After the first lady I proposed
marriage to turned down my proposal, it took several months before I could get back into ‘form.’ I had growing certainty that she could be my ‘significant half.’ And I was counting days for the dress rehearsal to end so the real event could begin. Then the bottom fell out.
It was a very trying period for me.
I was submerged in a sea of emotions. I crawled into the darkest part in the valley of depression and pitched a tent there. I lived there for a few months. Life was no longer exciting. Things fell apart. The center could not hold. In fact the center disappeared. Like a colossus, discouragement stood over me to prevent me from rising. But through the encouragement of a friend and God’s enabling strength, I eventually climbed out of the emotional rubble.
I Lost My Bragging Rights.
After that experience, I bragged that nobody would ever break my heart. Or make me cry. Not anymore. I would be a macho man. A tough guy. My wife accepted my proposal and we are happily married. But that bragging did not immune me from being rejected again by different people, or my ideas being rejected, or my applications being rejected. I have had several rejections.
Recently, I had another painful one. My team and I were very optimistic that our proposal would be accepted. We presented compelling documents. We argued strongly at the interview. We were sure it would sail through. But it didn’t. I thought I was a strong person till this monster found its way again to my house. It sat on my heart for a whole month and refused to leave. I grumbled. I whined. I was forlorn. I lost appetite for food. I avoided people. One day when I shared that experience with someone, I got overwhelmed. I began to cry. Then he suggested a therapy he felt would ease my pain. But he knew I wouldn’t take that therapy. When I left him, I felt so ashamed to have cried before another guy. Then I broke down and cried again. I lost my bragging rights.
A New Perspective.
I abhor refusal. I detest being rebuffed. But after this painful rejection, I began to understand the good that is hidden in seemingly bad experiences.
I began to view that particular experience – and previous experiences – from a positive lens. I turned the wrong side up. I found out that bottom is not bottom, but a solid ground to push from. That flip gave me an entirely new perspective on rejection.
If you have been in a similar situation, here are 8 reasons why you should embrace rejection:
(1) Rejection is incremental progress towards acceptance.
Every rejection gives you an opportunity to up your game. Rejection is Nature’s veiled language to dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
(2) Rejection is delayed affirmation.
You need to understand and be aware that someone, somewhere. will eventually accept you if you would keep going. Hurt if you have to, but don’t halt. Hop if you need to, but don’t halt.
(3) Rejection gives you new direction.
There is an emerging version of you that the present you is oblivious of. Hidden in every rejection is the blessing of personal awareness. Rejection takes you on a voyage of personal discovery. It helps you find you uniqueness and characteristic peculiarity. There are gates of knowledge you might not unlock; there are depths of wisdom you might not access; and there are vistas of opportunities you might not explore till rejection forces you into critical evaluation and personal audit.
(4) Rejection refines.
Rejection reveals your intentions and examines your motives. It’s a mirror that shows the content of your heart and the reason behind your acts. It helps you to unmask. It assists you to destroy the facade. It is a litmus test of your honesty. Rejection is a powerful tool of refinement.
(5) Rejection refires.
This probably is one of the best reasons why you should embrace rejection. Rejection can fire you up. It awakens that latent achiever in you, and rouses the sleeping giant within. When that alarm goes off, it inflames your indomitable spirit. Rejection toughens you against defeat. Your passion for success can be stoked in the reclusive crucibles of rejection.
(6) Rejection is a tool of correction.
Retrospectively, each scenario teaches you ‘How to,’ and ‘How not to.’ The lessons are priceless.
(7) Rejection is opportunity to reinvent yourself.
Sometimes it’s our character that makes people pass us up. Rejection, then, is an opportunity to straighten our lives. To catch the little foxes which destroy the vine. To remove the weed that corrupts the fruit. To prune the tree. To clear the flaw. To overhaul the engine. Rejection beams a searchlight on our integrity. It compels us to examine our character.
(8) Rejection shifts your perspective.
My perspective shifted from regret, remorse and five-star pity party to joy, confidence and positive self-esteem. This is how I now think: I was rejected because a faulty instrument was used to measure and analyse me. A magnifying glass was used instead of a binocular. A microscope was used instead of an astronomical telescope.
Upon Further Review.
After writing particular examinations during High school, I would boast of my expected grades to classmates. I would tell them how well I knew what the tutor wanted, and how well I answered the questions. But many times, to my utter amazement, my results would come short of my expectations. But when I went over the marking criteria and the subject teacher’s evaluation, my initial assumptions and conclusions would change. I would see things differently. I would then know that it wasn’t the tutor who took from my score to augment a classmate’s low marks. So I would shift the focus from the tutor to myself, all because I’ve gained correct perspective.
Sometimes a football player would contest the calls made by officials against him in the heat of the moment. But when he would replay the video over and again, everything would then change. Stepping away from where the action took place, he now would see things differently from what he earlier saw in real time. His perspective changes with three simple words:
Upon further review.
Rejection turns out to be a good thing only to those who practice the principle of ‘Upon further review.’ I have seen people go on to marry better spouses because they were rejected by the ones they desperately wanted to marry. Employees have gone on to build world-class enterprises because they were rejected by their employers. Incomparably better doors have opened to folks against whom good doors closed. Many people have experienced good things come out of supposedly bad situations.
Upon Further Review.
I once read the story of a man who was washed ashore on an uninhabited island. In the days that followed he salvaged anything he could find from the island to build a hut that sheltered him from the cold. On coming back from a lengthy search for food one day, he found his hut engulfed in flames. Angry and despondent, he lay in the cold that night. He was woken early in the morning by the sound of a ship which anchored at the shore . A crew member stepped out and told him, ‘We saw your smoke signal. That’s why we came to rescue you.’
Things are not always as they seem. Whether a glass of water is half empty or half full is based on your perspective. That particular rejection and previous ones have altered my outlook on life. It has taught me to see a ‘yes’ in a ‘no.’ It has taught me to say ‘yes’ to ‘no.’
I now embrace rejection.
Have you experienced rejection? How did you handle it? What did you learn from it? Please post your comments here.