Rejection

I get kicked in the teeth… a lot. 

Some days, it feels like someone is punching me in the face. 

Rejection is not pleasant. 

I keep asking myself: “OK, what’s a lesson in behind this? How do I get better because of it?”

I keep telling myself: “You’ve been here before, just keep pushing.” 

Then, on those especially intense days—or months, or years—it’s a perfect storm. 

It rains from all sides.

Lovers, friends, family, clients, service providers, … one big fat NO. 

“No more,” they say. 

I am sure you’ve been there before. 

You got fired on a whim. 

What?! My last performance review was excellent! 

A funder changes their mind and you’re left hanging. 

But they claimed this was the best, most worthwhile investment in a long time? 

A lover, who just a minute ago told you you’re “ideal” and you were making plans (for next year!) is no longer interested. And you had just started to feel relaxed and trusting. 

It burns. 

It’s heartbreaking. 

Clients decide they don’t need your service or product anymore. 

You’re left confused…

But, you just told me this “xyz” thing changed your life?!

You even said, and I quote, “This was exactly what I needed!”

A friend ghosts you. 

But that friend just called you their BFF. 

How the hell does this happen? 

It usually sounds something like, “you’re amazing, but…” 

It’s that “but” that always gives me a pause. 

It’s that “but” that I question.  

How can someone be amazing and yet you don’t want them or whatever they have to offer?

Obviously, some people say whatever they need to say to make themselves feel better. 

People also often know they need or want something, but accepting this means they have to be different, even vulnerable—they have to let go and let themselves grow.

They have to risk. 

They have to invest.

And that seems too hard sometimes. 

For example, a lover who was so into you realized they might get hurt or that being into you would mean they have to grow up and step it up. What if doing so kills their whole illusion of themselves and the world? 

It’s better to run, clearly. 

Or a client thinks they should manage their own fill in the blank, because they cannot let go of control.

They struggle to trust.

They quickly forget why they connected to you in the first place. 

A lover was looking exactly for someone like you—to help them get to that next level of living, belonging, and partnership. 

A client knows they need your service—so they can scale, lead better, and pursue their vision. 

But they convince themselves that even though you are “amazing,” it just isn’t “good enough.”

Something is off ...  

You know what’s off? 

… 

This is the biggest lesson about rejection ever: it’s not about me. 

Whenever someone rejects me, it’s not about me. 

Whenever someone rejects you, it is not about you. 

Of course, we internalize it all. It hurts.

But people’s inability to recognize your value has nothing to do with you. 

People reject because of their own reality. 

It’s usually fear, confusion, confirmation bias, or cognitive dissonance.

They’re not “ready”. Or it seems easier.

I get a lot of “Why do I need a coach or leadership trainer when I / we can do it myself / ourselves…”

My usual response is: for the same reason I need a hairstylist. Can you imagine me cutting my own hair?

I can’t.

I won’t get into the romantic or friendship rejections I received.

Those are something extra.

I’m sure you have stories of your own.  

But, I’ll say it again: people reject because of their own reality ... and often because they can’t come to terms with what reality actually is.

Is any of this a good excuse? 

Of course not! 

Should they take a hard, long look in the mirror and get real in order to understand the true potential?

Of course! 

Will they? 

Probably not. 

Some might. (And those who do will actually benefit greatly!)

The topic of rejection is vast and complex.

Yes, in theory, there are many nuances… like, “our relationship wasn’t working for a while” or “I got what I needed from your services” or “I found a better investment”.  

The thing is, that is not a rejection.

Sometimes you just know you’ve come to the end of the rope. But actual rejection is different. It also hurts differently. It is only a rejection when you know realistically and demonstrably there was more to it, there could have been more to it, that perhaps you needed each other—but one side pulled away.

How do we know something is realistic and demonstrable?

The answer lies in the truth people spoke when they felt good because of whatever you were giving them and they weren’t marred by fear (i.e. best investment, best partner, best service, etc.)

Why in the world would you go to a hairstylist if you didn’t want and need a haircut?

Alas.

As much as it hurts, rejection is a human condition in which everyone loses.

SO, perhaps, the bigger question is: how do we deal with rejection? 

  • We lick our wounds.

  • We remember that it is not about us, because the truth is—we are amazing. :)

  • We remind ourselves that the other side is the one who is actually missing out. I realize you might not feel that way when you need a cash inflow, are scrambling to get things done, or feel lonely and abandoned... And, of course, we are missing out, too, on what could have been a terrific shared experience.

  • We trust that what is meant for us will be there, and what isn’t, won’t. (Fates can be fickle like that.) 

  • We get up, dust ourselves off, and march forward. 

  • We live to fight another day.

If you’ve been rejected recently, whether in small matters or in something bigger, remember that you’re not alone.

I heard once that every candle that gets lit in the dark room must feel a little rejection from the darkness around it. Rejection is often a nudge towards something or someone better ... so, keep shining!

Love and light,

Adi Redzic