When I was just two years old, I had already experienced my first battle with rejection. I was a very active and naughty child, and so the daycare I was in didn’t want me. Growing up, I struggled to make and keep close friends. I felt some people, even adults, tried to change me into a person who I was never meant to be. Thus, I have struggled with a gnawing sense of insecurity and fear of being unloved almost my whole life. Despite all this, I would change very little about my life. Rejection, especially in my past, has taught me some crucial life lessons that have shaped the person I am able to be today. Here are some of them:
- Rejection has taught me to persevere.—I know many people would want to give up after being rejected so many times, but for me, it has built my tenacity. I didn’t want to be stuck and miserable, wallowing over how many people didn’t accept me as a person. For instance, before I got my current job, I had wanted to work at a bookstore. I was ecstatic when I finally got an interview at a location where they were opening a new bookstore. However, when I got interviewed, I was not only too nervous to be really effective in articulating myself, but I also quickly found out that I wasn’t the right fit for the job. I never got a call back from them. Yes, I was crushed, but that experience also taught me that there must be a better fit out there for me. A week or two later, I wanted to check on the status of my resume at my now-current job. That is when the HR scheduled an interview for me for 1 pm. I went there, not really expecting anything to come out of it, but my whole outlook changed when I got a job offer, and I accepted a day later. I have learned so much from my current job that I would never have learned if I had been accepted at the bookstore. Rejection has taught me to try different experiences and things until I found what was right for me. When I struggled to find a job in my career field, I volunteered first. Then, through many tries and stops, I finally found a job that was a good fit for me. It wasn’t easy, but it has been worth it.
- Rejection has taught me to forgive.—This has been the toughest lesson that I have been learning and have had to learn. I didn’t know it at the time, but I used to be very bitter and angry at the people that rejected me. I felt that if I was physically dying, for instance, they would just abandon and not help me. However, even from their rejection, they have actually contributed to me being a better person in a way. I have learned not to judge some of them as harshly as I did, because of the pain I may have put them through and also because of their own personal pain that had little or nothing to do with me. Also, I see Jesus Christ’s example of how He was able to persevere through rejection by saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” as He hung on the cross to die. I also want to follow Jesus’ example, not only because I am a Christian, but also for my own healing from the rejection.
- Rejection has taught me to value others more.—This has been one of the most valuable lessons that I have learned from being rejected. I know the pain and hurt that I have experienced because of some people unfairly rejecting me, and I never want anyone else to have to experience that with me. That is why when my co-workers and friends feel unappreciated, unloved, or having a bad day, I strive to be encouraging to them and have them see the value that still resides in them. When I was relating a poem that I wrote referring to my experiences with being rejected in the past, someone said to me, “Do you know that many people here love you?” I said that I did. Furthermore, because of my experiences with past rejection, I actually value the people in my life that love and support me more than I would have if I had never been rejected in my life! I have learned that people should always be loved and cherished for who they are, and not to be molded in the image of whom you want them to be.
Despite the pain and hurt of being rejected, good still has come out of these negative experiences. I still hate being rejected, but instead of wallowing in anger and bitterness as in the past, I will strive to take these and other rejection experiences as life lessons to persevere, forgive, and value others who do accept and support me, more.