This has actually been difficult to write because well, its not a very pleasant thing to write about. Rejection is painful but when I took down my auto defence mechanisms (going on the offence or trying to reject the person/entity rejecting me) I realised I could find something valuable. It can take a bit of time and practice depending on the form of rejection but learning to deconstruct rejection can be a affirming experience.
Rejection is very VERY hard not to take personally and is not always fair. Sometimes it is personal, but asking why and shifting your perspective means you can take something positive away from a not so great situation. I thought I’d go through some different examples to try and explain clearly what I mean.
We will start with an easier one, well ones that maybe involve less emotional attachment.
1) Rejection from a job or a university.
I can give a personal example here, I wanted to get into one university, don’t ask why it’s just really where I wanted to be. I went to the interview and thought it went well only to find I had not been accepted to the university. Another powerful emotion comes with rejection, embarrassment, in fact without it rejection wouldn’t hold half as much power over us. Most of my friends had got into their first choices it was hard for me to tell them I hadn’t. I gave it a week then I called the university to ask for feedback on my portfolio. I decided to do a foundation in art, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! There I worked on the areas in which my portfolio lacked, and the next year they were really impressed that I had taken feedback on board and I was accepted. Look at it this way, though other people’s opinions aren’t golden neither are your own. Artistically and personally, you will never grow if you are just surrounded by people telling you how good you are. Even if people are out and out horrible look for any truth that could be found in it. It’s hard and it hurts, especially if the work is personal.
2) Rejection from a stranger.
I guess this is similar in a way to above, showing stranger’s my work always scared me because I felt like they didn’t owe me any kindness, also we can wrongly interpret the way strangers treat us because we don’t know them. Assumptions or reflecting what we think onto people, is natural but definitely more of a hindrance than a help. I would say if they haven’t said anything to you just behaved in a way that made you feel rejected, try to brush it off. For example, at an event someone was struggling and I offered to help them set up and they looked at me, said nothing, and looked away. So acknowledged me but just didn’t respond to my suggestion at all. At first I felt hurt and annoyed but that person may have made a judgement on me or what I said, so I’m not missing out on anything but judgement, no loss there!
3) Rejection from a friend or loved one.
This is a tough one to deal with, I would definitely say if this is something you have experienced please speak to a professional, or contact a help line. The easiest way I found to deal with this is to write everything down and work out what was actually said and done and what have I added. Then try to talk it out, I am aware this is not always appropriate or achievable, maybe creating a ritual to let go the feeling of rejection could help.
I find that doing stress paintings i.e throwing paint at a canvas! is really helpful for relieving raw and painful emotions.
In conclusion like most negative actions or events these have as much power as you allow them, unfortunately the only real way to take away the power is to dissect them, throw away the rubbish and move forward with a lesson learned.
In other news my list today:
-washing – DONE
-make bed- doing
-make flyer & poster – DONE
-make workshop plan – DONE …YAY!
The next set of workshops starting in Sept will be based around making your own zines of different shapes and sizes. What do you think to the idea? I’m going to organise creative writing, illustration and binding workshops I’m super excited!