Many times we think that we cannot do what we want, how we want, and when we want it because we feel constrained to compromise, to postpone reaching our goals or even give up, thinking that it’ll never work out anyway. Sometimes we may start with high enthusiasm and big hopes, and invest a lot of energy in the beginning, only to witness everything fading away as soon as we encounter the first obstacle or rejection.
Have you ever been in that situation? Have you ever asked yourself why things don’t happen the way you want, even when you feel that you’ve done everything that you could to make it work?
Personally, I’ve asked myself these questions since childhood and even though I don’t have all the answers, what am certain of now is that everything happens for a reason. Looking back, I’ve realized that each and every moment that I considered difficult, every failure or mistake that I’ve made has happened to teach me a lesson. Moreover, whenever I’ve been rejected and things didn’t work out as expected, later on something better has come along – which has made me become aware of the fact that maybe what I thought to be right for me at that time, it actually wasn’t.
When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. ~ Alexander Graham Bell
Whenever I took the time for self-reflection to find the reasons behind the events that were happening in my life, I’ve realized that in my case every successful outcome was preceded by countless obstacles and rejections. I recall someone asking me a while ago: How can you always stay so positive, even when you’re going through tough times? To which my answer was: It’s better than the alternative!
Don’t get me wrong, I have my down moments too, like everyone else – but the time I choose to dedicate to self-pity is quite limited. And after that, I ask myself: What have I learned from this situation? What can I do differently next time to get better results? You see, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not so much about what’s happening in your life, but rather how you react to it.
Whether we’re rejected in a personal situation or in our careers, we must accept that getting rejected is a necessary part of life. This is a good thing, because it makes us think about ways to reinvent ourselves and grow, personally and professionally.
Moreover, I believe that we experience rejection to be able to appreciate what we accomplish in the end, because we learn through contrast – in other words, the only way we know the value of something, is to compare it to something else.
Speaking from my own experience after learning things the hard way, I’ve gathered below the most common reasons why people may reject you:
- Fear – this could be fear of commitment to you, or fear of making a decision that they’re not certain about, related to you – or simply put, distrust;
- Lack of understanding of what you’re offering – they may not have all the information about you, or may not see you as you see yourself, having a different criteria of evaluation;
- Dislike – they simply don’t like you, and that’s okay. The reverse is true, as well – you certainly won’t click with everyone;
- Different set of values, perspectives, opinions, beliefs, or objectives. Everyone’s unique and these things don’t always align;
- Nothing in it for them. This may sound self-centered, but it’s also quite common.
So how do you stay positive in these situations and find the ability to move on? First of all, try to look at things as objectively as possible and see them from the other person’s perspective. Not everything is about you, so don’t take it personally.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. ~ Wayne W. Dyer
Secondly, ask yourself how important is a positive outcome for you in that situation – will it matter one year from now? If it’s not important at all, just move on to something else. However, if the answer to the question above is ‘yes’ and no other alternatives seem to be as good at that one, try again by changing your approach. If you get rejected for the second time, keep going and make additional changes.
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. ~ Dale Carnegie
Last but not least, engage in positive self-talk – it’s critical that you keep your spirits high after every rejection encountered. People’s natural response is to get frustrated, to doubt, and to criticize themselves after being rejected – don’t fall into this trap because it’s never helpful. Instead, engage in solution-focused thinking, where you’re learning from your experience while searching for ideas that will help you adjust your approach the next time around.
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along’. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt