Senior year of high school I spent a good few weeks waiting for the mailman to deliver a thick envelope from my #1 college welcoming me with open arms.
I’ll never forget the day I received a rejection letter instead.
I felt a similar feeling a year later when a guy in my college dorm who I was crazy about didn’t feel the same. And years later when a company I thought I really wanted to work with went another way.
It would take years of feeling the sting of rejection before I understood that I was never being rejected at all. I was, in fact, being redirected toward something better.
We’re human and when we don’t get something we have our hearts set on, or when something doesn’t go our way, or someone doesn’t want us, it’s natural to feel disappointed or bad about ourselves.
“What’s wrong with me?” We may wonder. “Why not me?”
But, what if every time we experienced rejection we could know we’re being redirected toward something better?
Whether it’s a client, job, relationship, project, home, or anything that doesn’t work out how we want, what if we could say to ourselves, “OK, cool, there must be something better around the corner!” And keep moving forward.
What’s funny about “rejection” is that some of the time we don’t really want whatever it is we feel rejected by anyway. Consciously or unconsciously, deep down we know it’s not something we want for our lives.
The other week I was talking with a friend who was let go from her job. She was sobbing uncontrollably and felt horrible about herself.
Did I mention my friend hated her job? And for months she’d been saying her job was sucking the life out of her and she wanted to do something else, but didn’t have time to look for anything else?
Beneath the tears and self-shaming my friend knew the universe or some higher power was simply creating space for something better to show up. Though being fired wasn’t ideal, she knew someday it would make sense for her life.
Looking back it always does.
I love what Steve Jobs said in his 2005 Stanford commencement speech:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, or whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”
Next time you feel even a twinge of rejection remind yourself you’re not being rejected at all, you’re being redirected toward something better.
Try not to take it personally or allow feelings that you’re not good enough take you off course. It’s why so many people give up on their dreams when they’re so close to meeting them.
Keep your head held high and feet moving forward knowing there’s something greater in store for you.
Because there always is.
It may even show up the very next day!
“Next time you’re feeling rejected know you’re not being rejected at all – you’re being redirected toward something better.” Tweet This!
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