Let’s face it, rejection hurts. Missing out on an opportunity is disappointing. Not getting what we want in life sucks. Coming face to face with our lack of control over our circumstances is confronting. We’ve all been there, and it’s in those moments when relationships, work and life circumstances don’t go as planned or hoped that we have a golden opportunity to grow and claim our power.
So many of us hear the word “No” and we fall deep into the pits of despair. It’s natural to take rejection personally, whether it’s in matters of the heart or in the pursuit of our dreams. And yet this is so often what keeps us from reaching our intended destination. Rather than dusting ourselves off and keeping on keeping on, we tend to get stuck in the rejection, going into all sorts of disempowering interpretations of what it means about us.
I used to be a professional at this. Since I left the certain path of a career in law to partake of the circus that is the music business, I’ve had plenty of people tell me that I didn’t have what they were looking for. I’ve gotten excited about possible opportunities many times, sure that it was going to be my moment, that my break had come, only to find out that I didn’t get the gig or make the cut. There was a time when every instance of this was like a massive death blow to my spirit and my belief in what I was doing. Doubts would surface with a vengeance, my deepest insecurities would roar and I would seriously question if I was really meant to do what I was doing, despite a deeper knowing in my heart and soul that I was right on course.
After a good while of this self-inflicted torture, I came to a breaking point. It was clear that I had to choose between going down a different path to avoid the uncertainty and emotional volatility that came with it, or that I would have to approach things with a radically different mindset.
Despite all the ups and downs and the many challenges along the way, I was clear that I wasn’t ready to give up on my dreams. So instead, I made a decision that I was going to do what I love to do for the love of it and let the rest take care of itself. I resolved to love myself enough to not question my worth at every bump in the road. And I reminded myself that every great success has been preceded by many so-called failures, that it is the journey that matters most – not the destination, and that so many have given up right as they approached the doorstep to the kingdom they had been seeking along. Rather than using all these challenges as evidence of my unworthiness or that my dreams weren’t going to pan out, I would choose to see that I was being shaped and molded so that I could truly be ready when my time came.
It sounds simple but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. And the truth is, if it was so easy, we’d probably get bored and move on. Not only that, but the really juicy stuff of life – the amazing relationship, the purpose-filled career, the creative mastery that we dream of and aspire to – have to be earned. And the way that we earn it is by using the rejections, failures and challenges along the way as stepping stones, rather than allowing them to become stumbling blocks. We earn it by being so resolute in our willingness to keep going and so committed to our vision and our goals that we stop at nothing to realize them. We may go through ten “wrong relationships” before we find the one that lasts a lifetime. We may hear a hundred “No’s” before we finally hear the “YES” that changes everything. The important thing is to remember that it’s all part of the growing process and that each experience is an indispensable piece of the final puzzle.
A huge part of this is in how we choose to look at the rejections, the failures, the break-ups, the setbacks and the missed opportunities. In those moments when it seems like our will is being thwarted, it’s crucial that we root ourselves deeply in our faith, that we affirm our own worth and that we remind ourselves that there is a Divine plan of goodness for each of us and that at all times and in all circumstances, we are accounted for. And that includes our dreams and our highest good. In fact, especially where those are concerned.
So where in your life can you choose to give a new meaning to rejection, failure or a setback and turn it into a stepping stone? Where can you see the Grace and Divine plan at work in your life and on your Path?
Written for The Daily Love (Oct 21st, 2012)