Rejection comes in different shapes and sizes but is impossible to avoid. We try to avoid rejections of the heart by building our walls up around our emotions and faults. The wall has a small sliver showing who we really are until those looking in have proven their worth and loyalty. Even then, when the wall starts to come down, we feel the very pain we were trying to avoid when the relationship doesn’t work out. On a smaller scale rejection is felt when our favorite product goes out of stock, and we are forced to choose a second option. We feel rejected when its last call or your favorite DJ doesn’t have your go to karaoke song. We even feel rejected when a call goes straight to voicemail or when our text gets left on read. We are rejected when someone tells us no and we are rejected when they say yes to someone else without us knowing. How we handle rejection is a true test of patience, self-awareness, and inner strength. I used to handle rejection as a personal blow and that I was not worthy of happiness. Being second choice for a job or being selected last to speak on the conference call used to hurt my heart and it probably still does a little. Seeing your friends post happy hour pictures when you weren’t invited is the worst rejection. Not hearing back from a dating app match or being cheated is a similar rejection. The kind of rejection that never even involved you leaves you feeling out of control and unworthy. This rejection doesn’t reflect on you or your actions. It reflects on those that never considered you to begin with. We still feel that rejection deeply. I have faced an inner demon of unworthiness for more years in my life than I am willing to admit, but a few weeks ago I started thinking about rejection in a different way.
At the end of last year, I celebrated a big opportunity, a future full of growth and the potential for a career that didn’t seem possible in the past. I entered my new chapter broken hearted as I left an organization that I loved. Everyone says they would not have let me pass this opportunity up because “on paper” it was exactly what I wanted. I was great at every required skill they listed, and it would challenge me enough to see the growth I needed. There were signs leading up to my first day that should have slowed me down, my current boss giving his notice the same day I wanted to give mine, I should have taken a day after that to re-evaluate what I wanted. Other small but significant signs included: the wrong name on my new offer letter, no opportunity to interview in person or see my new office, someone else’s drug screen confirmation, and an onboarding welcome email addressed to someone else. Since I lack a normal amount of patience I pushed through and showed up bright eyed and bushy tailed to my first day to live my life girl in my new career. I honestly can’t say if I had patience any of those signs would have slowed me down.
Fast forward to 2 weeks in and my gut told me this was not my path as I cried myself home 4 days that week and two the week before. Everything I thought I signed up for was different than the reality of what my life was going to be. I felt the rejection I had given to my previous company, and it was full of regret. I don’t normally use the R word because I strongly believe there is a lesson in every situation, but I can confidently say – I regretted this decision. My mother uses the phrase, you made your bed so now you must lie in it, and that is exactly what I intended to do. I am a professional and I pride myself on communication, so I communicated my concern and questioned my leadership to be sure I understood the expectation, even if it didn’t align to my expectations of the role. I was going to put 100% into that career that had quickly turned out to be just a job. I learned a long time ago that even if the task at hand is not pleasant you should put your all into it and if you live your life girl that way you will never regret decisions that turn into failures. I intended to turn this regret into a win.
Stay with me as I fast forward to 5 weeks in as I started to feel comfortable, and we all know what happens when we get comfortable. I had submitted to the fact this was not what I imagined but I could be the best while I was there. As I started looking for my next opportunity and seeking council from my mentors I performed at my highest level. I was quick with tasks and smiled and played the game as authentically as I could until I was asked to set up a meeting that I felt signaled the end. I was told that they wanted to separate because the job “obviously wasn’t to my expectations”. I was in shock but not entirely surprised, they were right it didn’t fulfill my expectations, it was a paycheck disguised as a career. As a reminder I was a professional, I only had a few questions, but I was not going to fight for something that was not intended for me. It was obvious they were rejecting me before I could reject them. As I walked to the garage that rejection started sinking in. I was angry that I didn’t act sooner when I knew it was not the right path. I can only assume the universe was angry with me as well, they are not patient either. The universe demanded that I make an immediate change. So, without getting too spiritual this rejection made me think differently.
Now, weeks after my big rejection I started seeing quotes that rejection is just re-direction, rejection is protection, rejection makes you stronger…blah blah blah. You’ve all heard them before, and I guess I never thought of rejection as any of those things, until now. I always believed rejection equaled failure. I was not afraid of failure; I was embarrassed of failure, but I don’t fear it. I think about rejection now as redirection and sometimes it takes a little longer for the universe to show up and sometimes it doesn’t wait for you to act. I do believe there is a higher power keeping us on the right path. Whether you believe in that higher power or not I think everyone has an internal safety net alerting them to danger or to things that could hurt us and to things that steal our light. As I go about my day and make decisions based on my live your life girl philosophy, I must respect that the universe has told me to slow down and be patient with what I really want. I really want to enjoy life, I really want to live without regret, I really want to laugh and be loved and live my life girl without thinking I am second best. Because no matter what choice you are for someone else you must be your first choice every day. Live your life girl as your first choice and soon others will want to pick you first too.