Throughout our lives, we all confront the challenge of rejection in our personal relationships, at school, the workplace, and so on. Of course, some folks struggle with this sense of loss more than others. How individuals deal with rejection can partially shape the trajectory of their lives.
Some people can expect the worst if they become accustomed to rejection and crawl into a shell of anxiety and depression as a result. By contrast, others might strive to build character traits such as motivation and perseverance due to several rejections. Famous athletes, business folks, entertainers, military leaders, etc., often have had to toil for years through trial and error before they “made it.”
If you encounter a rejection scenario, it’s crucial to take it in stride as just a natural facet of the slings and arrows of human existence. However, it’s normal to feel gloomy when you experience an occurrence of a turndown. I recall a number of examples from my own life, when I attempted to transcend depression following rejection letters in the spheres of employment and writing. Yes, written letters delivered by mail, whereas now you might receive a letdown notice via email or text!
First, several years ago I applied to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) when I resided in Winnipeg for about five years. I did not reach the interview stage that follows the application process. I received a “diplomatic” rejection letter, but there were no stated reasons for this turndown. It might have been due to the fact that during my childhood, our family moved almost every year all over North America. Perhaps the RCMP desired candidates whose upbringings had greater stability. I was a tad depressed but moved on because I was attending university and working, so I didn’t have time to wallow in depression.
Next, during my four-year tour in the U.S. Coast Guard, I had a roller coaster event. I was very interested in a flying career, so I applied to the Coast Guard aviation sector. I passed the flight physical and underwent an interview before a panel of officers in Mobile, Alabama. After a few weeks, I received one of those “soft” landing rejection letters that offered no specific rationale for turning me down. I figured that it could be due to a minimal number of completed math/physics courses, which are requisites for piloting and navigation.
It took me longer to get over this rejection because I had exerted much more effort into the entire process. However, I carried on with my duties and vowed to do my best in whatever avenues life took me, because some events are beyond one’s control. I’ve lost count of how many rejection letters I’ve received from private and public sector institutions, as well as for articles submitted to print publications.
Finally, my third experience has a happier evolution. It reinforced the fact that we rarely get exactly what we want, but we often get what we need to strengthen our purpose in life. In high school, I realized that I had some talent for writing, so I began journaling and creating poems.
In a few years, I started to pen essays on a wide range of topics and began to submit them for publication. For over 20 years, I was also involved with education, where I had the privilege of assisting students who wrestled with reading and writing assignments.
I discovered what an arduous process it was for some of my writing samples to be accepted in a few print media outlets. There were countless rejection notices by email or postal mail, and often no response at all from editors and publishers. These learning experiences fueled my persistence in writing persuasive and timely articles that fit the particular philosophy of each publication. I discovered that writers are fortunate if 20 percent of their creations are accepted for publication. I’ve had over 100 articles published, so do the math as to how many I’ve authored!
Rejection is part of life and it can be painful, but it can also build character and lead you toward your destiny in life. Whenever you face rejection, cope with it by putting your shoulder to the wheel and seeking the silver lining in each situation. With time, you might even develop a thick skin and shrug off each closed door with a view toward the next learning opportunity. Faith in your God-given talents can also generate a balanced perspective on life. Remember that acceptance or rejection can arrive when you least expect them to, so expect the unexpected and handle each moment with dignity.
Christian Milord, California
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