I’ll be honest: I can be a little rough on people, and myself most of all.
It’s hard for me not to take rejection to heart, although I fully recognize that it is an important part of life and something that I must accept as part of the price of admission to any chance at opportunity.
Knowing that, I have always found the strength to proceed in so many areas of my life knowing that while rejection is likely—and painful—that it is so often fleeting in its real impact on our lives (unless we make it otherwise) that the best thing I can do is persist. Life can be hard, of course; I recognize that I should take a lesson in that and often I do.
Still, nobody likes the sting of being passed over, or forgotten, or ignored, or outright denied. For me—and I’ve never asked anyone else what it’s like because talking about negative feelings can so often feel taboo—it’s like a geyser-jet of focused shame and pain and that hot feeling you get right before you cry blasted full frontal.
Boy, do I hate it.
It’s hard not to take it personally. It’s hard not to feel like the bad things that happen, the heartbreaking news, the idea that you aren’t the right fit for where you think you want to be is a failure or a reflection of your worth.
Logically speaking, more often than not, the fact is that some things just don’t align. Logically speaking, that’s fine.
But we’re not always logical creatures. To be certain, I know that I’m not. I’m immensely emotional. It’s a fact about myself that I try (and often fail) to conceal, hiding behind a glib remark, or a racy joke, or a wry tweet to distract from the idea that I might feel something other than the veneered confidence it sometimes feels we’re contractually obligated (by who?) to project at all times. I’d like to do less of that, because I think there’s a lot of wisdom to be found in navigating your feelings in earnest rather than trying to twist yourself around them.
As spring unfolds beautifully before us this year, I am trying to take a lesson from nature itself. Life moves in cycles. Sometimes things are warm and pleasant and lively, and you can’t wait to be in the throes of springtime joy. Other times, a cold front blows in, and you’d rather hide out in the dark and gather your strength until you’re ready to walk in the light again. Sometimes, you bloom. Other times, you’ve got to go dormant to survive life’s storms—mastering the timing as best as you can to ensure your survival as new seasons approach.
There have been so many times in my life where my timing and the season of life I was in did not agree with one other. I found that almost unbearable. As I grow older and wiser, however, I find that I can more readily accept when things don’t quite work out on my own time. I can understand it better when I need to wait my turn or otherwise visit another climate. It isn’t so important to take it personally. Nature—human nature and the broader ecologies we navigate alike—can be unpredictable at times, but it is in that unpredictable space that wonder is so often found.
It is in that unknown space—in that wonder—that I am reminded of life’s great beauty. I may not always understand it, but I can appreciate that I am a part of something whose vastness always has something interesting and meaningful to teach me if I’m willing to look and listen.