*Disclaimer: This post really has nothing to do with running besides the fact that I thought about it while running…*
Ah, rejection. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s within a social group, a romantic relationship, a job interview, or an audition we all know what rejection feels like. And, it sucks. It sucks because someone or something doesn’t accept us for who we are. For the choices we’ve made. And what could hurt more than being ostracized for the very being we encompass?
Not much right?
If you’re a perfectionist, like me, you never want to do anything wrong. Ever. And when you do, it’s kind of funny in a sense, because you end up rejecting yourself. You self-shame and ridicule yourself for the poor choice you made or the thing you didn’t do correctly. So, while rejection hurts from others, it also hurts from our own selves.
As I’ve mentioned, I spent many years in recovery for mental health issues, and a lot of those issues stemmed from this ideal image of myself in my head that I could never live up to. A horrible, terrible beast called perfectionism.
We all have standards we want to live up to, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. For many it’s a form of motivation, and it keeps us moving towards that ultimate goal of being the best version of ourselves we can be. But, for others, it’s detrimental. It takes over and dictates every move we make. Perfection is an unattainable goal, and unbeknownst to the perfectionist, it can never be accomplished. And while we try and try to achieve perfection it’s not attainable on this earth, and it may even become a sickness.
Sorry, I digressed.
Let’s talk about rejection. As I stated earlier, rejection sucks, I know. I’ve been rejected so many times I’m surprised I’m sane enough to write this post. My years in theatre did wonders with introducing me to the heartbreak of rejection. But, I’ve also experienced rejection in social settings and romantic relationships, and I’ve rejected others, myself. Rejection is something we all face, and if you’ve never been rejected I feel sorry for you, and I’ll tell you why.
I’ve been doing some research on rejection recently. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word reject as, “to refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use.” Negative. Completely negative, which makes sense. Rejection isn’t seen as a positive action.
But, let’s go one step further. Where does the word reject derive from? The Latin form of reject is rēiectus, which means “to throw back.” To throw back. Not, to throw away or to discard, but to throw I back. Back to where it started.
When I found this out I got to thinking. Maybe rejection isn’t such a bad thing after all. Maybe rejection brings us back to where we started, but with knowledge we didn’t have before. Have you ever thought, “I wish I could go back to that time knowing what I know now?” I know I have, and the more I think about it the more I believe rejection gives us that opportunity.
So, you were just dumped, and it hurts like hell, and now you’re back to where you started. Back to being single, but now you know what doesn’t work for you. You know a little better what you want and don’t want in a future partner. And you know what does and doesn’t make you happy.
So, you didn’t get the job you thought you had in the bag, and you’re back to the drawing board. What did or didn’t you do during that interview process that caused you not to get the job? If you know, you’re one step closer to landing what will hopefully be your dream job.
So, you didn’t get the role you worked your butt off for. Instead, you’re in the chorus. Damn. I can’t even write that without bringing up so many memories. But maybe you needed to be humbled, or maybe being in the chorus is giving you the opportunity to work on your craft, because you have more time to do so.
So, maybe rejection isn’t as bad as we all think it is. Yes, rejection can hurt mentally, emotionally, and physically (It’s true. Rejection can actually cause physical pain. Google it.), but rejection also gives us the chance to grow. To go back to the beginning and try again, but take a different approach this time to ultimately get us to where we should be.
I know I’ve mentioned before not to look back when you’re running or going through recovery or whatever the situation may be, but this is different. Rejection is bringing you back to your true self in order to strengthen you and help you grow.
Isn’t that exciting?
You now have a brand new opportunity in front of you to thrive. And, if you get rejected again, take a different approach. I can’t promise it won’t hurt, but rejection is a fact of life, so might as well look at it positively, right? I believe it was Thomas Edison who said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” So, if you’ve been rejected recently, good for you! Take this opportunity to find yourself, and try again. You can do it!
Okay, I take back my disclaimer about this not being about running. Here is a picture of me in my Christmas running gear. Woohoo!