I got rejected today.
I opened my email this morning to find a very nicely-worded rejection letter in response to my application to participate in a young Jewish leadership conference.
I know what you’re thinking: You’re not so young anymore.
This is what I thought, too, when I opened the rejection letter.
I mean could there be any other reason why the evaluation committee would ever in a million years not choose me?
I mean, come on.
I’m passionate. Energetic. Creative. A proven innovator. A success story.
Who wouldn’t want me to be a part of their project?
Okay, it’s possible I’m a little past my prime. Maybe I’m not the rising star I used to be.
But…reject me? Who would ever do that?
And yet, someone did. A whole committee. A whole group of people sat around and discussed my worth, my potential for contribution, my adequacy.
And they decided:
Why am I sharing this with you? Who goes around and admits she’s a loser?
Someone who wants to convince her heart of what her head already knows:
There is no deep meaning concealed between the lines of a nicely-worded rejection letter.
A rejection is a pure and simple, “No, thank you.”
A rejection is not, “You suck;” “Never in a million years;” or “As if!” and I think many of us — even those of us with a history of success — often over-interpret, over-internalize, and over-analyze rejections.
We make them mean something.
About our work.
About our worth.
The truth — the gold — is we reject people and things a hundred times a day and attach no meaning.
The phone rings. We don’t answer it. Rejection. Without meaning.
The telemarketer calls us up to offer a special deal. We say no. Rejection. Without meaning.
The cashier offers us a club card. We shake our heads. Rejection. Without meaning.
Our spouse makes a move … okay, this is where it gets dicey … but you understand, don’t you?
It makes no sense to say that one rejection has meaning when another doesn’t.
Either rejection means something or it doesn’t.
And I suggest it doesn’t. And we’re better off believing this reality than the one that says rejection is proof we’re losers.
Rejection means someone said, “No thank you.”
And it only makes its way into our future when we bring it along for the ride.