When was the last time you were rejected?
If you’re ambitious (to any extent), you can probably remember a time over the past year when you felt rejected. Fired from a job. Never even got the interview? Dumped by a significant other. Embarrassed at work? Failed an exam. Missed an opportunity. Lost the chance of a lifetime? Twice?
I know how it feels. I have experienced every single one of these “travesties.” Rejection hurts.
But what if it weren’t a rejection at all? What if what happened had nothing to do with that particular person, company, or situation? What if it was all meant to be? And all meant for your greater good?
What if every single time you have been rejected, it was actually a redirection. From on high. From the universe. From God. From whatever. Instead of it being a cruel rejection (caused by that person, company, or situation), what if it instead was actually a life-changing redirection (forced by someone or something that knows much better than you what is best for you)?
A few months ago, I was chatting with one of my Break Diving staff members, Ileana from Hawaii, and I was telling her about some new “rejection” in my life. I don’t recall anymore what I was sharing with her, but I do remember distinctly what she replied to me. I was telling her about this “horrible” rejection I had just experienced, and she had the wisdom to matter-of-factly set me straight: “Hey Monroe, it’s not a rejection, it’s a redirection.” And my life was changed forever.
For some reason, whenever I encountered some heart-wrenching rejection, I would always get angry at myself, and at the other people involved, i.e. those who caused that terrible rejection. It was always hard to look at it as a blessing.
I think what made it click for me was the alliteration. You see, the differences between the letters in the word “redirection” and the word “rejection” are not many. The only differences are “dir” and “j.” The words are so close, and yet, their meanings completely opposite. “Rejection” sends me into an aimless rebound with no map or goal; “redirection” turns me around gently, gives me a focus, and sends me happily on my way toward what I was truly meant to pursue. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Even if you’re not someone who believes in God, many studies have proven that prayer does indeed have a positive effect on those who partake. Similarly, here, just by forcing yourself to refocus how you interpret what has happened, you can improve how you feel about what happened. You can even turn it into a genuinely positive event. As Ileana also once said to me (she’s a wise one), “You can’t change your history, but you can definitely change the story.”
This idea of reframing life’s “interruptions” as redirections instead of rejections assists our psyche in so many ways. Consider this. Too often we think we are certain that we know what is best for our lives, when in reality, we often make poor decisions and pursue things and people who are completely wrong for us. We all make imperfect decisions based on imperfect data and change our minds constantly based on constantly changing (and imperfect) data and emotions. This is true for each of us, regardless of our self-control. The bottom line is that, often, what made sense yesterday just doesn’t make sense today.
Acknowledging that, are we not better off by reframing it all? What if we just accepted that “interruptions” are going to happen in our lives for our best purpose? Is it not wise to expect that the decisions we make are not always going to be correct, but that ultimately, everything happened that way in order to lead us to something greater?
This shift in mindset prepares you to look at the world before you for the opportunity it offers, with gratitude and acceptance in your heart. What better way to face the day ahead?
Maybe rejection doesn’t then even exist. With enough time, if you look back, you don’t see rejection, but instead, a redirection. A redirection to something bigger, better, or simply more right for you.
Some may scoff, “What’s the point of trying to lie to myself that negative things that happened to me are good for me and my life?”
Because otherwise, you will harbor bitterness, anger, and regret day in and day out. You have to be pragmatic. If you don’t change your thinking, that negativity robs you of your future. As I wrote in a prior article, even just a 5 percent improvement on your present situation can have exponential positive effects on your self-esteem and emotional state. If you’re constantly looking backward, though, you’ll never even give yourself a chance to find that 5 percent improvement.
Even if you think you know what is precisely perfect for you and your life, more often than you’d like to admit, you are mistaken. The older I become, the more I recognize that what I was certain was a terrible rejection was in fact the perfect redirection. Why was it so painful then? My ego was hurt, and that’s what bothered me most. As we all should know, our egos are poor decision makers for our lives.
So, moving forward, when you receive a redirection, it may be God redirecting you, or maybe the other person sees you more objectively. Maybe your own subconscious is working diligently to keep you from going down that path.
You have two choices: You can choose to live your life classifying all of the “terrible” things that happen to you as rejections, or you can choose to look at them for what they truly are: hope-filled redirections. The bitter, angry soul will find heartless and unfair rejections around every corner; the optimistic, positive soul will instead find gentle and wise redirections instead. The choice is up to you.
As you go through the rest of this week, look at everything that happens to you as a wise redirection that is setting you on the perfect course of action that you are destined to travel for the realization of your best self. You could even look at your past and apply this perspective to so-called rejections you suffered long ago.
I am reminded of a quotation by Winston Churchill. He helps to sum up why we shouldn’t feel destroyed when some setback comes our way:
“To every man, there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for that which would be his finest hour.”
What a tragedy if you end up not being redirected from a wrong path, and thus never find that special moment.
Before we go, I just want to point out that if we take the ‘dir’ and the ‘j’ from the two words themselves, we can come up with a reminder: dirj.
What does dirj mean? It means that from this point forward, whatever you are upset about, reframe it: it’s a redirection, not a rejection. So in closing, no matter what is bothering you, I just have three words for you: Dirj.
Can you dirj it?
Dr. Monroe Mann (Psych Ph.D., MBA) is an attorney, author, actor, bronze-star nominated Iraq vet, motivational speaker, and founder of socialmedia2.0 at BreakDiving.io. No Rules. No Excuses. No Regrets. Remember: It’s not a rejection, just a redirection. Follow on Twitter: @monroemann and: youtube.com/monroemann More: monroemannlaw.com