We’ve all been rejected at some point in our lives. It hurts, horribly.
The first rejection I experienced (that I clearly remember) was when I was 15-years-old.
I was babysitting for a family friend and texting on and off this boy I really liked.
He sat near me in graphics class and was funny with lots of long, messy hair. I decided to take a leap of faith and “ask him out” that night.
I was so bored babysitting (I couldn’t work the telly and there were absolutely no biscuits in the house – what in fresh heck!) so the wait for a reply was agonising.
And then, maybe 20 minutes after I sent the original message, came the inevitable rejection.
“Sorry, I like you, but I’d hate to jeopardise our friendship.”
Well, to my little 15-year-old self that’s what it felt like.
I don’t remember what happened afterwards, but I must have written a garbled reply saying I “understood”, cried a few sad tears, and then tried hard not to worry about how I’d hold myself together during the next graphics lesson.
But I survived. That was 10 years ago. I don’t know where graphics guy is, or what he’s doing. The last time I saw him to be honest, he’d chopped his hair really short.
I’ve experienced many more rejections since then; from boys, girls, hiring managers, colleagues, bosses, and even old housemates.
Yet, despite getting older (and wiser?) each one still always hurts the same.
But I’d rather suffer the embarrassment of being told “no” over not putting myself out there any day.
The thing about rejection is that often (not always, but often) it is a surprise. And when you realise your hopes have been dashed, you feel embarrassed, hurt, small, and insignificant.
But you have to get back up again.
I’m learning to do that.
I write a lot about my career hopes and dreams, and I’m going to mention them again. It’s hard. I can see what I want. It’s right there, and I’m slowly pushing my way towards it. But it’s a drawn-out and difficult process – filled with rejection.
I’m marching on though, and I refuse to take my eyes off that goal.
“You don’t get what you want. You get what you work for”.
I need this reminder sometimes, and it helps greatly writing everything down.
It forces me to remember what I want, and what I’m working for.
If you got this far, thank you for reading.
*NB – In case this article gives off a dark impression, David hasn’t rejected me as a partner (yet). Our relationship is still alive and kicking even if I am prone to tantrums and he throws clothes around the house like we live in a city centre Primark.