|Photo courtesy of http://www.freepicturesweb.com/|
We first learn about rejection as children. Whether we are the last to be chosen for sports teams, are assigned to the chorus instead of the starring role in the school musical, or earn a “C” instead of an “A” in a class despite putting forth our best effort, we learn what it means to “fail.”
Then it gets personal. The boy you desperately wanted to invite you to prom asks a cheerleader instead. Your spouse has an affair with a colleague. Your best friend ditches you when you make a decision she cannot handle.
But the patterns of our youth do not have to become the truth of our adulthood. The actions and opinions of others have little bearing on who we really are.
Unless we let them.
Those of us who aspire to be traditionally published authors set ourselves up regularly to be rejected. Just for fun, I invite you to take this little online quiz.
But rejection is serious business. When I contemplate the word rejection, my body reacts physically. My chest tightens up; my breath becomes shallow. I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Rejection can do one of two things: it can make us stronger, even more determined to succeed, or it can destroy us, giving us an excuse to achieve far less than we are capable of. “I never do anything right,” we tell ourselves. And we don’t. “Some things never change,” we sigh, and that becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.
One thing is for sure: rejection feels like a door slamming you smack! in the face. But Alexander Graham Bell, who failed countless times before finally succeeding with that little contraption we call the telephone, said, “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
Yep. If we hang our heads in shame and slink into a corner every time someone tells us we are not good enough, we are sure to miss our next opportunity. Which might even turn out to be a better one.
Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.
Maybe you have tried out the past six years in a row, but what if your next audition will be the one to get you a solo part in your church choir’s Christmas cantata? So you have filled out a hundred online job applications; what if the next one is the one that results in you landing your dream job? Maybe you have gone on blind dates with a dozen horny toads, but what if the next guy you meet turns out to be your Prince Charming? So you have a drawerful of rejection letters; what if the next editor you pitch to falls in love with your story and wants to sign you for a multi-book deal?
I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.
Wake up, my friends. Get going. Never. Give. Up.
Author: Pam Asberry