We have all experienced rejection, right? I recall a particular moment my freshman year of high school during lunch. After expressing something I believed in, my normal posse of friends picked up their trays and trekked to a different lunch table. I was left all alone. I remember feeling completely secluded, embarrassed and exposed. Not only was I left all alone, I was picked on by a few kids who made a joke out of the “cafeteria loner”. And this continued for weeks, although some days I resorted to eat in a stall in a bathroom.
Looking back, I don’t view it through a negative lens. Rather, I view it quite positively. I learned those friends weren’t “friends” at all. And although I could have taken what I said back, I stood strong and held on. As a result, I was able to spend more time nurturing more meaningful relationships with people who actually got me. I also realized there are people out there who are just like me who would accept me for who I am if I gave them the comfort of knowing I accept them for who they are.
The key to handling rejection is to regard it as an occurrence and not an identity. I am not a reject although I have experienced rejection—and the same is true for you. Rejection is an inevitable part of any endeavor—in some ways it’s a measure of our ambition. Letting it define who we are prevents us from achieving anything truly astonishing. And if you’ve ever read a biography or two, you know even the most successful and likeable folks experienced at great deal of rejection. However, they didn’t make an identity of it. Instead, they took it with a grain of salt and learned from it. They are no different from us.
Accept yourselves, my friends.
Please feel free to share your stories of rejection and how you handled it or how you plan to handle it; I’d love to read them.
For an extra boost, below we’ve highlighted 5 of Business Insider’s 26 Successful People Who Failed At First—you might be surprised who made the list!
Stephen King was initially so frustrated with his first novel, Carrie that he threw it in the trash.
J.K. Rowling was once fired as a secretary for ‘daydreaming.’
The first time Jerry Seinfeld went onstage, he was booed away by the jeering crowd.
Albert Einstein’s teachers labeled him “slow” and “mentally handicapped.
Marilyn Monroe’s first contract with Columbia Pictures expired because they told her she wasn’t “pretty enough to be an actress.”