By Sydney Turner
Recently I was rejected twice in one week, once romantically when I took a risk and once with my career. I am not great with rejection; I was taught my accomplishments, productivity, and likeability reflect my self-worth. And being rejected twice in one week, well, that was a new record. The majority of advice people give is always something along the lines of “rejection isn’t a reflection; it’s protection” or some other therapeutic but ultimately unhelpful bullshit. Whether that rejection is big or small, career or romantic based, out of the blue, or we saw it coming, all rejection has one thing in common, it sucks. It sucks to want something so badly to be met with a no, to have no control over it, and to feel like we are not enough. It is easy to let rejection control us, build walls around ourselves, tell ourselves that we are the problem, and stop going after things we want. But the other thing that all rejection has in common is that we will never stop receiving it. Someone will always not like us, and some opportunities will never work out for us, no matter how worthy we are, so what do we do about it?
When I think about the most significant rejections I received, the college I did not get into, the people I liked who weren’t interested, or the jobs I didn’t get, I realize that every single time something better came along after. And that bullshit saying that rejection isn’t a reflection, but protection is corny but true. The last thing about rejection is that it always has a lot less to do with us than we think. Sometimes the things we think we want so badly will not serve us; the universe often has bigger plans for us than we do ourselves. What we often view as rejection is redirection. Someone rejecting me does not mean that I am not beautiful and worthy of love; it probably just means we aren’t compatible, or they wouldn’t help me grow the way I am supposed to. A missed job opportunity does not mean I am not smart and won’t accomplish my goals; it just means that it won’t be with that job. We cannot make choices out of fear of rejection because rejection will happen regardless of what we do. The only difference is that when we make choices based on growth instead of fear, the rejections we receive will be good for us in the long run. That risk I took romantically was a risk I knew would help me grow as a person, even if I got rejected. The rejection in my career came from a job I knew I didn’t like and was staying at because of comfortability. Both rejections, while upsetting, were necessary for me to grow into the person I am supposed to be and prepare me for the jobs, relationships, and opportunities I deserve. I said earlier that the easy thing to do is to build walls, blame ourselves, and not go after what we want, and that’s true because the harder thing to do is to try again. And we have to try again because it is our belief in ourselves enough to try again that is the actual reflection of who we are, not rejection. We have to trust enough in the universe, God, ourselves, to know that whatever is meant for us is already ours. We have to have the courage to find it. We are human, so this lesson is not easy to learn, but it’s one of the most important ones. Take whatever time you need to heal from rejections because it is okay to be upset, but when you are ready, try again.
Sydney Turner is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Sydney believes in the power of Black women of every background and is invested in bringing attention to our unique perspective on important topics. You can follow Sydney on instagram @syd_pie11.