Rejection. It is my theme today.
Yesterday I wrote about waiting to hear back from an agent regarding the requested sample pages I sent out last month.
Strangely enough, the rejection was in my spam folder from 10 days ago.
This then. The precipitous moment.
The life changing point. The fork in the road.
No. Not really. A year ago I would have felt like that when I was sending out queries every day and receiving rejections every day. I was at a low point. Who wouldn’t be after putting so much work into something only to have it fail?
This year I came across that novel by chance and read through it. I thought, and still think, that it is quite good despite the feedback from agents. So, I sent it out one last time to an agent that I had some friendly interactions. I expected the rejection. Perhaps that is why it happened (seed planted and all that).
Whatever the case may be. It happened. Time to move forward.
That still does not take away from the sting of being rejected, nor does it help with the feeling that everything I do fails. Apparently, however, this response is one that is based in human evolution. Being rejected hurts. For real. In a physical manner. According to an article in Psychology Today, the pain one feels upon being rejected travels along the same nerve pathways of physical pain. This is so much the case that taking Tylenol will help with feelings associated with rejection.
*where is the damn Tylenol*
“In our hunter/gatherer past, being ostracized from our tribes was akin to a death sentence, as we were unlikely to survive for long alone. Evolutionary psychologists assume the brain developed an early warning system to alert us when we were at risk for ostracism. Because it was so important to get our attention, those who experienced rejection as more painful (i.e., because rejection mimicked physical pain in their brain) gained an evolutionary advantage—they were more likely to correct their behavior and consequently, more likely to remain in the tribe.”
So Now What?
In the way the Universe works, this morning one of the first blogs I read had to do with rejection. The writer had been rejected admission to a spiritual training. In the second paragraphs, he talks about the lesson inherent in the rejection.
There is always a lesson. We might not be under the threat of death (hopefully), but a lesson is often found while wading through the hurt and the feeling of failure and the feeling of not being good enough. Note, rejection also destroys our self esteem, temporarily lowers our IQ, and does not respond to reason.
Road signs is how I like to see rejection… well, when I have gotten over the aforementioned negative gut reactions. When things start to lose the tinge of failure, I want to believe that rejection is the Universe’s way of showing me my path.
This is not to be, and that is for a reason.
These are my thoughts on a good day. On a bad day, it is more of a f*ck this shit type of response.
Good and bad. Yin and yang.
Might not be exactly an accurate comparison.
Anyway. My point is that rejection happens. It happens in work life. In social life. In relationships, spiritual journeys and in catching the bus in the morning on time.
And like so much, taking what happens and learning from it is the best way of adapting.
Not an easy task. Sometimes an impossible task, in fact.
But still the best response.
It is the third novel that has been rejected to the point that I have put them to the side.
I am not sure what that means. Maybe it is time to throw in the towel.
A career change, as I mentioned?
I don’t know. Something to ponder.
But what about you?!
How have you experienced rejection? What did you learn from it?