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  • Cherise Bernard, PhD

Why Rejection is Essential for Your Growth, Professionally and Personally

When I sat down to think about what I should share in this blog post, I was sure that I wanted to touch on a topic that was real and rarely spoken about. Rejection happens to be one of those life experiences that, if not dealt with swiftly and correctly, can affect your motivation levels, your emotional well-being and the ability to execute your goals. I’ve dealt with this on both a professional and personal level but my journey has stretched me enough to begin looking at rejection with a different lens. I began to view rejection as a little helper along the way...something that actually protected me from going in the wrong direction!

As a child, the majority of our learning stemmed from our home life (parents, guardians, siblings, extended family) and school (teachers, friends, activities). As an adult, the manner of learning that we experience shifts more towards our work (businesses/entrepreneurship, careers, organizations), experiences (travel, seminars, books) and relationships (friends, spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, colleagues/business partners). Then I realized...the word “NO” has probably been as much as a teacher to me as anything else! So if we are able to classify “NO” as a vehicle of learning during this human experience, we should look at it as assistance, help, or nudging instead of a negative encounter that we need to fight or resist.

So because I’m in love with lists, I would like to share 4 reasons why rejection is actually essential for our growth and development. This list is far from exhaustive but I think it’s a great place to start!

  1. Rejection keeps you grounded and reminds you of your humanity. When we are denied something and feel the hurt of it, I believe that this actually manifests later as compassion towards others. We can’t underestimate the importance of authentic compassion, especially in this climate. So the next time an experience hurts you or things don't go according to plan, remember that you can use that pain to connect on a deeper level with other humans and be a light in another person's darkness.

  2. Rejection refines and clarifies your goals. When someone says "no" to you, what do you do? You may be In Your Feelings for a day (that’s all the time I’m giving you lol)....but then after that, you tend to go back to the drawing board with more of a laser focus. You ask more questions of yourself...you push yourself and dig just a bit deeper. Maybe you decide to search out a mentor...maybe you buy a new book that ends up being critical for your growth! The point is (especially if you’re reading this blog), you haven’t given up. And that’s huge! Continue to refine yourself and declare what you want.

  3. Rejection may hurt in the moment but when you keep going in spite of it, you are actively demonstrating self-love. What I've learned is that self-love is not controlled by external circumstances. Loving yourself means that you want what's best for you and that you are willing to fight for it! As you grow in self-love, it becomes increasingly important not to take things like rejection so personally (read The Four Agreements to learn more about that 😄). Daily affirmations is a great way to enhance your self-love and live in the moment. Here's one that I repeat often: "I am grateful for where I am. I am excited to embark on the right opportunity or relationship that aligns with my purpose. I am ready for greatness!'

  4. Rejection leads to open doors and opportunities that you couldn’t have imagined for yourself! This one is my favorite, for obvious reasons ❤️. There have been so many opportunities that I thought I wanted because they “made sense” and seemed like it should be the right path. Once I let go and removed the limitations from my capabilities, I found myself in a space where I pivoted away from the norm and loved it. In this way, rejection was not only a teacher but a blessing.

Disclaimer: I did not learn these tools about rejection overnight! I must make that clear to anyone reading this. In all honesty, sometimes when I’m rejected now, it still throws me off 🤷🏾‍♀️. But then I’m reminded: I’m a spiritual being having a human experience. No one is exempt from it (despite what their IG stories show lol). Do not compare your rejection with someone else’s highlight reel (periodic social media fasts help with this...). Own your journey. Believe in yourself, I mean, until it’s almost ridiculous. When you need some inspiration, refer to your Alive List and keep active with things that make you feel amazing (I discuss Alive Lists in my previous blog). Remember...there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t win or succeed. Have faith in that over everything!

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©2018 by Cherise Bernard, PhD.