How To Deal With Rejection
Rejection for the creative person can be devastating. Every time we show up for something, we are putting ourselves out there. To seek to shine brightly also invites the risk of rejection. In my experience, most creatives are introverts with moments of extrovert. So when they uncloak themselves to pursue their dream, to be rejected can be painful.
I’m sure you have heard the platitude “Don’t take it personally.” As a life coach, I would agree with this. It’s not about you. However for the actor, the writer, the artist, the dancer, it can feel personal, so it’s a bit more tricky to navigate.
When It’s Business
Nothing is more disappointing than not getting the gig, the role, the job when we really, really wanted it. Especially if you put your heart and soul into it, thought you were perfect for it and knew it you would do a great job with it. Or when getting it would have launched your career or you just really needed it to pay your bills.
Let it Go.
Shake it off. It’s not about you. It doesn’t mean you were not good enough. Don’t take it personally. The decisions made in all likelihood, have nothing to do with your talent. Come to a place of knowing that something else is meant for you.
It’s important during this time to take an action step that reinforces that there is an opportunity waiting for you. Read a book on your field. Take a class. Network. Audition. But do something proactive. It will lift your spirits and get you back on track.
Nothing feeds a Creative’s soul than to be inspired. Go to a live music event, dance, paint, sing, act, write. It will make you come alive. Revive the color and magic of living life as a Creative soul.
How you deal with personal rejection has a huge influence on how you will deal with it professionally.
When It’s Personal
This is where you really can’t take it personally because it really is about them. There is something wounded in them and you are triggering it in some way. But it’s not your responsibility to heal it, work on it or do any heavy lifting for them. Your job is to work on their stuff not dimming your light or ruining your day.
I want you to know that the old saying “It’s not you, it’s them” is true. The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote that “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
You are being rejected not because of your imperfections, but because the person rejecting you has an emotional wound. That wound is then projected onto you. It can manifest in people being insensitive and mean. It can cause people to excluding someone or be unable to give or receive love to name just a few. Simply put: You remind them of something in themselves they hate or are afraid of. What you admire in someone else, you also have within you. What you reject in someone else, is something you try to hide from the world. People who have not healed their wounds will immediately see and amplifying the traits in others that they hate in themselves. Just as they are triggering your wound of not being good enough, you are triggering some wound in them.
For example, Anne (not her real name) is a talented ballet dancer. One woman she practices with will say critical things about her dancing to the others, which has been taking enjoyment out of it for her. Even though it might not look like it, this other dancer is insecure and feels resentment of the talent that Anne has. Because of her deep wound of insecurity and not feeling good enough, she projects these feelings onto Anne. When Anne realized this truth, she was able to shift out of feeling like a victim and more into her own power. This realization shifted the energy in the class and Anne began to enjoy herself again and continue to let her talent shine.
Another example is Bette (not her real name). Bette is an intelligent, capable professional woman with an outgoing personality. Bette has also has been struggling with a weight issue. She was at a networking event and felt judged after overhearing a hurtful comment about her weight. One person in particular seemed to make a point of excluding her. People who are unkind to others because of the way someone looks are coming from a place of self-loathing. The person rejecting her was coming wounded place that made them so terrified of being overweight, that they could not even be comfortable being around someone who was overweight. When Bette understood that this person could not accept and love themselves unless their body looked a certain way, she was able to shift her hurt to forgiving and letting go, and not take it into herself.
Another example are cliques or exclusive groups. When people form a group, make it exclusive and allow some to join and reject others, they do this because they are afraid of being excluded or not belonging. They do to others what they themselves fear happening to them.
I had this happen to me just a couple of years ago. I was invited to attend an important social media event in a beautiful setting attended by a group of about 40 people. This event was very important to me, and my work in environmental activism that I always wanted to attend. I was having a wonderful time. I was also encountering rejection and had to go through my rejection surviving steps that I not only do for my coaching clients, but that I have to do for myself in times such as these.
I’ll call her “Queen Bee.” Queen Bee is that girl we all grew up with. The one that forms the circle and ices you out. She draws a clique around her and closes the ranks. The girl that deemed you not cool enough. The one that looked you up and down, starting at your shoes. The mean girl.
At the start of the event, I walked up to her, said good morning and tried to make some pleasantries. She gave me a withering look and turned her back. Years of life coaching, life experience and a good head for discernment, I quickly knew that a middle aged mean girl was working her M.O. She created a group within the event and chose who could be in it. She scheduled after parties and dinners and left the rest of us out. It felt like I was in 8th grade again and not invited to the party, or the cool kids lunch table.
Did it hurt? Heck yea! Who doesn’t become 14 years old again, even for a moment? No matter how accomplished or successful we are, we all go through this. At some point, someone is not going to like you. And sometimes…they will go the extra mile in that they want you to know it.
But this was an important event for me. It meant a lot. It was in a beautiful, fascinating, historical place. I was not going to let this ruin it for me. I was not going to be the victim of the Queen Bee.
What did I do? I remembered my dream. I remembered the big WHY that I was there, the bigger picture, which was to tell the world through my social media and writings how science, research and technology is in the fight against climate change.
I also remembered the questions to ask myself that I will share with you later in this post. It’s very important that during these times, that you become aware of your internal dialogue and take steps to not take this into yourself.
A Word on Self Reflection…
If rejection is a pattern in your life, it’s helpful to examine if there is something in our habits or mannerism that turn people off. Are you a negative nelly? Debbie Downer? And let’s be honest, someone who is self centered and self absorbed can be exhausting to be around. It’s always helpful to have a friend or someone you trust who can help you figure it out. I have a friend who I call “ruthlessly compassionate.” I can bounce things like ths of of her and know she will give me an honest answer, but one that comes from a good place from her heart, and not a critical one.
Overcoming Rejection For The Creative Soul
It never feels good to be left out or rejected. But you have a choice when this happens to you.
You can either go into “poor me” or you can learn from it.
You can let it strengthen you.
You can understand that there is something inside the other person that is causing them to do that to you and you can move away from being the victim.
You can put the brakes on feeding into your not being good enough story.
You can into a place where you can get your power back.
But it is a choice. You can choose to make it a story about yourself and the world around you, feel bad about yourself and keep yourself stuck. You can use it as an excuse to not audition, to stay inside. To dim your light.
Or you can choose to view it another way and let it be a teaching moment.
The difficult people who we encounter can be our greatest teachers.
This is the process that I would do for myself and my clients on a coaching call. If you are feeling rejected, I hope you find it helpful too:
· If you are feeling rejected, take a moment with the following process:
· Take in a deep breath.
· Put your hand to your heart.
· Take a few minutes to just be with your breath as it moves in and out of your heart space.
· Connect with that place within.
· Become aware of how this is making you feel.
· Realize it is touching on an old wound, usually from childhood, where you were told you were not good enough. That you were not okay.
· Take another deep breath in and close your eyes.
· Think of what you felt rejected for. The perceived imperfection.
Why do you think you were being rejected?
· Now ask the following questions: (You may wish to write it down and journal it.)
· I felt rejected because of __________.
Remind yourself of all the ways this trait has actually helped you.
· How has it made you the person you are today?
· How has it helped others?
· What has it taught me?
Now, to close this process, what loving action can you I do for yourself this week that celebrates and embraces this part of who you are?
(Allow whatever comes to you, no matter how simple it seems.)
• Now breathe in “This person and situation holds no power over me. I love everything that I am.”
• Thank yourself for looking for a more loving and higher perspective on this.
• Take in a deep cleansing breath and be at peace with yourself, the world and everyone in it.
Hold an affirmation close to you for the next several days or weeks.
I like to use the affirmations
“The challenging people who I encounter meant for my soul to evolve and make me a more resilient, better person. And through these encounters, I will live the life of my dreams.”
“This person and situation holds no power over me. I love everything that I am”
Keep it close to your heart. Repeat it, write it down, keep it close to you until feel the energy shift and you believe it to be true.
Everything you are makes up the amazing being you are today.
Because you are a gift to the world.
Please let me know in the comments section of this blog post. If you found this helpful, please share this by using the link or the Social Media links below.
There is also something to be said for examining how we interact with others. We attract to us what is unhealed. I love Charlene Johnson’s tips on taking a look at how you may be drawing this experience to you.
Would you like one on one support as a Creative making their way through the world? Would you like to remove the roadblocks keeping you from shine your light? Contact me to for a free introductory call to see if Shine Your Light! Life coaching is right for you.
Because the world needs what you have to offer.
© Eileen Anglin LLC
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