Rejected

“Unfortunately you’re not what we’re looking for at the moment.”

“You have shown great credentials but unfortunately you will not be…”

“You’re great but…”

No.

 

Rejection sucks! There’s nothing like giving your best or opening yourself up only to have someone else decide you’re not good enough. Very few of us take rejection well, I’m definitely still learning and have a lot more to do but I’ve been given some advice that has helped make it easier. It’s still pretty damn hard though.

Rejection comes in all forms… maybe even literal ones. You apply for a job, scholarship, internship, raffle prize – and you’re told you won’t be receiving it. Sometimes you don’t even get that courtesy and you’re left guessing for ages until you figure out that it was a “no”. Humans don’t like hearing that, “no”. It hurts. How most people circumvent the painful feelings is by saying things like, “I never wanted it anyway.” or even “I’m too good for that place.” Although it may numb the heart a bit to the pain, this is one of the worst ways we can react. It is widely accepted that a key component of growth is, ironically, acceptance. You know who reacts badly when not getting what they want, every single time? Babies. As we grow we have to learn that sometimes things don’t always go our way. At some point in your life you will get rejected. #Fact

I guess rejection helps give life purpose. If you had everything at your disposal at all times, with no effort required – what would be the point? I know you’re probably saying “I’d rather have things fall on my lap all the time than feel the sting of rejection even once,” I sympathise with you even as I type this, but I believe it’s something programmed deep inside of us that makes us want to succeed and break barriers. How can you succeed when there is no competition, no opposition? What barriers are you breaking when everything goes your way instantly?

The good thing is this and I’ll ask that you hold on to it.

‘Rejection will let you know that you are aiming high enough’.

If everything is moving smoothly without a hitch then you aren’t extending yourself. It’s like going to the gym and doing a session with 50 g masses. It will be easy to do because it’s not hard for your body. The heavier the weight the more difficult it is to complete sets. You know you’re at your level when you can just about finish/fail to finish. Anything less is too lightweight for you. So rejoice for a little rejection, you’re in good company.

Then comes the matters of the heart. I so wish that love was a feeling that one could concoct in a pot and dish out at parties. I wish cupid actually existed and would shoot love arrows at whoever you aimed at. But that’s not how things work, those are just wishes. Regarding this sensitive issue, there are several definitions of love. I have one that I think is consistent with how people that say they love each other act (or should act). Here it is:

Love is wanting to do what’s best for someone at all times. Love is a choice, not a feeling that just magically happens.

If love is a choice, if you have to choose to do the very best for someone at all times then surely you can choose not to? As beings of free will we deal with choices daily and therein lies the conflict. I could want to do the very best for you, always… sometimes you may even know it, but you just won’t have it. It’s your choice. You may be the best thing for said person in the whole wide world – but even though we know broccoli is really good for us, many people still despise it.

So sometimes you will get rejected. If there’s anything you’re going to take from this blog post, take that! Everyone gets rejected. Even though you may feel like you’re alone – like your pain is your own and no one else feels like you do, the person you’re looking up to right now was rejected one way or another. This should help you to move on and try again with even more zeal, more enthusiasm. The feelings of pain and frustration, use  them to motivate you so that you don’t feel the same way again. After rejection ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • “What is it I can improve?”
  • “Am I the reason for this rejection?”
  • “Is it worth trying again?”

The last one is a bit tricky but unfortunately sometimes we reach that crossroads when we need to know to let something go, especially when it comes to relationships. Human beings are stubborn creatures, sometimes they won’t budge no matter how much you shower them with love and attention. It’s funny how a majority of us are attracted to those who don’t care at all about us and sometimes don’t even acknowledge our existence yet there’s someone out there willing to love you as much as you’re willing to love your “crush”.

In the end, failure or rejection doesn’t define you. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ It’s not that you were rejected that matters… It’s all about what you do after.

 

An Example Of Excellent Parenting

This is why I cannot accept defeat in failure

In the summer of 2006 (normally winter in the northern hemisphere) my parents attended their first Parent – Teacher Consultation at my new school. I’d moved a few months prior and had just received the worst report card in my, then short, academic life. Their response to the ordeal they faced is just one of many reasons why I feel blessed to be their son.

The backdrop of the story is this. I’d previously attended a government run school for the first four years of my primary education. Consisting of nearly fifty students a class it was quite competitive at the top end. Yet with their influence, great teaching and, I believe, some natural talent (as well as ‘luck’) a young Ayanda Joe Munikwa came top of the class on three separate occasions in the four years I was there. The joy of my first prize giving ceremony will come later, maybe tomorrow?  We’ll see. Anyway I’d been moved to a private school. My parents had invested a great deal of money because they wanted what was best for me. Personally in their shoes I would have bought a new car, tv or something; but not them. They did this only to see me failing at nearly everything I touched. I was below mediocre. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was so confused at the time I thought “dictionary” and “diary” were synonymous (story filed for yet another day). It seemed like nothing was going according to plan.

So with all this having occurred, my parents dressed smartly for the Consultation. If you thought I was a fish out of water, you should have seen their more than slightly nervous expressions as they exchanged looks. They looked gorgeous by the way, no bias. Anyway they headed in to the classroom at their appointed time to meet my teacher; The One Who Shall Not Be Named.

I’m sure you picked up the Voldermort link. I still talk to one of my closest friends, who was in the same class with me back then, about him. Maybe it was the stress of twenty odd kids looking fresh faced and seeming not to understand anything. Or maybe it was the stress of the impending inflation that was even then gnawing at every working adult’s pockets. Maybe he was just naturally bitter and mean. But boy did he love taking it out on us and anyone he came across. His personality was as blunt as his face, but I appreciate him now because even he has turned around. (A story for ANOTHER day)

The man I spoke of above was the man they were going to meet. I was convinced he hated me. When they came back and told me what he had said I was even more convinced. Apparently I was “beyond help” and, to put it bluntly, “stupid”. He was also perplexed as to how I passed the entrance exam in the first place. I was apparently one of his worst students. While they recounted his words I could see in their eyes two things, pain being one of them. But even deeper, even at that young age I could see it, the second thing, resolution.

“I know you. You’re my intelligent boy! My genius! Maybe you didn’t do so well this time but I trust you more than I trust this teacher. Final exams are coming up. Go show them what you’re made of.”

I didn’t cry in their presence, even then I tended not to do that. But I did when I was alone in my room afterwards. Then I made a conscious decision to kick ass in school, prove my parents right and my teacher wrong.

Needless to say I came first. Every year for the next three years of my primary school education. Even when they introduced streaming in the sixth grade where the “top students” from both classes were merged into a separate class. Oh I also broke their (then) recent record for the National Exam. This isn’t me just mollycoddling my ego, this is just to prove a point. None of those meagre achievements would have been possible if my parents had chosen to withdraw their love and support.

Sure there are different ways to approach the problem – the problem of my plummeting grades after sending me to a supposedly better school. But I believe they chose the right way, not only because of the exam results that followed but because of the opinion of them that was formed in my mind that day… one I still hold to this very day. And one I hope to inspire in my own children in the future.