It never feels good to be rejected. I have often let the fear of rejection determine the road I take. Some of the earliest memories I have of feeling rejected were in elementary school, and even at a very young age, I’d let that fear keep me from pursuing something I desired. “What if I can’t? What if it won’t work out? What if people laugh at me when I try?” We have a crazy amount of opportunities to either be accepted or rejected.
Ask yourself if you’ve ever experienced any of these scenarios below. Did any of these scenarios ever lead to acceptance or rejection?
- Asking a friend to play with you as a kid.
- Trying out for an athletic team or musical ensemble.
- Applying for a job.
- Applying for college.
- Applying for a scholarship.
- Asking someone to be in a relationship with you.
- Sharing something intimate about yourself to your family or friends.
- Being in the “in crowd.”
- Being a part of a community.
- Sharing your ideas with your co-workers.
- Asking for a raise.
- Applying for a loan.
- Asking someone to love you.
- Trying to adopt a child you’ve longed for.
I could’ve continued that list, but if you have ever felt rejected in any of the above scenarios or any others, you aren’t alone. What I find comforting is knowing that people I love and admire have often been rejected too, but it does not keep them from pursuing their passion. If anything, it only motivates them to overcome. If we let rejection define us, we may never reach our potential and we may never experience joy that could have been on the other side. Sometimes, the answer is “No” and it needs to be no. If that’s the case, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we were pursuing something that would not have ultimately been fruitful and it’s time to start pursuing something that will be. Other times, the answer might not be “No,” but it might be, “Not yet.” It’s so hard to swallow the “not yet” when we feel like we know what would make us happy, but in reality, there’s maybe a better time or some other work in us that needs to happen before the “not yet” becomes a “yes.”
Recently, I was at a meeting for work when I heard someone say that we need to look at our obstacles as “opportunities.” Maybe you were rejected from the job you wanted. But, what if there is a reason… What if there’s something better for you or a lesson you were supposed to learn in order to grow? Does it mean you should stop searching for a job? No. Does it mean you should start searching for a different job? Maybe. Rejection shouldn’t put us to a stop. Rejection should inspire reflection, which should motivate us to action instead of crippling us with fear.
Don’t let the fear of rejection keep you from pursuing your dreams and goals. Maybe rejection isn’t your obstacle, but rather your opportunity for something greater.