If you have ever searched for a job, house, tried to publish your book, tried to land an acting role or dated for an extended period of time you know what feels like an endless stream of what feels like rejection.
It's basically what feels like the Daily NO! Emails, phone calls etc. when they are nice tell you how talented you are but after careful consideration, you're not wanted.
In many cases, you just never hear back. The potential love interest, home buyer, employer just disappears. POOF!
It can feel like rejection and after several months it can feel like despair. "Just keep going!" friends and family will tell you. You hear them and then get a good night's sleep to muster the energy for another day of self-promotion.
Sales Begin with NO!
My father, a master of sales, always taught me that sales meetings begin with "no!" This works in business. You can speak to what's missing in the product or service. But this doesn't work so well when applying for grants or dating, for example. No means no. Or no means, "apply next year." Or simply just an invitation to walk away and don't come back.
It's not Rejection, it's No Fit
A recent PhD graduate looking to publish, teach and practice, I have had my own six months of no, no, no, no, no. Of course there have been some YESes in there, but sometimes the Nos just seem louder.
A survival strategy during this period, I decided to rename these kindly worded emails "No-fits" instead of "Rejections."
I don't really know if whatever organization that rejected me was what I really wanted anyway. Sure, egos want to be admired and chased by everyone. That doesn't mean these positions were a fit for either of us.
The other advantage of shrugging and just saying "No Fit" instead of "I've been Rejected" is that you cannot then spend the next hour beating up on yourself. Rejection thoughts lead us down the emotional scale...not up. You head towards depression not possibility when thinking about rejection.
By contrast, thinking about "No Fit" turns your attention towards what a "good fit" might be. It's a more solution oriented framing and one that honors the needs of both parties -- you and them!
Perhaps trying to get a job, partner or house that isn't ours is like the evil step-sisters trying to fit into Cinderella's shoe. In the original story, these sisters even cut off their toes to win the prince.
It honestly doesn't seem worth it. I suspect things would have worked out better for the sisters had they just shrugged and looked for the right fit.
Sarah Federman, PhD
Enjoy these short blogs and videos designed to bring you a little cheer.
My other blog Language of Conflict addresses the importance of word choice and narration in conflict.
Finish and Flourish supports writers struggling to complete projects.