The first rejection hurts like hell. Everything after that is just fuel for the proverbial fire of productivity.
Do you remember the first time you’ve ever had a broken heart? Maybe you were a teenager in the midst of your awkward, geeky, emotional hormone-rich stage. Maybe it happened yesterday. It doesn’t matter when it happened. All that matters is that it did. This pain is important. It teaches you things. Most importantly, it teaches you how to wipe the tears away, get back on your feet, and take a few more swings at the challenge. Without the pain of rejection, we can never really appreciate the savory taste of victory.
Whether that rejection happened in love, in searching for your “dream job”, or while you were trying to get your novel published, everyone is going to get rejected at least once. Why this rejection happens isn’t important. What’s important is how you deal with it. You must decide for yourself whether you will be a person who gets back up and continues on the journey, or folds their hand and sits in a stew of self-pity and sorrow for the rest of their lives, holding on to the one arrow in their heart that was pulled out long ago but never seems to heal. Which one are you going to be?
The fear of rejection often stops people from trying. After all, isn’t it better to remain in your safe space where nothing hurts and everything is fine? Well sure, it’s nice to live there, but you can’t stay there forever.
As one of my favorite characters, Wolf, says in The 10th Kingdom,
“Well, you may not get hurt, but huff puff, you won’t get loved either.”
Eventually you’re going to have to venture out and take a few hits. Why are we scared of this pain? Yes, heartbreak hurts, but eventually you get over it. Go out there. Get rejected. Then go out there again and do it all over again, and eventually one of those tries is going to end in success.
When I was searching for a job I loved, my mindset was solidly rooted in the idea that a career was the thing that was going to make me happy. I thought that because I didn’t have a passion for something (or rather, because I had too many), I thought that I would never find a job suitable for me. That’s a very negative mindset already to have before you even start to apply to jobs. So naturally when I received my first rejection for a job after I spent the time and energy going through the interview process, I broke down a little. The negativity grew into thoughts like “See, why did you even try?” and “you knew they were going to reject you”. But after a while those thoughts began to fade. The pain and humiliation of being rejected began to fade too, and eventually I began applying for jobs again. After that, it became an exciting challenge. “Ok,” I thought, “let’s see if I make it to an in-person interview with this company”, I would tell myself. It didn’t matter anymore whether I was hired or not. The point was that I was doing it. I was getting my resumes out there and doing the thing that seemed so scary before.
The topic of love isn’t such an easy one. That is by far the hardest rejection to cope with. Going through a breakup is never easy. For the dumpee or the dumper. As someone who has been in both positions, no one ever likes rejecting someone or being rejected, but these are life lessons that you need to learn. If you’ve never dumped someone, I highly recommend it. Just because you are rejecting someone doesn’t mean you have to be mean about it. There are nice ways of letting someone down easy, and the best one is by being honest and communicating how you are feeling, honestly. By going through both situations (being dumped and dumping), you learn how it feels to be in both positions. That’s a great life experience. There’s nothing negative about that, if you learned from it.
Don’t be afraid of that pain or discomfort, because those are the situations that really matter in life. You have to take the good with the bad. You have to prepare yourself for heartbreak in order to gain love. You must consider the fact you may be rejected after you interview for that really awesome job just as likely as you are to get it. And either way, life goes on. Just remember that.
“Why did I let her in? Didn’t I know she was bad? I did. Of course I did. But I also knew that I couldn’t keep the door closed all my life just because it was dangerous. Just because there was a chance that I might get hurt.”
– Snow White, The 10th Kingdom
The first rejection hurts the worst. Everything after that is fuel. Use it to light your way. Don’t give up. You will reach your success if you continue to try.
Stay strong, little troopers.
Begin Again, Never Over artwork by Chronographia, a local Pittsburgh artist.
Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!