It all started with complete utter shock in the break room full of people too busy to notice the shock of the words my boss just uttered. Public was this place out in the open for anyone to hear, vulnerable, exposed and emotions creeping to the surface of my “stiff British upper lip” face. Rejection screamed at me from all directions, something I felt for a few months leading up to this point, but now hard to ignore at the moment. I had been a contractor for this company for six n’ half months, yet as my boss kept explaining about why I was not going to converted to permanent employee in the near future, felt rejection with each excuse slapping me across the face. But the rejection didn’t ended there. Over the next month the wound kept being opened further by learning the contract I was on would not be extended and then the company turning around and hire another contractor to take my place was an insult to injury. Truth is, if I was still in my twenties I would be messed up for days over this, yet at thirty-something, rejection has become another redirection, painful, but a redirection.
Why does rejection hurt so much?
A question we ask ourselves when we are sitting on the floor eating ice cream out of the container feeling shitty and out of control. The hurt is deep-I won’t deny that- it hurts because deep down it hits us where we are the most vulnerable, our brain’s emotional intelligence side. It hits our soul like a sucker punch. Its as if the something or someone is taking our power away from us, and you are battling them to keep it.
To give more perspective of how rejection has hurt me so much, this is the following rejections have had an impact on my life.
- Rejected from my three top choice universities I wanted to attend. I applied to University of Washington six times before giving up.
- Rejected from the company I eventually contracted at five times before being accepted as a contractor, and then rejected one last time.
- Rejected from many job openings I had applied to, and interviewed from various companies and labs.
- Rejected from guys I have dated, friends, family, etc. for various reasons.
Now looking back I can safely say each rejection turned out to be a redirection.
What if rejection really is a redirection?
Lysa Terkeurst’s book Uninvited, Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, talks about how rejection at times can be you being set apart instead of set aside.
To be set aside is to be rejected. To be set apart is to be given an assignment that requires preparation.Lysa Terkeurst
When confronted with rejection, I now think of it as redirection to something much better then what I was rejected for. Being set apart means redirection. Being set apart allows you to take back control and the power for you to move on from the rejection.
How does rejection turn into redirection?
This is how we take back control from something or someone that was never meant to have it in the first place and redirect ourselves in another direction.
One rejection is not a projection of future failures.
Nor is several for the matter. Each rejection does not project what the future holds for you. If you keep thinking with each rejection you are a failure, you are giving away your power to create the life you want to live. Failures as redirections as well.
Rejection doesn’t label you.
Rejection enables you to adjust and move on. Label you put on yourself determines the outlook you have in life. You can be realist and see rejection as a natural part of life, and adjust according. Or you can pessimistic view of things where you see life through the lens of rejection and putting negative labels on one’s self. As a scientist, I have seen countless other scientists with a pessimistic view of things. This view only compounds the hurt from inside and out. By replacing the labels we put on ourselves when rejected, we have positive outcome in the rejection.
This could be an invitation to live in expectation of something else.
The job you where rejected from opened the door to the job position you never expected you would love. The relationship that ended lead you to rediscovering yourself and in the process lead you to the person you will spend the rest of your life with. I can go on. Disappointments today will lead you to places you never could have dream of.
There is some element of protection wrapped in every rejection.
You may think how can rejection be protecting me? Some times the protection is to protect you from further pain down the road. Rejection as a road block keeping you from driving into danger. Embrace it.
There is much more to you than the part that was rejected.
This maybe cliche, but every time someone/or you judges someone you reveal a part of themselves/ yourself that needs healing. The age old truth is people peck the juiciest fruit because they cannot be the juiciest fruit.
What one person sees as your liability, another might see as a wonderful asset.
Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer.Unknown
People’s judgement of you reflects their insecurities and they care more about themselves. The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away. Walking away is rejection, but it is a response to another person’s rejection by allowing you to step forward towards those who know your worth, sees your worth, and treats you as an asset.
Short term setback is not a permanent condition.
The come back is always stronger than the setback. ALWAYS.
Don’t let this destroy you.
Never give someone or something power over you enough to destroy you. You may feel destroyed, but you are not. If a gallon of ice cream is your shield, let it be the shield. If you need to cry, scream, or get away do it. Rejection is painful, it hurts, it takes a lot out of you, but one thing is, rejection does not physically or mentally kill you. Really it gives you the sword to deliver the fetal blows.
Let this breaking actually be the making of you.
The breaking of you allows the good things to some into your life to make you stronger before the break. Telling my boss I was bowing out of the company gracefully after failed internal interviews with other hiring managers at the company, it allowed me to rebuild and move forward to a better position.
Use this rejection in good ways to make you stronger and take your further.
After my meeting with my boss I had the courage to let myself be set apart instead of set aside. I had for a long time gone up against a wall that would not give, and crashing into it I became stronger to move on from a company that repeatedly rejected me as I worked there. When I almost submitted a resume for another position outside the group I was in, I was reminded of Carrie Underwood’s song Wasted.
For one split second she almost turned around, but that would be like pouring rain drops back into a cloud, so she took another step and said I see away out, I’m gonna take it.Carrie Underwood (Song: Wasted)
Bowing out gracefully is taking a step towards the the way out, and rejection allows you to take the steps forward instead back into what hurts.
For all the rejections above I have had, these are the redirected outcomes:
- I ended up going to a small university and graduated a year -half earlier.
- Became FTE at more than one company
- Worked at some unexpected companies in biotech and been a part of some life changing treatments in cancer.
- Went to some amazing places and met people I never expected.
Truth is, I need to be reminded with every rejection is a redirection towards something much better. Note to self: rejection is another redirection.