As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better. ~ Steve Maraboli
Oh that awful feeling of rejection. In the many times I remember being in a group of women, all sparked up by banter about the differences between men and women, I don’t think there has been a time when someone hasn’t said that men dealt with being rejected a lot better than women do because they must be used to it. After all, men are conditioned to be the hunters in the pursuit of women in the (hetero) “game” of love, and women are conditioned to be the ones who either give them the green light to move forward, or screech them to a halt by throwing up a big, fat stop sign in their faces. Does one really get used to that? Let’s say for the sake of argument that men do bounce back from being rejected by a (potential) mate like a shiny silver quarter thrown on a super tightly made bed. Are they indifferent to rejection in every aspect of their lives? I really don’t think so. Honestly, I don’t think there are many people, men or women, who haven’t wanted to stick their heads in the sand and never pull them out after feeling like they got a slap in the face from something or someone they really wanted. Rejection plain ole doesn’t feel good, no matter who you are. The ego really is a fragile thing.
Alas, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud. The beauty of it all is that as hard as it may be in the moment that we feel we are being rejected, we always seem to survive, don’t we? Think back, firstly, to a recent situation in which you felt rejected. It still kind of stings, doesn’t it? It’s probably still fresh and you haven’t had time to process what it all means yet, in the larger context of your life. Now think back to a situation in which you were rejected at least 10 years ago. It most likely doesn’t sting nearly as much, does it? That old boyfriend or girlfriend that you cried rivers over when they left the relationship, or that job that you were dying to get but didn’t. It doesn’t really matter anymore, does it? I realize that there are some things things or people or situations that were so important that you may still feel that tinge or rejection to this day but on the most part, it no longer matters and we have moved on. As Steve Maraboli says, we were re-directed, and most of the time, to something better. Perhaps we have outgrown that schoolyard bullying and have become superstar, self-confident adults. And that job we thought would make or break our careers, well, we probably have a better one now. Oh, and that boyfriend or girlfriend you thought you would never be able to live without or find anyone else to take their place, you have probably taken off that pedestal now, haven’t you? Did you find someone who was a hell of a better fit for you and can’t believe that you ever wasted a bit of energy on feeling bad about the fact that it didn’t work with the person who made you feel so terrible in the past? It’s pretty common, you’re not alone in that feeling.
What we feel that we lose in life affects us only in the way we allow it to. Life is full of rejections, some more significant and life-changing than others. What road we take from there depends a lot on which direction we decide to take afterwards, and somewhat on the direction that life takes us in on its own. We can either see a rejection as a roadblock, or we can see it as an opportunity to move on to something better. Whenever we find ourselves in a situation in which we have lost something that we were not ready to let go of yet, we should always look back at other times in which we felt this way and see how far we have come from then to now. We need to keep asking ourselves if it’s going to matter a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, or how about 10 years from now? The answer, if we really think clearly about it, is that it probably won’t matter at all. It is imperative that we keep all of life’s rejections in perspective or we may end up repeatedly missing out on a lot of spectacular, life-changing stuff that comes next on the long, changing road of life. ~Gia