Please reject me.
Yeah, I really mean it. Why? Well, because I’m trying to make friends with my fear of rejection. I’m practicing rejection, if you will. I have to – it’s part of writing and being a writer. There are going to be people who love what I write and people who think it’s rubbish. More than that, rejection is part of life, or at least of any life that is well-lived, so we might as well learn to have a better relationship with it. Rejection happens when we do things, when we step outside of the shadows, and when we start shining a light with our lives. In short, it’s a good sign that you’re on track to do something amazing.
Putting a book out into the world feels like having a baby. As you birth it and release it for others to make judgements over, you feel vulnerable, exposed, and well, exhausted. You also have to let it have its own life. You see, I write to unburden my soul. I put onto paper the things that get put onto my heart so that I might live with a light heart and with peace of mind. The problem is that after what was once on my heart is on paper, it is no longer mine. It belongs to the reader. I therefore have no right to determine their experience of it because it is theirs to interpret, not mine. My job was simply to put it out into the world. Similarly, it is our job to put ourselves out into the world, but in doing so, we must be prepared to ask for rejection.
You might not have realized it, or put much thought into it, but if you’re not willing to confidently ask others to reject you, then you aren’t yet ready to live out the fullness of your dreams. Let me clarify. Being okay with the prospect of rejection means that we are pursuing that which it is we are pursuing for pure reasons and not for or because of what others might think or say. We don’t have to want the rejection, but we do have to want to be ready for it and we do have to want to be open to it. Being open to rejection – and learning how not to take it personally – is a marker that you are maturing in your pursuit of self-development and confidence.
So, as you pursue the art of living beautifully and your particular calling to make a positive indent on this world, keep this in mind:
Not everyone will like you.
Not everyone will support you.
Not everyone will have something nice to say about you.
Not everyone will agree with what you put out.
And that’s all okay. That’s part of what makes the world so interesting and fascinating – the fact that we are all different and that we have the right to be. It’s when we learn to start seeing rejection for what it is – an opportunity to practice confidence, we will then learn to stop wasting time and energy being offended and instead see each rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow.
This positive twist on the concept of rejection is easier said than done. I want to be liked. I want to be accepted by everyone. I want my writing to make a difference to every reader. I want to, well, stand out but at the same time fit in. The problem is that those people who are well-liked by everyone rarely do anything noteworthy with their voices or their lives. I want my live to make waves, and in doing so, I need to be ready to accept that not everyone will like the ride.
Embrace rejection. Invite it in. It will strengthen your self-assurance and confidence, for it is a reminder that confidence doesn’t come from the approval or affirmation of others, but rather from the inside.
Practice rejection. In doing so, you are practicing the implementation of choosing your thoughts regardless of the opinions and input of others. In short, the practice of rejection is the active pursuit of emotional learning. The more you learn to trust God’s plan for you – and stop looking around for the approval of others – the more you will learn about how to live your life well. And, those who have a passion for learning have a voracious appetite for life.
I don’t know about you, but I want people to describe me as having “an appetite for life.” In order to do that I need to get past the fear of rejection and the fear of people’s opinions – for those things distract me from being able to be fully engaged in the present or in my own journey – and I need to get on with the pursuit of learning, love and living voraciously in this beautiful thing we call life.