After sitting in my drafts for a bit I’ve yet to come up with any new, profound points about experiencing and consequently rising above rejection. I’ve also been temporarily paralyzed by my (most recent) personal meeting with rejection. Hopefully I avoid sounding like a whiney millennial because… none of those are here right now.
In the last two weeks I made it to the final round of candidates for a dream position of sorts, had quite the encouraging interview (with encouraging activity from the interviewers), and waited for a week in high but realistic spirits. A week later I was smacked in the face with the most generic rejection email. It was almost as though I had never talked with anyone affiliated with the organization. I refreshed my inbox several times to insure I did not read the message incorrectly. But of course, there it was, the rejection just comfortably sitting there–mocking me.
It’s almost comical how many instances of rejection we will experience in our lifetime. That little girl didn’t want to hold your hand in the sandbox. Your body rejected your first navel piercing. The girl with a constellation of freckles (damn I’m sounding like Thought Catalog…) and honey eyes politely rejected your offer to take her on a date. Your professor rejected the topic for your final paper. Your dream job and others like it send you a sugary coated e-reject on a weekly basis. The list infinitely continues. Rejection is the gift that keeps on giving (among the other “gifts” that keep on giving). Yes, it is a gift if you take the necessary steps and use it as a catalyst for growth and success!
Here are my steps:
Step 1 is a completely natural response to disappointment and should not be skipped. After every other failure comes back to haunt you, I think it’s appropriate to spend a short amount of time acknowledging your sadness. What a great way to remind yourself that you have feelings, meaningful goals that you would like to accomplish, and have made efforts to reach them.
I find myself suspended in step 2 whether or not I’m going through the stages of rejection. I know my generation is supposedly stuck in the “existential vacuum” and I am completely corroborating that notion. However, existential does not necessarily equal nihilistic, apathetic, or lazy–which are additional terms that often get thrown into the vortex of immobile millennials.
Step 3 is somewhat like a passive rebellious phase for me. My mind begins conjuring up images of me traveling to exotic destinations and being transparent; rejecting western values, corporate America, and the white picket fence portrait (Note: I already generally reject these notions to lesser degrees). Ultimately, I am all bark and no bite.
Alas, the light at the end of the rejection tunnel reveals itself as step 4 slaps you back into reality. Your friends and friendly strangers are there bandaging your wounds, giving you lollipops, and offering you all kinds of next steps that never even crossed your mind. Confidence regenerates and you’re feeling stronger than ever. You even appreciate the rejection because with it came experience and evidence that you are trying to level up in life.
Leveling up requires the final step of getting back out there. Change your approach and typical patterns that seem to result in rejection. Maybe there’s a different strategy or perspective you did not consider because it’s unfamiliar to you. Tweaking your routine will yield other results and get you one step closer to that life goal.
This is the simple way in which I experience rejection. I probably sound dramatic but it’s not my fault because I’m involuntarily hyper-aware of my emotions. Embrace rejection. You were rejected for a reason so kindly thank the Universe for nudging you in more correct directions.