“I don’t love you anymore.”
“Although you are an extremely qualified candidate, we have decided to move forward with another candidate for this position.”
“I’m sorry, but we shouldn’t see each other anymore. You’re a nice girl, but I just don’t think this is going anywhere.”
“We’re going to have to let you go. You’ve been a good employee, but times are tough right now.”
Ah, rejection. None of us are immune to it.
It doesn’t matter where you are in life, and whether it’s ending a marriage, breaking up with a partner, being passed up for promotion, or receiving the pink lay-off slip from your boss. Even the strongest of us can’t help but feel like we did something wrong when the person we loved and cared about and spent our lives with as a partner suddenly doesn’t want to be with us anymore.
“Why don’t they love me anymore?”
“What did I do wrong?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“What could I have done differently?”
These thoughts—the “shoulda coulda woulda” thoughts that hijack our brains and healing—have a nasty way of creeping up on us as we try to regain our confidence and self-esteem. Many times, we think that we are to blame for the fact that our relationship ended. That self-blame usually leads us to feel rejected, like we are not worthy of love as we start this new chapter in our lives.
It’s time we start looking at rejection in a different way—one that will empower us instead of a stupid feeling that continues to hold us down and questions ourselves and steal us of our self-worth.
So, the next time you are feeling bad because of a recent rejection—whether it is from the end of your long marriage, or because the person you were dating and liked decided not to return your calls, or if you do not get hired for the job you were hoping for, remember the following.
Rejection is like those trippy funhouse mirrors. It is not a reflection of you or your self-worth.
You know the ones I’m talking about—whenever you go to a carnival or a visit a beach boardwalk—two activities that many of you may have enjoyed this past summer—you may pass one a long mirror that you may stop in front of.
What do you see there? Do you see your smiling reflection looking back? The one that reflects the wise and strong person you are?
Nope—instead, you see this warped vision of yourself, with a stretched-out head or shortened legs, and you look silly. It’s not you. And it’s not a reflection of you. You know this, so you probably just laugh and continue enjoying yourself.
Rejection is the same thing. The fact that somebody doesn’t want to be with you anymore has nothing to do with you—it has everything to do with the craziness the rejecter is projecting on to you. Their rejection is that stupid fun-house mirror. And your reaction to that rejection—the one where you wonder what you did wrong, or why they don’t love you anymore, is nothing more than the silly stretched head and widened body you see in the silly mirror.