My life has been about striving for perfection while constantly questioning, “Am I good enough?”
Am I pretty enough? Smart enough? Thin, toned and strong enough? Am I lovable? Have I accomplished enough?
It’s no coincidence then that I would choose a career in modeling and working as a TV personality where rejection is as much a part of the job as the craft itself.
In other words, I hear the word, “No,” a lot. It used to really bother me. I internalized rejection, thinking it had something to do with my worth as a person. If I just do this, be that, and change myself, I will be good enough, accepted, validated, get the job, get the man, get the life of my dreams!
The message I replayed over and over again to myself was: I am not enough as I am.
I now see how rejection triggering my feelings of not being good enough is the perfect opportunity to heal my self-limiting beliefs, and create a new story: I am worthy. I am valuable. I am loved.
I’m smart enough to know now that rejection has nothing to do with my value as a person. That wisdom and understanding gives me so much freedom and such a sense of relief.
What’s actually being triggered is my ego because I am taking things personally, but rejection isn’t all about me.
I’ll give you an example: I was being considered as a model for a national commercial. The casting director told me I was exactly what they were looking for. I really wanted this job.
I didn’t get it.
I didn’t lose the job to another fair-skinned, tall, curvy blonde though. They hired a thin, much shorter African American woman. I couldn’t even be upset. The client literally hired my exact opposite.
The casting director ended up reaching out to me (which hardly ever happens), telling me everyone loved me, but they decided they’ve been hiring too many blondes lately for their campaigns and needed to switch things up.
I completely understood, and didn’t take their decision personally. I’ve since lost jobs to women who look very similar to me, and I don’t take that personally either, because I end up booking something better, or I am given time off to rest and take care of myself.
When I am rejected by something outside of myself, I take the time to examine the ways in which I reject (or say ‘No’ to) myself. (Eating poorly, skipping the gym, negative self-talk, lack of sleep and rest). When I am rejecting a part of myself, it will be mirrored back to me. It is a beautiful exercise in self love and acceptance.
Besides just being a part of life, I’ve learned rejection is actually protecting me from something that is not for my greatest good and the good of others.
When the guy I really, really like and have great chemistry with, who tells me I’m the most incredible woman he’s ever met, suddenly stops calling me, rather than going into a downward spiral of, “What did I do wrong? What’s wrong with me?”
I instead step back and say, Thank you, God/Universe/Spirit, for looking out for me and my highest good.
I’m not saying this is easy. It is definitely a perspective shift I have worked hard to create for myself. But the key to dealing with rejection, for me, is being able to look at the big picture, detach from the outcome, release expectations and know that everything is always happening for me and working out for the highest good for all involved.
It isn’t the pain of not getting the guy I thought I wanted to be in a relationship with, after all, I was perfectly happy before he came into my life.
It’s the expectations I had about how he should behave and how our relationship should go that really caused me the heartache. If I had been detached from the outcome of our relationship, his radio silence would have immediately been seen as a blessing rather than a statement about me and my value as a woman.
I recently had a meaningful conversation with an ex-boyfriend who I felt blew me off. We would get really close, and then he would push me away. I always thought his rejection meant I wasn’t good enough for him, but he communicated to me that he didn’t feel worthy of my love and always feared I would leave him, so he “rejected” me first in order to protect himself.
I was blown away! Not only did I appreciate his honesty, but all these years I carried around feelings of not being good enough only to hear he felt the same way.
I think this is often the case in relationships when two imperfect people come together with unresolved childhood wounds and don’t speak candidly about their true feelings—often times because it is too painful or difficult to even admit to ourselves, let alone others.
It is more difficult to see at the time, but with practice, I am able to look back at jobs I didn’t get and men who never called again, and see how perfect it all has been because much bigger and better opportunities, experiences and people have come into my life as a result.
When I hear “No” now, I get excited because I know a much more suitable “Yes!” is right around the corner.
I no longer subscribe to the notion that an opportunity was unfairly taken away from me or is being withheld. I choose to believe that potential heartaches and roadblocks are being removed.
My life has shifted dramatically since I stopped taking rejection personally.
I’ve given up the constant obsession of, “What did I do wrong?”
The truth is there is nothing wrong with me. The particular person or situation was simply not a good fit for me, that’s all.
I’ve decided it isn’t my job to analyze why I was rejected, but it is my responsibility to remind myself of my inherent worthiness.
I do this through daily acts of self care and love, and by validating myself, rather than looking for acceptance and approval through a job, relationship or dare I say—social media. At the end of the day, my opinion of myself is the only one that really matters. I’m also finding that when I accept and love myself, others accept and love me as well.