19. Rejection? Or Expression?

Good morning and welcome to your nineteenth meditation. How well do you think you take rejection? Does it hurt or are you inured to it? Do you crumple or does it only make you try harder to get what you’re after? Maybe being rejected makes you feel like you have suffered an injustice; you become bitter and resentful. But perhaps it makes you consider how you might improve; or it inspires you to alter your approach, or even to move the goal posts altogether. Being rejected is a an interesting phenomenon in that, although it seems like something we would generally want to avoid, it tends to be the direct outcome of pursuing our passions – an activity that we are constantly reminded that we need to do. Just do it, go after it, what is there to lose?, you only live once – if our friends and family fail to hurl these messages at us regularly then we can certainly rely on Hollywood movies and advertising to bombard us with them all the time. What tends to get discussed less is what happens when your dreams bump up against someone else’s and these two sets of dreams are incompatible. Because this is effectively what rejection is, isn’t it. You can take all the right steps to achieve a goal, you can tick all the boxes, but there will always be someone who doesn’t like what you’ve done for reasons that correspond to their own goals or ideals. And this is the trick to learning how to deal with rejection. To understand that on the other end of any rejection is another person or group of people who have their own tastes and desires that happen not to align with yours is to understand that that rejection is not a determination of your objective value, but a ruling on what they value. It kind of has nothing to do with you. It is an expression of someone else’s will, which is just as important as yours and should be respected. Perhaps this strikes you as an overly altruistic or selfless approach to living. You may say to yourself, “I’m all for respecting people, but I need to look after myself first, and I can’t be bothered with the desires of others if they interfere with me achieving my goals”. But the truth is that this method of acknowledging the perspective of the rejecting party does serve you. Firstly, it can allow you to see yourself how they see you, and so help you to know how to improve. And, perhaps more profoundly, understanding that rejection is never the whole world passing judgment on your merit, but an expression of  one or a few subjective wills, helps you see that your rejection often does not represent a failing in you. How can you view as failure that in you which one person despises for the exact same reasons that another person adores you. And thank goodness people’s tastes and desires are so varied. The more that is true, the more opportunity there will be for all of us. So hey, sometimes you’re not right for the part. No problem. You’re likely perfect for another one. And the more you try your best the more you’ll see where you do fit in. So keep it up. You’re doing great. Have a wonderful day.

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