Rejection… hurts by Deb Meredith

posedformurderWho doesn’t hate rejection? It sucks. It hurts. It’s absolutely no fun.

I remember my first serious rejection was during the college application process. I applied to a certain Ivy League school early decision. I had great grades and activities, and my test scores weren’t awful. I thought I had a chance. I remember being so shocked and upset that they didn’t want me. I guess I hadn’t experienced much rejection at that point. But I found a school that did want me, and now I can’t imagine having spent my college years anywhere but Smith.

When you try to get published and find an agent, you often become quite accustomed to rejection (unless, of course, you’re one of those lucky people who get published right away). Getting used to rejection is not a bad thing. If you can’t take it, then you very likely give up your dream. You do your best with each query letter, but tell yourself there’s a good chance it won’t happen–just to get yourself ready for the big N-O.

When I get turned down for something, I usually have to take about 24 hours (at a minimum) to feel upset and depressed. Something awful happened, and I need to take it in. And then I try to put it behind me the best I can and move on. For me, each rejection leads naturally to a new plan. And the same coping strategy has worked well for my book tour.

What’s more painful for me then dealing with any of my own rejections, is watching my son deal with disappointment. I refused to apply for any preschools that required an interview for a two-year-old, darn it. First come, first in works fine for me. And I am so proud when he gets an award (student of the month this month in his class!). But when he came home and told me that a little girl in his class, a friend he desperately wanted, “didn’t like him,” my heart broke a little. And I stewed over it for days. But I didn’t do anything to interfere—just suggested that maybe we ask another child in his class home for a playdate.

Unfortunately for my son and myself, it’s not the first time our hearts will get broken or someone will turn us down for something. But I figure it just makes us stronger in the long run.

11 thoughts on “Rejection… hurts by Deb Meredith

  1. Oh, watching that from a mother’s perspective has got to sting. But I like your strategy of taking the time to let something hurt instead of just trying to “be over it” immediately.

  2. Thanks, Katie. I hate hearing that people turn quickly to pill popping when it’s something they should feel legitimately sad about (although I do understand about chemical imbalances, and I’m profoundly grateful not to have one). I think the phrase “what does not kill us makes us stronger” is very profound–and quite true. We can learn something from our experiences if we don’t try to skip them.

  3. Rejection when it comes to our kids is the worst, isn’t it? I’m trying so hard to teach my kids to be “centered,” and to learn to set the terms of their success and failure internally. Who knows if it’s working?

  4. You’re so wise, Tiffany! That’s a great strategy. I’m sure it’ll help them grow up into self-sufficient and confident adults. But we’re probably still going to be agonizing when they face hardship…

  5. Rejection, or not getting what we want when we want it, is an experience for any age. My mom’s philosophy: There’s something better out there for you. I believed her, still do, but have also learned that with every rejection there’s a reason why.

  6. Larramie–your mother had the right idea. Why are moms so darn smart? But more about that mother’s day week. A door closes so another door can open.

  7. As I posted during the “luck” week, some of my rejections have turned out to be blessings in the end, for me. My mom also taught me this, about how rejections are a fact of life. I remember losing a “challenge” in orchestra (this is where two musicians are competing for the same seat — seats being ranked in order of playing ability, roughly) and I thought I was robbed. The other guy had more musicality…but he’d flubbed the fingering and had to stop and start over! What good is pretty tone if you can’t play the notes? On that day, his musicality won the day anyway, and I was so mad.

    My mom agreed it seemed unfair to her, but she wasn’t about to charge up to the principal and complain and I knew better than to ask her (not that I would have, either…) Life’s unfair sometimes, and it’s how we react that matters.

  8. Oh, your poor little guy! My three-year-old is also just venturing into the social territory of playdates and I can see the four and five year old kids already form little cliques. I’m horrified and just praying I can instill in her enough confidence to not just survive, but thrive.

  9. I remember when some girls at the toddler gym ignored my daughter when she was trying to play with them. Eliza was probably 10 months old at the time but when I saw the hurt in her eyes, I realized I needed to be a lot tougher or I would not make it as a mom.

  10. Watching your kids experience rejection is certainly a great way to revisit old childhood hurts, but it’s a great way to come to terms with this, too. I find myself telling my daughters things that my mother told me — how you have to develop inner resources, develop a tough skin, etc. Only now have I actually internalized that advice; I can only hope my daughters do this someday themselves.

  11. That’s a great way to look at it, Mary. I hate seeing my kid rejected (just like Lisa and Danielle), but I’d also hate for him to have everything handed him onto a platter in the long run. Unfortunately those kids end up pretty spoiled. Although rejection hurts, I think we all like to feel that we accomplished what we did through our own initiative–even if it means hearing someone say no every once in awhile.

    Thanks for stopping by everyone!

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