Why Bother Learning from Rejection?

Why Bother Learning From Rejection?

We’ve all felt the sting of not being accepted. But, knowing that everyone has felt rejection does not diminish the personal pain we feel when we are avoided, ignored or disregarded.  Rejection is a hard teacher and no one is exempt from feeling it.  But, if we want, we can choose to learn something from it instead of just being hurt by it. We only have to ask, “What exactly does rejection have to teach me? What can I learn from something that feels so unbearable, so disconcerting and uncomfortable? 

          Positive Possibilities? 

It is a little ironic that rejection is a human experience that excludes no one. The rich as well as the poor, the old as well as the young, men as well as women are all included when it comes to experiencing rejection. 

Though rejection is felt by everyone, it is felt in varying degrees and ways. Some circumstances are more painful than others. Being the last to be chosen as a member for a team, may not feel as severe as never getting an invitation to the party that everyone else is going to.  Some of us can easily brush off the fact that we got the interview, but not the job. While at other times, divorce or estrangement from family can be excruciatingly unbearable. 

When rejected, there are some possibilities to consider. First of all, I like to remember that most of the time, I don’t have to take it personally. In other words, when I’ve been rejected by an employer for a job, or a publishing company for an article that I’ve written, a good thing for me to say is, “It wasn’t a good fit.” In other words, my personality or my writing style simply did not match with that particular culture of that particular business and that is okay.

Secondly, when rejection strikes a sensitive chord, such as an estrangement with a close family member or friend, I can allow myself to grieve the impermanent loss. Unlike death, rejection has no final ending. People can and do change. As long as there is life, there is also hope that differences can be resolved and relationships can be restored. 

Finally, rejection is sometimes necessary. For instance, when we become physically ill, our body’s response is to reject the foreign matter and fight against it. This builds up our immune system, making it stronger and enabling us to resist something that could take us out. Expanding on this idea, when we are rejected, it is an opportunity for us to build up emotional resilience. We learn how to keep going in spite of setbacks. Resilience is not something we can learn without some setbacks, including rejection.

Why bother to learn from rejection? As long as we have life and breath we will feel the discomfort of rejection. Instead of disregarding, dismissing or ignoring it, accepting it opens us to greater possibilities.

Why Bother Letting Go?

Why Bother Letting Go?

Although I know that I am not the blessed controller of all things, sometimes I have the tendency to forget. And when I do cease to remember, others who love me, kindly remind me. 

My husband is usually the first to notice my amped-up attitude and gives me the “look” that sends the unmistakable message to calm down. When friends notice my exhilarated frustration over  a particular set of circumstances which are out of my realm of control, they offer kind, but very concise words of truth, “there is really nothing you can do.”  And if I miss those cues from the people who care about me and continue to believe in my imagined powers, my body reminds me. In order to sleep, it tells me that I will have to remember how to turn off the overdrive button located somewhere in my brain. 

The Strength to Let Go

Though it may feel counter intuitive, it takes more backbone to stand down from our attempts to manipulate, control or alter another person’s thoughts. We might believe we know what is “best” for them, and even plead for them to alter the course they’ve chosen for their life, but even our best ideas are truly only a guess. We are not omniscient which is a difficult truth for some of us, like me, to believe.

But, when I finally accept the reality of my limited amount of control in someone else’s life, then the possibilities for them and for me become limitless. Our lives are not set in concrete and as long as we are alive there is always hope for change. Even though I cannot predict the timeline for a desired change to take place, I can carry the hope that someday there will be change. 

Letting go in order to allow someone to live with their choices is not the same as disregarding them. Letting go and still respecting them as a person is a personal process for us as is learning how to live their lives well is a process  for them. 

Yes, I’d like it if some people would shape-up, but I’m not in charge of their shaping. I can encourage, inspire, be a living example, and offer advice when asked, but it is not my duty to be in command of another person’s life.  

Why bother to let go? Letting go frees us to acquiesce to our present reality that we are not the blessed controller of all things, but we also know that Someone else is. 

Why Bother With Motivation?

Why Bother With Motivation?

I like good surprises, the ones that make me smile, the ones that are easy to receive and to be grateful for. Recently, I experienced a wonder such as that. A friend called to inquire about my level of motivation—where did it come from? “You are the most motivated person I know,” she said. I was flattered, but at the same time curious and cautious. I love my friend. She is creative, energetic, and educated, but most always too busy for any kind of in depth personal conversation. But, here it was, an open door for the kind of relational exchange I like the most—heart-to-heart. I was not one-hundred percent sure if I could give her the answer she was looking for, but I gave her the go ahead and she began.


As a business woman, my friend explained the various theories surrounding what motivates people. Performance levels, outcomes, expectancy, and values were some of the words she rattled on about. Without a background in business, I listened carefully. I wanted to understand the language she used as well as what she needed from me. Then she revealed what I thought was the truth of the matter. She’d made a New Year’s resolution and wanted to know, from my experience, how to stick to it. Ah, there it was, I thought, the crux of the issue. She longs to commit to something she believes is good for her. She values its outcome—that it will make her a better business woman and expand her potential for more business. She also knows she has the knowledge to take on this resolution. But, she lacks the follow through.

I asked her if she had carved out a time slot to practice this specific discipline she wanted to adopt into her life. Unlike the early quiet hours of a morning, which are the best time for me, the last hours of the day were best for her. Finding a consistent time and place to practice her resolution will help her stay the course I assured her.

Since my friend and I are cut from the same cloth—I understand her strong desire to succeed with what we start. But she confided in me that she’d started this practice before and it fell by the wayside. “What pulls you away from finishing what you begin?” Distractions are her nemesis. Because she is creative, and talented, she has a wide variety of skills. She can imagine doing so many other things while at the same time attempting to be content with what she’s chosen to do. We do have a lot of choices, but when we pick one discipline to pursue, sticking with it can open up more options than we’d imagined at the start. 

Finally, she wanted to know who inspires me. I told her I’ve had a few good role models along with some good teachers. There have been  people in my life who have a knack of pulling out of me, my very best. They see something that is hidden from my view and then they gently and persistently bring it to the surface so I can see it too. I could sense she was willing to let me help her see the success that awaits her. 

Why bother with motivation? It is worth it to understand what moves us forward or pulls off the path that we know is good for us. Coming to terms with these things may show us a gentle helper who reveals our possibilities.