The Power of Rejection – a special guest post

Dear reader,

today we have a special post – a guest post from Naomi. She has indeed written a masterpiece for you and this is her first blog.

I have never met Naomi face to face. Our paths crossed as our common friend John Wheeler introduced us one to another, saying we might be a valuable contact to each other. He was absolutely right. We met on Skype more than a year ago, neither of us knew what to expect from the conversation and a few minutes into our Skype we both knew this was a beginning of a relationship that is beyond professional one.

Professionally, Naomi is a Solution Focused Trainer and Practitioner with 20 years of experience in a variety of specialist areas including substance misuse, young people, offending, homelessness and employability. She is passionate about supporting people to notice their unique strengths and how to practically apply these to maximise success in their chosen objectives. She is motivated by equality, fairness and understanding the social organisation of different cultures, including approaches to life, laughter, survival and routine.

Personally, she is such a delight to be talking to, as she is so kind, curious, energetic and bursting in talent. I am honoured that she wrote a blog for you and am more than happy to be able to offer you an excellent read on a topic that we are all very familiar with – rejection. So sit back, relax and enjoy reading!

The Power of Rejection

If you think you are someone who has never been rejected you are either a sociopath, totally unself aware or living so safely you have never taken a risk on anyone or anything. This means you are limiting the amount of joy you can experience in a significant number of spheres of your unexplored life. It is of course natural to want to avoid rejection. Rejection is uncomfortable, anxiety provoking and frequently leads to an excessive amount of self criticism, and in it’s most extreme form, self-hate. What happens when we are rejected by others, either in a work or relationship context, is all too often we then reject ourselves. When we reject ourselves, we are pretty much temporarily doomed: A release of the stress hormone cortisol usually occurs which either makes us inert and paralysed, or overflowing with negative energy heading one hundred miles an hour towards self destruction, commonly in the form of over eating, over drinking, over thinking or over angering.

So. There is all that. Or, there is another way. A way we can use rejection to be one of the greatest gifts the world has handed to us, because when interpreted and used wisely rejection can be powerful. Initially it’s sting is so painful we feel a complete loss of control. However when this initial sting passes, with a solution focused mind, rejection can provide incredible clarity about what is important, how to focus on what we can control and what we have got and who and what accepts us. It can bring into sharp view the people around us that are strong and grounded enough to vote for us even when others don’t or when we struggle to ourselves. It can provide valuable information about the fact that actually the person or situation we were in was unbalanced and therefore not right for us in some way. It can give clues to us about the need for a new perspective or to do something different. It forces acceptance because we are powerless to do anything else, and when you truly practice acceptance, calm follows, and then this strange sense of strength and resolve arrives and suddenly, in coping, an inner peace. Intuitively you find yourself starting to feel able to refocus on what really matters and let go of what doesn’t. You realise in fact that life post-rejection is actually happier and more fulfilling than life pre-rejection, because you no longer have anything to be scared of and everything to try.

And here in lies a beautiful irony … I have avoided blogging for over two years because of an absolute terror of being rejected. Every time I became drawn towards posting thoughts, feelings and perceptions online, I rapidly recalled back again, making statements in my mind like ‘don’t be silly, you’re not intelligent enough to blog, what if people don’t like it, you could ruin your reputation’, and even saying these sentences out loud is making me feel nervous, yet I am going to keep writing and in about half an hour I am going to press send. Why? Because someone whom I respect invited me to do this, Biba, who in her invitation showed her faith in me, which in itself stimulated this burst of certainty that I have in fact got relevant perspectives to share and made me realise I don’t need everyone to approve, I just need some people to approve and most importantly,

I, must approve.

So in writing this I challenge all of us to put the principles above into practice. My best hope in articulating these ideas is that they serve as a reminder to us all about perceived rejection, when we feel raw and exposed and frightened, to ask ourselves ‘How can I use what has happened to propel me forwards to a more desired future?’, ‘What and who is accepting me that shows me where my energy should be channelled?’, ‘What can I achieve if I try not to let this idea of rejection take over and instead use it as a catalyst for positive change?’. ‘If I am as wise as I possibly can be, what might I do tomorrow that would show me I was taking a wise step?’

And the wisdom that comes from interpreting rejection usefully is also becoming aware of our limits so that we can make informed decisions about when to take the risks that might lead to perceived rejection and when to stand back. Beware of the frequent ‘rejectors’ of this world, people quick to criticise others, they are projecting their own unhappy and unsettled mind. Your ultimate power is not to mind what they say and instead seek their strengths. Zoom in on values, gratitude, enjoyment of what is, concepts that no external reaction can touch.

The reason being that when our unique appraisal of ourselves and others is positive and when we deeply, truly attune our minds to become compassionate, our ability to perform highly, significantly increases. Finally I must add that simultaneously seeing and feeling the discomfort of rejection aswell as using it to increase your personal power, is also essential. It inspires us to work harder, be more determined, our own definition of better. But only when we invite it in through courageous acts, taking risks, and regardless of outcomes, forcing ourselves to notice the opportunities not the limitations.