Rejection, whether it’s by someone in your personal life, or in your career, is always going to be painful. It combines so many horrible feelings, rolled up into one big, miserable one. Your hopes have been dashed, your future isn’t going to be the one you wanted. It’s a massive disappointment.
And it’s also embarrassing, humiliating. You put yourself ‘out there,’ ‘on the line,’ and they (whoever they are) didn’t want you. Didn’t think you were their type, didn’t think you were good enough. Preferred someone else.
And if the thing or person you hoped would be your future rejects you, yes it’s going to hurt and the more it/they mattered to you, the more painful it will be.
But at least you tried. And for that, you can hold your head high.
And while it hurts, you are no worse off than you were before.
What does playing it safe get you, anyway? It depends what ‘safe’ is, of course. Someone who has lived all their life in one place and is amazingly content and happy may be playing it safe by never venturing further afield. But if there’s nothing out there that will leave them happier than before, who can blame them for staying put?
For everyone else, playing it safe just means always settling for second best (or less), missing out on what-might-have-beens.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
It’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. (Really, it is. Much better. Even if it doesn’t feel like that right now).
And you know that thing about: “It isn’t you, it’s me?”
Well you know what? It’s true. If that person you adore doesn’t feel the same way, it IS them. It doesn’t make them a bad person, but it certainly doesn’t make you an unworthy one, either. Their opinion of you is theirs alone, not the whole world’s, and certainly isn’t a measure of your worth.
How many rejection letters did JK Rowling receive for Harry Potter? Margaret Mitchell got 38 for Gone With The Wind. Stephen King, George Orwell, James Joyce, Louisa My Alcott (“Stick to teaching”), Beatrix Potter… Rejection doesn’t mean what you are offering is worthy of Hollywood and its own theme park, but doesn’t mean you aren’t, either.
And if it’s in your career that you’ve taken a knock, well consider the odds. If 10 people apply for one job, nine will be rejected, not because they are all useless but because only one could succeed. If you apply for 100 jobs without success, it doesn’t mean you are useless. It just means you put yourself up against difficult odds 100 times rather than once.