why. And along the way, I may rediscover some wonderful things about myself and re-emerge a stronger, more determined person. Rejection forces me to know my own truths and reaffirm that I am a resourceful, creative person who will find a way to reach her goals. I should not let rejection have the final word and be the reason I quit. I should let it be a renegotiation tool to reach my goal.
My inner critic will often add a dose of anxiety and fear to the mix. But fear is a good thing when seen through a positive lens. It means I am moving in the right direction. Growth requires a little fear and uncertainty. This mess of emotions and self doubt can become my message. Emotions are there as a result of an experience, meaning I showed up for something and I took a risk. And these emotions can be a call to action.
As I continue along my path as an artist, I realize I will have to keep taking risks and facing uncertainties. It can be uncomfortable, but can also be full of new possibilities and unknown opportunities. Taking chances means I am taking action and not surrendering to my fears and self doubts. Rejection can actually be the means to finding a greater purpose! So if I can resolve myself to keeping the big picture in mind, I will view rejection as a resourceful accessory to discovering my true path and not let it distract me from my genuine mission.