The Power of "No"

Originally published on YOGANONYMOUS — December 18, 2015 

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A rejection a day keeps the laziness away—or at least that's what I try to tell myself each time a “Thank you for your application, we regret to inform you...” email makes its way to my inbox. 

Creativity is the sweetest torture I've ever known—especially when the rejection aspect comes into play. While I feel like society incessantly crams the "don't judge a book..." motif down our throats, I think inherently that's what we're subjected to, day in and day out—judgement. Judgement on the quality of our work, our voice, our style, our experiences, and our resumes.

It pains me when I see my resume "not selected," where I can say with almost 100 percent certainty that it isn't my talent that's lacking, it's my experience. I was not a fortunate student or recent grad who could afford to take a non-paying internship in exchange for invaluable experience. Instead I scribbled away in a journal day after day, while nannying for 20-some-odd dollars an hour. 

Did I wish for more? Sure, but I was happy, content, to be where I was. Until recently, really—when I see each and every job description demanding not only a four-year degree, but an internship at some outstanding company or magazine. What about those of us who have talent, but not experience? How are we supposed to get said experience if our resumes are so quickly overturned?

There have been more times than I'd like to admit that I let rejection get the better of me, allowing myself to think that maybe I didn't actually possess the talent that I thought I did—a feeling I'm sure all too many people can empathize with. I'd throw in the towel for a few weeks and proclaim I was moving on, letting go of my dream of being a writer. But then I'd find myself dusting off the disappointment andtrying again
Slowly but surely I'd begun to develop thicker skin. The painful NO became less painful, and somehow—most unexpectedly to me—motivational.

I began to look at my work more deeply, finding ways to improve, and ways to make myself more appealing to companies looking for writers. With little freelance gigs here and there, I was building not only a portfolio, but experience, and most importantly—confidence.
The painful NO became less painful, and somehow—most unexpectedly to me—motivational.
I started to think of the places in my life, outside of work-related scenarios, where I let the pain of rejection take the wheel and steer, and made subtle changes there, too. It doesn't always have to necessarily be the most painful experience, but it surely is humbling to be told "no" by potential employers, potential lovers, friends, and even family.

The little "wins" here and there wound up being the biggest, and maybe that is why I can now take the "no's" in stride, and not so personally. I've always tried to live by the adage "everything happens for a reason"; those failed relationships, not getting the job you wanted—more times than not it turns out OK, and somehow, despite the heartbreak and hurt, you're better for having gone through it. Those Rolling Stones really knew what they were talking about when they sang "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."

Though I've harnessed the power of "no," I still must admit, rejection doesn't quite get easier to take. But regardless, I will never allow it to lessen my fervor to get there. If you'd ask me where "there" is, I still don't quite have a definitive answer—I only know I'm not there yet.

Do you have any tips that have helped you handle rejection? Share in the comments below.

Photo by Ali Kaukas 


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