Embracing Rejection

At 6:00 AM the other day, the shuttle service I was going to ride had no seats available. 9:00 AM of the same day, the elevator wouldn’t close because it was too heavy and since I was the closest to the elevator door, I had to go out and wait for the next one. Rejected again, I thought. Last night, my best friend, messaged me about being sad she wasn’t included to attend a business meeting. And just this morning, my sister complained about how her professors were so strict about deadlines — rejecting her output. Every day, whoever you may be or where ever you are, we are faced with a thousand different choices that may or may not lead to rejection. 

These rejections, whether they be as big as wedding or business proposals or small ones like homework submissions or elevator ones like what I had experienced, can all and will surely make us feel sad or dejected. But was it really meant to make us feel like losers? Was rejection a way for the universe or the higher beings (whatever it is you believe in) to put us in our place and let us realize how much we’re lacking? Or was it meant to teach us a lesson?

I remember my mother telling me about this “Winner’s Mantra”. I don’t entirely remember the words correctly, but to sum it all up, it was telling me and whoever heard the mantra to “never accept rejection. Only winners survive and succeed”. I was sure it was meant to heal hearts broken by rejection and I appreciate my mother’s attempt to make me feel better, but something about it seems off to me. Like it was escaping what happened and making yourself believe that winning and acceptance were the only options. It made rejection look bad, unacceptable and something that is only okay if you’ve already given up on achieving anything. 

That, my friend, is something I cannot accept.

Think about it. If all parents would say this mantra to their children and those children would share it to their friends, wouldn’t it create a community of winners and hard workers? That’s something I would like to think. But if you’re already a veteran of reality and you know how hard life is then you would know that not everyone can be successful and winners. 

For competitions, there is a set of criteria to determine who the champion would be — there can be two champions in some incidents but there can never be three or twelve. For jobs and careers, only one person can be the best, the CEO or president — again there are some corporations with two or three bosses of the same level and power but not every worker can be the boss. Get the drift? There will always be a winner and if there’s a winner, a loser is sure to be around. I can use as many analogies and comparisons as I can and it would only mean one thing. Winners get the prize and losers can cry all night.

So what then can the rejected losers and those not good enough do? Chardy, what the hell is your point? 

Drum roll please. . .

I’m sure you’ve heard this somewhere before. I would just like to re-emphasize it.

You embrace rejection. You learn from it. You make it your own and you use it as a stepping stone to succeed the next time you try. This may seem cheesy or cliché for you but I would gladly and whole heartedly accept this more than pretending that rejection and losing can mean the end of the world for me.

Maybe you wake up ahead of the alarm and go to work 30 minutes earlier than you usually do to get a seat. Maybe you edit the business proposal 3 hundred more times or take a different approach before you submit an output. Maybe rejection was meant to tell you that you can do better. That you’re almost there? Or maybe rejection is telling you that this isn’t for you and that there are other things, people or jobs that you can explore and experience.

I would like to believe that everything that happens in our life was meant to happen. That a strange mechanism somewhere is making sure that we are where we’re supposed to be. Destiny, if we must name it. In my heart, I honestly believe that destiny is real but I also believe that in order for things to happen, we must take destiny into our hands and learn to control our fates. Because who else will?

Phew, this was a really long rant. And i’m pretty sure I didn’t make any sense at all. If you lost interest halfway through what I was saying or you decided to scroll down to the end, here’s the summary to whatever I was trying to say ->

Embrace Rejection. Learn from it, make it your own and use it as a stepping stone to succeed the next time you try. You may not always win and being rejected may be something that’s regular for you but doesn’t that show how much perseverance you have? If you keep on being rejected, doesn’t that mean that you also keep on trying? 

I would rather be the person who always get rejected but keeps on trying and learns from it than a person who wins but never actually get to develop character and attitude. Schools should change their standards. It’s either you succeed or you learn from it. Not fail. Never fail. Don’t you think?