The Rejection Refrain

by Ginger on June 12, 2012

in Becoming Myself

I’ve been dealing with a fair amount of rejection lately. Rejections on things I’ve put myself out there for with excitement, or nerves, or fear, or hope.Rejections on my writing, on my professional services, on my opinion.

Rejection sucks.

Even when it’s been expected, there’s nothing quite like that moment when you first find out that you’ve been passed over. When you read or hear the words “we’re sorry, but…” and your heart drops and your breath catches in your throat and you will yourself not to cry.

I’m 32 years old, I’m not new to rejection. I remember some more than others: the boy in elementary school who asked me to a dance…and the next day laughed with his friends that it was just a joke, not making the cut for the A guard in drum corps, the first rejection from a college I applied for, not getting the job I had pinned my hopes on in the summer of 2002, and that one time I applied for a blogging campaign I really wanted and didn’t get it all spring front of mind. But what is always surprising to me is how much it can hurt even if I didn’t really want it.

Take that college rejection up there. I had decided by that point that I really only wanted to go to ONE school. That rejection that I mentioned wasn’t to that school. So I didn’t *actually* care about the fact that that school didn’t want me–I didn’t want them either. But in that moment? It still hurt to think “I’m not good enough for them.”

And when it’s something I really DID want? Forget it. That can lead to crying, feeling like throwing up, and a complete inability to let go of the rejection for weeks. I struggle with feelings of inadequacy on a normal day, so getting a rejection just feels like a confirmation of all those fears: I’m not good enough, people don’t really like me, I don’t have any talent, I’m a joke.

The reality, though, is that life is full of rejection. It’s something that we have to learn to deal with and process–not that it’s ever going to feel GOOD, but if you can find ways to work through the disappointment it’s much healthier than dwelling on the negatives. I’m working on that part, on letting go of the negative and not letting it keep me from moving forward.

So I’ll keep writing, and submitting, and pitching, and putting myself out there. That’s the only real way I know to battle the rejections that want to hang on. Every rejection has to be something that gets me closer to my goal(s), instead of something that puts up an impassable roadblock. If I allow myself to wallow in the hurt feelings, and let that refrain of “I’m not good enough” dominate my thoughts, then I won’t keep on keeping on. I won’t even try anymore.

And if I do that, then I won’t ever BE (or become) good enough.

shasta June 12, 2012 at 11:01 am

Rejection blows, and I’m totally the type of person who will give something up if I get rejected enough times. I tend to think, though, that if I’m being rejected, maybe it *is* because I’m not good enough, and that’s OK. I’m not good at everything (or really many things at all), so maybe it’s time to try something new. I’ve discovered a few things that I like doing simply because I tried them after abandoning their predecessors.

Jennifer June 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

The fear of rejections keeps me from even trying. I’m working on it.

nonsequiturchica June 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Rejection blows, but if you keep at it when you finally get that letter saying “we are pleased…” then it will make it all worth it.

San June 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I hate feeling rejected. It puts my stomach in knots for days. But you’re approach is so very true: we need to keep putting ourselves out there, that’s the only way to also feel accepted and appreciated.

Elizabeth June 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I have a terrible habit of avoiding things that could possibly lead to a rejection, which sometimes makes me a bit of a wuss. I’ve been working on it, but still have a long way to go. Props to you for putting yourself out there as much as you can.

Trisha June 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I was feeling this EXACT smae way today and reading your post made me feel so good that I’m not the only one. I’ve been trying some new things and putting myself out there which inevitably opens myself up for rejection. It sucks, I hear you, but it means that you’re taking chances. Yes, that means there’s the chance someone will say no, but it also means there’s a chance they will say yes. Thanks for this great post!

K June 12, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Getting rejected is my new hobby. I am very good at it.

Katherine June 12, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Do’h, even my name was rejected!

Nicoleandmaggie June 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I get rejected all the time. I like the saying, “If you don’t get rejected from time to time, you’re not aiming high enough.”

Reading (and chickens) June 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Rejection is horrid. It makes you feel like poo. The upside: if you’re getting rejected, that probably means you’re doing something right. That means you’re putting yourself out there, and that’s more positive progress than a little silly rejection will ever be able to tell you about yourself. For real. And the best part of rejection is that it’s almost always the start of a great story of success.
-This pep talk was brought to by Rejection Letter Veteran

Brooke June 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I remember one writing mentor saying that you should aim for ten rejections a month because that means you are submitting. Last year when I was submitting queries, the initial rejections were hard, but I got better at accepting it. And then I had a nibble. And then another rejection. I just try to remember that getting rejected means I’m taking a risk, and that’s something to be proud of.

clara June 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

You can’t grow if you don’t reach. (Or something?) Hey all the other commenters said what I was going to.
I try to think of it like, I am happier if people tell me I suck (or they reject me..because often people do not say that I suck..but that’s how I internalize it) because then they are being honest. I’d rather suck than be lied to. Also, rejection doesn’t have to eat away at the very core of you and what you do and what you believe in. It’s just about the thing you did that the other person didn’t like, especially. There’s something out there for everyone and there’s someone out there for whom your stuff will sing beautiful songs.

Classic NYer June 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I know exactly what you mean. Every time I do a show and people who said they were coming don’t come, it makes me want to smash my head into a wall. I usually don’t, though, because I imagine that would make it harder to sing at my next show.

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