Growth Through Rejection
As an adult rejection seems to happen less often than in childhood or as a teenager. Perhaps the reason rejection occurs less is that we put ourselves in fewer rejection-prone situations --- there is usually not the daily activity of walking around a cafeteria looking for a friend to sit with and we are not forced into a massive daily routine change every semester or year. We also generally have fewer, stronger friendships and for some, get married and say goodbye to the rejection-laden act of dating and have young children who are so simplistic and pure in their love that rejection feels foreign.
However, if you've been lucky to have limited rejections in the past years of your life; let me caution you: it still hurts...and maybe even worse than before. I can look back and knowingly laugh at the moments of my teenage rejection --- because time and maturity allow me to do so. But this new, fresh, adult rejection still carries a particular sting. I'm not quite ready to laugh. And when I do laugh about it, it feels unauthentic.
After my role was eliminated I was greeted with great meetings, interviews, and ultimately, new career opportunities from an amazing community. I am truly ecstatic to jump into a new, exciting role this week and have enjoyed the past several weeks spending extra time with my family and friends. But the real story is the rejection was and is painful. Was I not valuable enough? What could I have done differently? Should I have been more proactive? What is wrong with me? I know these questions are in most cases, not the right questions to ask and have taken up too much brain space, so I am working on truly closing the chapter (and this negative, circular thought pattern).
What is helpful in moving past this feeling of rejection and questioning is perspective.
the attitude that rejection in one arena in life doesn't mean I am unworthy. The refreshing fact that my toddler son could care less about my job, but if it means more fun things with mom for awhile, he is all for it. The logical side of my brain understanding it was a business decision. The knowledge that my career success has no bearing on the love of God, my family, friends or really, anyone or thing I care deeply about.
Another thing that has helped me in this situation (and frankly, most cases in life) is leaning into gratefulness. Meditating, praying and writing about the things I am grateful for has kept me moving forwards and has been integral to pushing out the negative, circular thought patterns. This is allowing me to see this as a learning experience and maybe even more so, the knowledge that this experience is preparing me for something greater in the future. Additionally, this has pushed me to continue to more deeply and intimately accept that there is a plan for everything in life and that this too shall pass. Accepting the non-permanence of any season or stage of life and life itself can be scary, relieving, devastating and hopeful all once; but this is what also allows for a more gentle acceptance of and learning from life's inevitable rejections.
Photo by Lizzie