How do you handle rejection? What is rejection, really?

How do you handle rejection? What is rejection, really? Last week, I was working on this post about authors and the way some of us take criticism so poorly. I didn’t like the direction in which it was going, because it wasn’t authentic. I  ended up deleting most of the post.

It wasn’t authentic, because I wanted to say: Don’t let bad reviews get to you. There will be mean-spirited people, individuals who are tactless. There are always people who despise anything that is not their idea of perfection. We have to be prepared to sift through doubts, discern the intentions of others, all the while, remain steady and unwavering in our determination. I was going to say, that we should be grateful for people who point out errors. And last but not least: we should never bash or harass someone who’s honest with us.

But honestly? I don’t know where I stand with rejection and criticism. Its so easy to pat someone on the back and tell them not to worry about it. It’s so easy until its YOU.

So I thought about it. And on the surface, I take it well. Then, I have a bit of a delayed reaction. I mope, and I blame it on “tired”. Then I tell myself that I can create something even better next time … and I pick myself back up.

I don’t lash out or verbally attack people, and I don’t believe that that is acceptable. I do believe a lot of the lashing out, the meltdowns, the rants, come from a misunderstanding of “rejection”.

I’m thinking back on the early days of American Idol, which I stopped watching years ago, but find a perfect example. (Bear with me.)

1. There were many artists who were incredible, but were not chosen. It seemed that the show already had an idea of what they wanted.

Sometimes, rejection has nothing to do with your talent; sometimes its just not what readers/listeners/publishers/reviewers are looking for.

2. Judges may have judged harshly, but more often than not, they were giving one basic criticism:
Work with a professional and come back to us. (I learned this the hard way, and I still have to step over my ego and what I think I know, and consult a professional.) For instance:

Imagine pouring your heart and soul into your journal, proofreading it yourself, then sending it to publishers. Probably not going to get the news your heart desired. Not because you didn’t write something beautiful, but because the professionally trained eye of an editor catches things many of us wouldn’t know to look for.

Many things can be said about rejection and criticism. My points are: put rejection and criticism into perspective. Redefine them. Use them as a way to blossom.

Other articles I’ve enjoyed!: – one writer’s take on confusing our passion with an excuse to be irrational – one reader’s take on confusing our passion with an excuse to be irrational – on mistakes

  1. I don’t handle rejection very well. That’s why I don’t like sales. I definitely agree with you about putting rejection and criticism to perspective. It’s important to understand which is which.

    • I agree – it’s not fun at alllll. But, yes, I think it’s misunderstood a lot of times. I’m working on my initial reaction to criticism. Thanks, Lexie 🙂

  2. Cynthia said:

    I handle rejection okay. It does make me more determine when someone rejections something thing that I feel important. When something is rejection, I do try to reflect on why it was rejected and then work on the issues and try again.

    • I agree. It’s difficult!! You’re right and good point about where the person is coming from, when it’s so important to you and they just shot it down.
      And yes, yes, yes …reflecting and making necessary corrections.

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