A few days ago, I listened to a podcast by Jay Shetty, a purpose coach, and a former monk. His guest speaker Jamie Kern Lima – Co-founder of IT Cosmetics – stated at one point of the conversation that “Rejection is a God’s protection.”
“Rejection is a God’s protection”
I’ve never heard that phrase before, and suddenly these words started spinning around in my head, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It sounded like a paradox to me. So often in my life, I have experienced rejections, big ones and smaller ones, rejections from people I loved and those I respected, rejections in love affairs and at work, rejections from business partners and friends. It always felt awful, depressing, devastating, down. I never learned to accustom to or accept the rejection. Therefore, a quote, “Rejection is a God’s protection,” made me to rethink some of the rejections and setbacks in my life and look at them from a different perspective.
Story #1. “Happy ears” syndrome
For almost three months, I have been involved in building a project aimed at fundraising for a social cause — an ambitious project with a captivating mission. Everyone who heard about it wanted to join us, so we put together a great team. We hosted several meetings, planning calls, zoom workshops to design the campaign and kick off the fundraising. We were on the last mile, closing the final arrangements, and one evening I got a message from my friend who initiated the campaign. She wrote:
“I have taken the time to reflect on where we are today, looked at all the time vested and required forward & the ever-increasing personal costs required, and I have decided to retract from this project.”
That message ended the project.
I was shocked, neglected, and sad. I felt like we failed; well, actually, I felt like I failed and disappointed my friend, partners, and the team. And I couldn’t understand how did that happen. I felt rejected. Until I stopped torturing myself and gave myself the right to let it go.
What have I learned from that situation? A few lessons.
When I start something new, I tend to see my partners, customers, or the potential project through pink spectacles. I perceive the situation as I would like, not as it is. I hear positive feedback, and I take it as support. I hear the acknowledgment of my ideas, and I take it for approval. I receive requests to prepare a strategy or materials, and I take it as a deal. I call it a “happy ears” syndrome, which is often an early warning to stop and review the collaboration. Otherwise, I may overlook the lack of alignment, critical project risks, or even a conflict of interest.
I lost that project and probably a friend, but I realized that I might have lost much more: my integrity, my independence, and time I could have spent on projects fully aligned with me from the beginning. That rejection turned out to be my protection.
Story #2. “You are not enough”
I mentioned pink spectacles in business; boy, how often we wear them when we start dating. Always?
The last guy I was dating seemed like a perfect match – we had the same lifestyle, interests, beliefs. The first meetings were like in a fairy tale. I will save you all the details. One day he called me, and we had a vivid discussion on one topic, which developed into an argument. He suddenly fired out: “You behave like you were running a TV show; you’re changing the tone of your voice like an actress. Be authentic!” He ended the call ironically, saying, “and by the way, I don’t like that dress you had the other day.”
What?! I was stunned and devastated. I didn’t understand what was happening. My core values truth, authenticity, and integrity were challenged. I never act nor pretend. This argument hurt, as did most of the arguments. The fairy tale ended, and real-life started. We had ups and downs like in any relationship. And one day, he left with no goodbye.
Another rejection, and that was a harrowing one. However, today, I must admit, it was God’s protection.
What did I learn from that story? A lot!
The most important thing is never to allow anyone to diminish you or make you feel not enough. We sometimes trade off ourselves for a pleasant atmosphere in a relationship, social acceptance or admiration, or the fear of losing somebody. And we take part in a movie that is not ours. I thank God he freed me from all the bad relationships so that I didn’t have to compromise on my values. I strongly believe in truth, authenticity, and integrity in both private and business encounters.
And I’m waiting with open arms for such relationships.
When the next rejection happens, I am armed with one question:
“What’s good in it for me?”
Check Brene Brown Ted Talk “The power of vulnerability” https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability/transcript