I want to write you my deepest thanks.
I applied, I asked, I laid my best cards out on the table.
“No takers? Fine.” I gather all my cards, carefully placing them back in my bag.
I smile as the relief washes over my body.
Whether in the eye of employment or in the eye of people, rejection is something we all come across at some point in our lives. That job, that boy, that girl. The grade we never made, the relationship we never had.
There she comes, when you’re on your knees at the crossroad, in the excruciating purgatory of the unknown – waiting for an answer. The piercing sound of the phone ring. The agonising unknown of a new email. The implicit moment of your life, when the cards could go either way.
When we think of rejection – it’s connotations are largely negative. Disappointment, not getting what you wanted, throwing your toys out the pram. But its our choice with how we want to receive her, and how exactly we perceive her.
Cruela de ville or fairy god mother?
I open the email and read ‘We regret to inform you, you have not been successful this time’
I feel her whispering softly in my ear “Honey, you’re just not ready to walk this path, I think there’s still some work for you to do here.” Gently placing her palm on my back, continuing with a subtle push forward, she closes the door behind me. I feel her warmth as she guides me forward “Darling – try walking that path over there instead.” And with that, she disappears.
I stand frozen for a second. Observing this entity as it passes through me. This journey until the moment of rejection, its lows, its highs, its physical effects on the body. Its attachment to a future idea, the longing for a place, position or person.
And then it strikes, she saved me.
When the mind wanders into the future, when it dwells on the past – it creates expectations, it eludes fantasies. It takes us away from our reality, our present moment. And when rejection comes, she knocks you and your mind’s fine illusion off that polished pedestal. Bringing you plummeting back to the ground. Kindly, of course.
If you can – don’t resist her with the feeling of injustice, the feeling that the world has served you on a not-so-silver platter this time and that by not giving you what you want, it owes you something.
Guess what? It doesn’t.
It’s rejection’s job to show us that. She doesn’t have it easy either. She tries to deliver a gift and has it thrown back in her face. A piece of advice I read somewhere said, always be kind to someone when they’re working. A waitress, a taxi driver, a receptionist. We’re all just trying live. And she’s got hell of a job to do too. So let’s treat her the same, be kind. Be receiving.
Take her gift of rejection.
And run – you were just saved from the path you were not meant to walk, from the accident you were not meant to have, from the partner you were never going to love, from the job you were never going to enjoy and from the place where you would never feel like home. Your illusion was never meant to be a part of your life.
But rejection, sweet, beautiful rejection – in it’s guiding, shining light, was.
Love and gratitude,
Think about all the rejections in your life.
All the fantasies of the future, held on repeat while you’re waiting for response. A projection of your future shelf shaken by the words you did not expect to see.
A few summers ago, I was dreaming of a job that would move me from Beijing to India. I fantasised about it for weeks. Opened my inbox every minute I could waiting for the response, refreshing, rewaiting and then doing it all over again.
The fateful day came, telling me it wasn’t going to happen. Both the anticipation and the happening were such consuming emotions.
So I thought I’d turn the tables on rejection and write a letter back.
This was a really powerful exercise that explored my relationship with this emotion.
I encourage you, when the time comes, to try too!