Sandwiched between the fresh months of starting a new year and the excitement of an almost-summer, winter quarter seems like the longest stretch of the school year. The stress of constant exams, struggling relationships, and the frantic scramble to find jobs slowly chip away at our souls on the daily. It’s easy to remind ourselves that we are strong and passionate people, but the difficulty lies in believing the words that exit our mouths. Isn’t it ironic how the words we say to reassure and uplift our closest friends seem like lies to ourselves when we are feeling discouraged?
These past few months I found myself being hit with rejection after rejection in all aspects of my life: friendship, love, career, academics, etc. Doors from every possible corner of the world seemed to deliberately enjoy slamming against me just when I thought I had one foot through the door.
One of the worst aspects of rejection is not just the physical “no” we reluctantly have to receive, it’s the mental toll that burdens you and the constant reminder that you “failed” imbedding itself into how you define yourself. My expectations for even the most miniscule of tasks dwindled to almost none with each curveball thrown at me, and I decided that having no expectations meant never being disappointed in anyone or anything. I made plans with friends knowing they would probably not show up, I applied to jobs telling myself I would probably never hear back, and I continued talking to a person I had a rare connection with while knowing in my heart they would never meet me halfway.
I felt that lowering my standards and expectations for others only added to the negative perspective I had towards life in general. Why did I have to set these low standards at my own expense? Why did I see myself as a weak individual who can never achieve success like all the other strong and powerful women beside me? What made me so different from others that rendered me unable to achieve what others before me have? But at the end of the day I would ask myself, what qualifies as success really? Any attempt made is a lesson learned, and that to me is the true qualifier of what success is to a person.
Rejection has the tendency to paralyze us to one spot and grow fear in our hearts that prevents us from getting up and facing what is ahead of us. However, we should be more fearful of never reaching our unrealized potential by staying stagnant in the same place forever. Instead of losing our drive and our confidence, we should take rejection as the opportunity to move forward towards something bigger and perhaps even more well-suited for us. Fate definitely has its ways in this aspect.
If anything, rejection builds character and knowledge in which we should use as a means to stand up stronger. Instead of crumbling at its feet, we can take it as a lesson learned to strive towards extraordinary opportunities we just have not had the pleasure of discovering yet. One of my best friends in this entire world (and fellow member of DWIB) shared some wisdom with me that really resonated with me one day. She explained to me that rejection is not a dead end that hinders you to one spot; it is a re-direction in life towards something better. Her words sounded so obvious, yet it had never occurred to me when I was in the midst of feeling incompetent. The simple act of speaking to a close friend and hearing their perspective with a clear mind made that much of a difference in the way I viewed myself.
As cheesy as it sounds, if it’s not meant to be it’s not meant to be, and if it really is then it will come back to you perhaps in a different form. Have faith in your own achievements and walk at your own pace in life, because who else is more suited to be your biggest supporter than yourself?
Written by: Tiffany Huang