Everyone has experienced rejection at some point in their life--either from a friend, romantic interest, a publishing house/magazine editor, or a sports team. Maybe you've experienced all of the above (I didn't realize it until now, but I have!).
Sometimes we bounce back from the blow as if we weren’t hit in the first place…but other times, we’re KO’d for the next three rounds.
Here are 3 tips that have helped me see the sunny side of rejection and that may help you face rejection with confidence:
1) Gives you time to re-evaluate yourself, your goals, and your intentions.
Ask yourself, ‘Was I really doing this for the right reason? Was this honestly a stepping stone to achieve a goal, or was it something that would've lead me down a different path--possibly far away from where I want to be?’
I’ve concluded more than once that my intentions weren't all that great. I once tried to get on the tennis team to avoid babysitting a sibling (that wasn’t the only reason, but it was on my list).
Rejection gives you time to reflect—your conclusion about your aim and intentions the second time around may be different than the first.
2) Can reveal your weaknesses.
Wait, isn't this supposed to be positive? >_> (Don’t worry; it is.)
Having an awareness (or stronger awareness) of your weaknesses allows you to combat them. If you search long enough, you're bound to find that you have a strength that "makes up" for a weakness (i.e. you rock at strategizing but are terrible with driving directions...so you take the extra time to make 2-3 maps or snag a friend to help ahead of time).
In some cases, knowing your weaknesses gives you the chance to improve in those areas. If you're terrible at sinking a free throw, there's a simple solution: practice the free throw!
And in the "worst case scenario" in which your weaknesses don't improve much despite genuine effort/a lot of time, you can take that as a sign that maybe this isn't for you.
3) Can reveal something about the person, place, or thing that you were aiming to partner with or be a part of.
I recently received my first slew of rejections from poetry magazine editors across the nation, and man oh man was it discouraging! After the first couple of rejections, I was still confident; the poet’s market is a tough crowd, and it was my very first time submitting to a magazine outside of high school/college. Rejection was expected, and I had already braced myself for it.
But when the next few replies after that were also rejections, I really began to doubt myself. I thought, “Maybe I just really suck at writing poetry…none of these magazines seem to like my work…maybe I should reconsider(?).”
And then, something wonderful happened! (No, I still didn’t get accepted lol.) Nerve Cowboy sent me a hand-written rejection letter that was so heartfelt and thoughtful that I regained my misplaced sense of certainty. Hand-written!! Guys, this never happens.
The first magazine I ever submitted to wouldn’t even answer a professional, legitimate question via email (their only communication source, as it was an online magazine), and they never responded to my submission, either (which, in their defense, was normal because they only respond to accepted works).
Sometimes, like in the case with the ‘silent’ magazine, you just need to let go. It’s not worth my time (or theirs) to continue submitting to a magazine that never responds and/or operates like this…when there are magazines out there like Nerve Cowboy.
Maybe it’s the same for you; the drama team isn’t interested, but choir or stage crew might be, etc. This publishing house or agent isn’t looking for your particular brand of NA humor, but another agent nearby is.
The bottom line is that sometimes people, places, and things aren’t what we expect them to be, and when (if) we discover more about them, we may not be interested anymore. Sometimes, rejection is the best thing that could’ve happened to us.
The next time you face rejection, be confident! It could be a blessing in disguise :).
If you have any suggestions about facing rejection with confidence, let me know!