Rejection in any shape or form can make us crumble. It can make us feel "less-than". It can feel personal and debilitating; Discouraging us from moving forward. It may even make us give up whatever it was we were fighting for or dreaming of. It makes us want to fade away.
I'm no stranger to these feelings so I know how much they suck. So how do we move passed it when rejection - and all of those feelings - hit close to home?
Recently, I was rejected by IndieMe and IndigoFair. Both are wholesale marketplaces for makers & buyers where I was hoping to setup shop after Etsy Wholesale closed. I was so hopeful for both so when I received the rejection email, it triggered feelings and a thought pattern that happens for me when I feel rejected. They came marching in like soldiers on horses; Big, loud, and ready for battle. I spent some time being disappointed and wondering what I was doing wrong. Was I fooling myself to think what I had was any good? What I not doing enough? Is my product line way off base? Is my business in jeopardy now? So many questions and doubts. But luckily, I'm better equipped these days to bounce back quicker all thanks to therapy. If it has taught me anything, it's these few things...
Challenge the negative
Negative thoughts are like bullies. They're mean, they're cruel, and they build themselves up the worse you feel about yourself. The best way to get rid of them? Challenge them. Question them. Make them show you proof to back their argument. I like to think I'm in a court room and my negative thoughts are on the stand. It might go a little something like this...
Thought: "You were rejected! You suck! You're never gonna make it!"
Me: "Ok, so let's explore that. Yes, I was rejected. But do you know if this place was a good fit for me? Can you bring forth evidence that I suck? Do you have proof I'll never make it? What makes you so sure?"
Thought: "Uh...uh....uh....fine! But I'll be back."
Typically those negative thoughts are weak in nature and have nothing to prove their case. Some days are more difficult than others but I do my best to challenge them and that's what I did in this case. In the end, turns out, none of those thoughts were even close to the truth. Once I came to realize that maybe those marketplaces just weren't right for me at this time, and that I can still be successful, I was able to spring into action again and look for other outlets and solutions.
Consider the negative
Huh? Just when I told you to challenge it, I'm asking you to consider it? Yes. After taking the wind out of its sails, maybe there is a take-away that you can use to improve to help you be more successful in the future. You may not like the things you hear and it's not necessary to consider it all. BUT I think it's good to at least decide whether or not it applies or is relevant.
I was rejected by these wholesale marketplaces. Why? Well, fit was one thing. Presentation was another. So...what do I feel might need some improvement there? Do I adapt my style & product line to fall in line with these wholesale sites so that I get accepted? No. Can I improve my presentation? Or should I improve my presentation? Yes. White background photography was one thing that was on my radar for awhile. I know it's something that might help sell my product to stockists. So I made that a goal.
Look for other opportunities
There's never 1 of anything in this world; Except for you of course! This means that there's a whole world of opportunity to explore if something may not be right for us. So while you're questioning the negative, also question what else is there? What other ideas or things could you try? How else can you make something work or succeed?
The silver lining
Ugh...as much as I hate to be cliché...there is always a small glimmer of silver lining. Even if we hate the fact that it's there. Dangerous Minds taught us, "You have a choice. It may not be a choice you like, but it is a choice." (Great, now I want to watch the movie)
We have a choice to let the negative, the rejection, and the ugly things in life defeat us. Or we can choose to ignore it or realize it's not for us, take away what we can, learn, and move on to the next.
It gets easier
While these feelings, thoughts, or general disappointing experiences might always find a way to try to knock us down, it does get easier with conscious practice and remembering what's real. When you're having a good day, write those good things down so that when these negative things or experiences come a knockin', you'll have a jar full of proof to knock those guys out of the water.
Rejection isn't great, but it can be good - if we let it be. It pushes us into different directions and on to different paths which may lead us to better things. It forces us to accept what is and decide if we want it to be better or to do something else. Rejection is our friend that uses tough love to help us find our way and teaches us to be our best selves. So don't shut it out. Embrace it and use it to your advantage.