“There are still many more days of failure ahead, whole seasons of failure, things will go terribly wrong, you will have huge disappointments, but you have to prepare for that, you have to expect it and be resolute and follow your own path.” Anton Chehkov
This past week I learned an essay I submitted for publication failed to garner any positive attention. I received a brief, but gracious email stating my submission failed to meet their criteria. The one word I heard in surround-sound and high definition: rejected. After closing my inbox, it flashed in my mind. Unsettled, I filled my personal black hole with distractions: answering emails, revising an article for a freelance project, while reminding myself, that I will submit this same essay to another publication.
Despite small, large, personal and professional rejections in my past, it feels as if I am experiencing this angst for the first time. This recent “you are not good enough” moment made me ask these questions: How do I handle rejection? Has my thought process evolved from my twenties and early thirties? Do any of us really embrace rejection?
As I contemplated these questions, my daughter complained to me about two friends who exclude her from joining their group. She says, “Momma, they don’t like me. I do not understand.” I comforted her and encouraged her to play with different friends. She wiped her tears and in the very next second, she appeared ready to digest next moment. For the remainder of the evening, she never mentioned the incident again.
I am always amazed at how my daughter, without even realizing it, teaches me so much how to handle my some of my own struggles. Bouncing back and moving forward are not traits that I always keep at the forefront. I tend to take one “rejection” and magnify it to other areas of my life. It becomes one of those personal pity sessions, where I am adept at feeling sorry for myself. The essence of rejection is how I choose to handle it. How many times have I heard that? The most repeated clichés are the lessons I struggle to internalize.
Ultimately, what choice do I have? I know rejection will happen again. My daughter helps me accept this truth:This is where the real living happens.