I've experienced it. You've experienced it. Even Taylor Swift has experienced it. Yet every time it happens, we're reminded again how not fun it is to be rejected.
A tiny part of me shudders even typing the word.
Rejection knows no bounds, invading social, romantic and job situations alike. As unpleasant as it is, rejection is part of life; and hear me when I say my life is no exception. From receiving a college admissions response in the dreaded “thin envelope,” to the boy I crushed on for years only wanting to be friends, I learned quickly about this wily beast.
You’d think that because rejection is such commonplace we’d know how to properly deal with it by now. Yet, time and time again rejection leaves us feeling ashamed, inadequate and wondering whether something is seriously wrong with us.
We humans can do anything (seriously anything!) but the fear of rejection is so powerful that some of us spend our entire lives just trying to avoid it. Fear in general, but specifically the fear of rejection, has imprisoned me for many years. Something I’ve learned, however, is that living in fear is comfortable and that playing it safe will keep you safe, but it won’t do much more than that. The sooner we are able to let go of this fear, the sooner we can begin the journey of becoming the person God dreamed up when he created us.
I try to think of it this way: What would your advice be to someone you love? Would you say, “Go for it,” or “You’ve got this,” or would it be more along the lines of “Yeah, you know what… Maybe not,” or “Gosh that’s a bit risky – better just play it safe.” It’s very possible that the advice you would give to someone else is different than the advice you would give yourself because when it’s someone else, you’re free from the bad feelings that come with rejection. Here’s what you have to remember: The pain of rejection is just a feeling. It’s not a life sentence, it’s not a defect and most importantly it. does. not. define. you.
Somewhere between the fear of failing and the courage for it not to matter is where the magic lives. It’s the deep breath in, the brave step forward and the boldness to live life like you own it that makes it worthwhile.
Photography by Garrett Lobaugh