Rejection: How to Handle Being a Work in Progress

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I want to write about rejection.

It's a touchy subject for me... involves lots of childhood trauma...

Ick. I hate even bringing it up. I want to be a shining example of self-confidence and self-compassion. "She is a person who people can look up to because she's never down on herself."

But let's be honest. I'm not that girl. I may never be because rejection f*cking hurts. 

It always feels personal. Something I didn't do or say, an image of myself I didn't project when I should have. I also can't deny that, as a Black woman, I sometimes admonish myself for not being twice as good. And so often taught, "Be so good, they can't say no," when you do hear a "No" (and you will), it feels even more like a personal failing.

That particular experience may be a product of race relations in America, but it's not unique to anyone that rejection is painful. MRI studies show that rejection activates the same neural pathways in our brains responsible for physical pain. 

So now that we can acknowledge rejection is pain, and it's natural to feel hurt, angry, or frustrated in these situations, how do we move past these emotions?

1. Forgive yourself.

I already talked about how this is a neurological response. We are hardwired to experience rejection. So don't feel bad if it gets to you. You don't have to stay there in those hurtful feelings. Give it time, then actively move on.

2. Don't take it personally.

It's probably not you. But for whatever reason, the thing wasn't a fit. And the reasons why are out of your control. 

This one is hard. The distinction between not getting something you wanted because it's not for you rather than not getting it because of a personal failing is not an easy mental bridge. But you have to try to make this leap.

3. Remember, it's worth it.

Yes, this is a cliché, but for a good reason. Put yourself out there in any way; sometimes, the answer will be "no." If you only hear "yes," it's a sign you might not be taking enough risk. 

Life expands when you take risks.

Don't be afraid to be a work in progress.

- Maia

About Maia

Thank you for reading. I’m Maia. I'm a developer, strategist, designer, artist and carefree adventurer and I want to see you fall in love with your brand and make your website work for you so your business grows. If you'd like to chat, please don't hesitate to contact me.
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