One of the hardest lessons for me to learn was how to bounce back from rejection and setbacks, and still keep going.
When I talk about rejection, I mean in all forms: relationships, friendships, work, business, finances – basically anytime something hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to.
I came across this Instagram post by Gary Vaynerchuk:
I think he sums up rejection beautifully when he says the fear of rejection comes from our insecurity. Our insecurity is fuelled by feeling that we are not good enough, don’t deserve something and we won’t be liked or loved. The truth is rejection is an inevitable part of life – we will all face it at some point in our lives.
A great example of rejection for me has been dating. I used to get really upset when I would start dating a guy I really liked and be looking forward to our next date, but then he would lose interest?!
I would start thinking things like “what did I do?”, “maybe I was too much…or too little?” or “why doesn’t he like me?”, when in actuality I hadn’t done anything wrong, he just didn’t like me and, that was okay. I mean, how many guys had I ‘rejected’ over the years? Loads!
So why was I surprised when it happened to me?
When I look at things from this perspective, it seems very silly that I would get upset over guys ‘rejecting’ me when I was doing exactly the same thing!
I think this is true for all types of rejection: we are so busy focusing on how badly being rejected makes us feel that we lose sight of what the rejection actually means. Of course, we have every right to be upset when things don’t go our way, but wallowing in the rejection and feeling sorry for ourselves doesn’t help us at all.
Being rejected gives us the opportunity to reflect on a situation and figure out whether something (or someone?) is actually for us. If so, we can redefine and change our strategy or approach. And if not, we can bow out gracefully with the understanding that not everything (nor everyone) is for us.
As an inventor, Edison made approximately 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” How we experience rejection isn’t actually about the rejection itself, but rather the meaning we choose to give it.
Once we understand and accept that rejection is a part of life, we become more resilient and are able to bounce back quicker, and move closer to achieving our dreams and goals in all areas of our lives.