Navigating Rejection: Three simple reminders

Navigating Rejection: Three simple reminders

Hi modern minders,

Hope life is treating you well so far this week.

This is the first of what I hope to be many extended thoughts from the modern mind instagram page. Think of it like an appendix that you actually want to read. 

I had been scratching my head this evening for a topic that I could confidently write another post on, I happened to receive an email that was all too familiar.. a polite ‘thank you, but no thank you’ kind of email and it HIT me, I have an incomparable amount of experience in something most people recoil at: rejection ༼ つ ಥ_ಥ ༽つ

You could argue that having the most experience in the worst type of thing isn’t a particularly impressive feat, but nevertheless part of me feels a little proud of this win. It’s kind of like coming first place for the worst dressed.

Life consists of many yes and no's throughout any given day. However, it’s the frequency of the no’s, and what side of them you stand on that start to accumulate over time. If there’s one industry that likes to serve them up on ice.. it’s got to be modelling.

I have probably heard or had to just assume ‘no’ hundreds of times in my life so far. Sometimes face to face, sometimes digitally and sometimes just a right on the spot non spoken no (these are the worst almost.. don’t ask me why). Each of which have the same effect and reasoning - Just not right, not now - It’s not you it’s me, except it is you, because we chose someone else. Ouch.. right? But weirdly enough, they couldn’t mean less to me now, because as soon as I walk out the door it’s as if the experience is wiped of my mind. Over time I’ve found  ways to take power away from no’s altogether.

So I figure if its helped me - maybe you might find something for yourself in my theory of it all. So strap in and prepare to explore what 8 years of receiving no’s has taught me thus far.

MY STRATEGY FOR REJECTION..

Firstly - Why do we all pretend like rejection is something that happens but just never to us? We treat rejection like a scent that might stick to us if we don’t immediately pretend it didn’t happen. It’s like something must be wrong with us if we are rejected right? Absolutely not.

Whether we’re feeling it from a friend, lover, family, career etc. it feels the same way when it lands: shit. The pain of the impact depends on how invested we were on the outcome we wanted and the difference between that and the reality of what happened.

Now despite that feeling ridiculous to type (yes, even more than the fact this is 2022 and I’m still choosing to write a blog post), its something we all do unconsciously. We get upset over something that didn’t happen according to how we wanted it to.. because logically the world behaves according to the most idealistic version of we want to happen.. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Regardless, rejection hits and it feels like crap. So what to do? What we wanted to happen, effectively did not happen, and now we have to deal with it - the loss of that idealistic scenario. Now for my eight years of experience hack..

part one:

expectation = rejection.

Now, the bold feels dramatic, but the lesson is worth the added emphasis. This may be something you are already familiar with but even so, reminding ourselves can help to keep us in more of an emotionally balanced place.

When we start to build an expectation around an outcome, we start to build the ladder that we ultimately jump off when reality plays out. The higher the ladder, the more painful the fall.

Just to clarify, I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t hope for best and imagine that happening, because that’s important in creating our lives. But when we start expecting, we enter the danger zone. I’ve found that the best place to be mentally, is to trust that what is meant for you, will always work out for you. That way, we can start to flow with whatever is happening in our worlds. You can start to seperate yourself from rejection when you start to trust that your life is perfect, as it is, in this very moment. Anything that doesn’t work out, is simply not the best thing for you right now. Not never - just not right now.

As soon as you start to tear down the expectations of what ‘should’ happen, we start to break down that ladder. We start to let go of the rose tinted future we have painted and enjoy the present moment just that much more, because we stop pretending we know what’s going to happen next.

Rest assured knowing that good things will happen for you in perfect time.

part two:

your sense of self - doesn’t concern anyone else

Arguably this is actually the more important of the two parts, but I’ve typed this far and I’m not turning back. Rejection becomes an armed weapon when we give it the power to determine our worth. The word no effectively turns into a bullet, so don’t be out there and handing people emotionally loaded guns. Trust me - you’re only going to hurt yourself. The word no only hurts as much as the meaning we place on the outcome and sometimes we tie that outcome to our worth. That job promotion, asking out someone you really like, reaching out for help when you need it most. Going after something what you want or need and receiving a yes is great, but it doesn’t make you a better person than if you had heard a no.

Your value as a person does NOT change based on how others value you or what you have to offer. Other people’s tastes and preferences change, and you can not let the fickle nature of that be the base of your self worth. This is a two-sided coin because just as we shouldn’t let someone’s rejection make us feel unworthy, we can’t let others validation make us feel worthy either. 

Resist the urge to let how other people see you to be more important than how you see yourself. In modelling I simply can not allow how others see me affect how I see myself. Some days are great, you feel on top of your game, working with a great team and the photos are amazing. Other days (in the same week) I can be called anything between too fat and too skinny in the same 2 hour span. If I used others opinions of myself as my guide.. I would be one very very lost soul.

Work on trusting yourself and who you are. Write a big long list of all the things that you love about yourself and read it over a few times to let it sink in. You are wonderful and don’t allow anyone to make you feel any different. (okay bridget jones diary mode has been terminated, let’s continue..)

BONUS part three:

Don’t take it personally

Alright well, while I’m at it, I might as well go the whole way. This is one that I’ve snagged from Don Miquel Ruiz himself, and have to remind myself of daily. It’s so simple that it hurts and it’s changed my entire outlook of life. Don’t take it personally. That’s it. Not much more to say on this one, it speaks for itself. Nothing anyone does is a personal attack on you as a person. Move forward with peace, don’t let it stick, and don’t let your ego fool you into thinking it was about you - because its not.

 

So, to sum it up:

  1. Let go of your expectations, trust that things are going work for you

  2. How you see yourself is more important than how others see you

  3. Whatever happens - don’t take it personally

     

Imagine what life would be like if everyone always just said yes to you - god it would be boring. What would push us to our limits, to be better, to grow, to improve? Every time I go to a casting, an interview or a meeting - I can feel my nerves start to pulse through my veins but ultimately I find peace knowing that whatever happens is exactly what should be going on in my life right now. Sometimes things work out how we would like, and sometimes they do not. Things not working out is not always a bad thing.. I’m sure, like myself you can think of a situation off the top of your head where you DESPERATELY wanted something to work out, and now looking back - you can’t imagine anything worse. See? Sometimes we don’t know what’s best for us.

Know what’s worth fighting for, because rejection is only a bump on the road. It does not mean stop going after what you really want in life. If I lived by that I would have given up many things long ago. But start to take them in your stride instead of letting them make you feel inferior or small. The more you start to hear no, is also when you’ll start to hear more yes. It means you are actually knocking on doors, instead of being too afraid to try at all.

So remember, next time you're feeling rejected & down, that if you hadn’t tried you would have never known & trust that right now, things are exactly as they should be in your life. Don’t give up and feel afraid of trying again, because the more you experience it, the less meaning you attribute to it. Try releasing your built expectation of how life should work out for you. We create the lives we lead, but it’s never exactly how we imagine it to be. Good things are coming your way, so keep knocking on doors. Don’t let the fear of rejection slow you down.

We can’t ever quite know what will happen next, but we can do our best & be our best to try make life lean in our favour.

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