“I don’t love you anymore.”
“Although you are an extremely qualified candidate, we have decided to move forward with another candidate for this position.”
“I’m sorry, but we shouldn’t see each other anymore. You’re a nice girl, but I just don’t think this is going anywhere.”
“We’re going to have to let you go. You’ve been a good employee, but times are tough right now.”
Ah, rejection. None of us are immune to it.
It doesn’t matter where you are in life, and whether it’s ending a marriage, breaking up with a partner, being passed up for a promotion, or receiving the pink lay-off slip from your boss. Even the strongest of us can’t help but feel like we did something wrong when the person we loved and cared about and spent our lives with as a partner suddenly doesn’t want to be with us anymore.
“Why don’t they love me anymore?”
“What did I do wrong?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“What could I have done differently?”
These thoughts — the “shoulda coulda woulda” thoughts that hijack our brains — have a nasty way of creeping up on us as we try to regain our confidence and self-esteem. Many times, we think that we are to blame for the fact that our relationship ended. That self-blame usually leads us to feel rejected, like we are not worthy of love as we start this new chapter in our lives.
It’s time we start looking at rejection in a different way: one that will empower us instead of a feeling that continues to hold us down and question ourselves and lower our self-worth.
The next time you are feeling bad because of a recent rejection — whether it is from the end of your long marriage, or because the person you were dating decided not to return your calls, or because you did not get hired for the job you were hoping for, remember the following.
Rejection is like those trippy fun house mirrors. It is not a reflection of you or your self-worth.
You know the ones I’m talking about. Whenever you go to a carnival or a visit a beach boardwalk — two activities that many of you may have enjoyed this past summer — you may pass a long mirror that you may stop in front of.
What do you see there? Do you see your smiling reflection looking back? The one that reflects the wise and strong person you are?
Nope. Instead, you see this warped vision of yourself, with a stretched-out head or shortened legs, and you look silly. It’s not you. And it’s not a reflection of you. You know this, so you probably just laugh and continue enjoying yourself.
Rejection is the same thing. The fact that somebody doesn’t want to be with you anymore has nothing to do with you — it has everything to do with the craziness the rejector is projecting on to you. Their rejection is that stupid fun-house mirror. And your reaction to that rejection — the one where you wonder what you did wrong, or why they don’t love you anymore, is nothing more than the silly stretched head and widened body you see in the silly mirror.
It’s not you. It’s not your reflection. So instead of just standing in front of the mirror, worrying how it makes you look, go ahead and step away from it, because it has nothing to do with you.
Instead of staying in the prison of rejection, thinking that it defines who you are, move away from it, focus on what makes you feel good, what you are proud of in this life, and everything that you have accomplished.
Once you focus on yourself, there’s something very important you need to understand. It’s a secret about rejection that many don’t know, and few know how to integrate.
You’re dodging a bullet when you get rejected.
When I think of all the times I was rejected, I remember how, at the time, I thought my world was ending. But now I realize these things were actually a HUGE blessing in disguise.
A few months ago, I was laid off from a job because the corporate big-wigs said I wasn’t needed anymore. But looking back, I knew that rejection actually served me well because it meant I was leaving a company that no longer valued me, and it was giving me a chance to pursue work that was more professionally and spiritually satisfying. If that rejection hadn’t happened, who knows? I’d probably still be there, unhappy and unfulfilled.
Years ago, I was dumped by somebody I was dating, and I remember feeling like my world had ended. But that rejection turned out to be a blessing in disguise because being out of that relationship helped me realize how unhealthy it had been to spend time with someone who did not deserve my love.
The rejections that you are dealing with at this time in your life, although varied, are actually the same at their core. The rejection of your partner not wanting to be in that relationship anymore, or that person not returning your calls, or that boss that doesn’t appreciate you who is letting you go, is actually the universe saying, “Hey! You deserve better than this! Consider this your wake-up call to go and work on yourself, find out what makes you happy, and establish your independence!
As you learn to live each day mindfully, what better gift is there?
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