Rejection & Failure, AKA The Hall Of Mirrors.
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'I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.' Thomas A. Edison
What if your boss brought you into her office to fire you and said the following?
"Thanks for coming in. So word on the street is that you're refusing to listen to the inner nudges you've been receiving for sometime now that this isn't the right job for you. Apparently you're having trouble letting go and trusting that something that is a right fit really exists, so I've been charged with the task of helping you out with that. Sometimes I guess we need a crucible to get to the truth of things, so good luck out there and may the force be with you.'
Or what if you asked someone out on a date and they said this?
"Oh thanks, that's really flattering, but actually I'm not the person you're looking for. There's someone coming along in a few months who is the person you were hoping I was. Seems like you have some other things to do before they can show up, so good luck with that and may the force be with you!"
And then you said this,
"Oh thanks for clearing that up. Honestly I've been struggling with trust and patience recently and I just lost my way there for a second. Thanks for the wakeup. May the force also be with you."
Everyone is a Jedi in my rejection free world.
So have you ever heard this one? God only has three answers to our prayers. 'Yes.' 'Yes but not now.' 'No I have something better planned.' Whether or not this is a universal truth, my experience through meditation has been that the more I do it, the more my perception of everything shifts from, 'I am a victim of my circumstances and they must change in order for me to feel better,' to 'My circumstances are consistently rich with the material I need in order to motivate and awaken me into a richer and more sane state of consciousness which will then become reflected on my outsides.' In other words everyone and everything is on my team, I just have to learn to speak the language.
All of us, no matter what profession we're in, voluntarily show up on a daily basis for potential rejection and failure. I have chosen one, or more accurately one chose me, that really puts you through the wringer on this front. And as much as it's never really personal, I'm more of a Padawan aspiring to Jedi status, so the mind tricks still take their toll. More difficult for me than any rejection letter however, is silence. And I'm not talking about spa retreat, lying in a hammock silence; I'm talking about spaghetti western, whistling desert wind, tumble weed silence, with only the sound of a funeral bell chiming mournfully in the distance to signal the death of another submission attempt. That being said, that same silence is also rich with opportunity should we choose to view it as such.
The initially empty space that follows any vulnerable act eventually reveals a blank canvas onto which you can, and most likely will, paint all of the reasons why you believe you are experiencing the silent treatment, which is just gold in terms of personal feedback. Because in the silence, there is only you. And in this place you get to discover all of the ways that you are currently rejecting you. Usually it starts with, "They probably think....." and on you go, filling in all of the perceived shortcomings that you believe about yourself or whatever it is you just put out into the world. Some may be true, some false. The same by the way goes for delayed or absent responses to our texts, phone calls, indeed any and all communication channels in all relationship scenarios. We may at some point become angry and indignant with the unresponsive or silent party, berating their lack of consideration; but what we're really saying is, how dare they allow this cavern of silence to exist so that I have to listen to the echo of my own self rejecting, self doubting messages. Only they, we insist, have the power to silence that voice. This is nothing to do with us denying responsibility for our own emotional security, we tell ourselves, this is about manners! And it can be about that too, but that's not where the gold is.
Whether it's our heart, our companionship, creativity, skill set, guts or opinions, there is nothing like making ourselves vulnerable in those places to discover exactly what our own relationship with those parts of ourselves are. Because that's where we get the opportunity to regain our true power. Not from not caring what others think or not caring whether they want us or choose us or think we're great, but from being present for the experience to see what it reveals to us. You can bet that if someone you really care about validates you in some way and you are able to receive it, that at some level you've already done it for yourself, otherwise you wouldn't be able to let it in. You'd reject it. And if somebody rejects you in a place that hurts, you can bet that you've already rejected yourself in that place, otherwise, just like the compliment, you wouldn't be able to let it in.
So of course we care what others think and feel about us. We all need loving encouragement, support and feedback. We all have a deep need to be really seen and heard and connected to. And of course we want to succeed where we're trying. But as we move forward in our brave attempt to experience all of these things, we will also meet the invaluable hall of mirrors, reflecting the places where we've become unconscious in our relationship with ourselves, both positive and negative. And it's all just information, guiding us in the direction of deeper and deeper levels of self acceptance, into deeper states of forgiveness and towards the recognition that this is all just one big process of eliminating what isn't true, and what doesn't work, so that we can each arrive at our own version of Thomas Edison's lightbulb.