On Being Comfortable with Rejection

At a lecture, the woman who was presenting shared that she had an 80 percent rejection rate. That number shocked me because the presenter was accomplished and was established in her field. The presenter wanted the audience to know that rejection is just as important as acceptance. It is the thing that lets us know where we need to do some work or studying or growing. The presenter claimed that we must all be comfortable with rejection if we want to grow. In theory, being comfortable with rejection is easy. Being comfortable with rejection is more difficult when the thing that your rejected from is something you have wanted for a long time.

I was recently rejected from an internship that I literally dreamt about. This internship would have allowed me to work on the issue of solving food insecurity through policy and activism. When I got the notification that was rejected, I cried for what felt like forever. I originally took the rejection as a personal attack. My resume proved that I was committed to working on the issue and that I had skills that could benefit the organization as they were working to resolve the issue, but the rejection was not about me.

Sometimes we can be qualified for something and not being what an organization is looking for. Rejection should not be taken personally. I was not what the organization was looking for in an intern, but I may be what another organization is looking for. In the time that I was crying and thinking about where I went wrong, I could have been applying to another organization. The moment that we step out of ourselves after rejection, we will fall into a new opportunity to learn from the rejection. Rejections does not have to be associated with failure. What the presenter’s 80 percent rejection rate taught me is that my work will always speak for itself, even if it doesn’t speak to everyone.