Rejection & Responsibility.
Disclaimer: I am going to describe this as us, we, to imply our collective commonalities in what I am sharing. Not to suggest everyone ever in the entire world does this, even if we are socially and educationally trained to. As always, take what resonates and leave what doesn't.
So many of us think that if someone would just give us a break then we could flourish and achieve our potential.
I see it with musicians, executives, artists, designers, writers, managers and the list goes on. I see it in most professions.
We are waiting to be seen, valued and respected, we are waiting for someone to say YES you have worth. So we can start to finally believe it and feel we do.
Some of us wait for it, others attempt demanding it and others try to hide behind external validation as an antidote for our internal rejection. Most of us, without some personal development work, is part of the cycle at least once, if not as a default.
We talk about the right break, we talk about whats in our way or who is. We talk about a foot in the door, the right contacts, our education and the power of "the beast" whether that be a label, publisher or organisation. We keep looking at blaming and waiting.
One of the truest things I have come to feel is life is happening for us, not to us and that it isn't always easy or fair. Sometimes, it feels cruel.
As a coach, I often feel that my colleagues motivate and encourage, and at times I do too. I also feel it is important to reality check responsibility. If I do not take responsibility for what I need to do or the choices I need to make then its hardly helpful feeling buzzed about doing it because as soon as it's hard again I will withdraw from the enthusiasm and go straight back to waiting to be saved.
True empowerment, is the maturing of self to a place of compassionate responsibility.
Let me be super clear before someone run's off with my point I am not suggesting life is easy or self-blame is helpful.
I am suggesting very simply that if we took more responsibility for giving ourselves what we need, making choices we would rather not make and looked at our very discreet childlike way of wanting others to mind us and praise us; ultimately take responsibility for us, we would be far clearer in our direction and in fighting for what we need, when we are required to.
I am not suggesting there isn't dis-justice, I am suggesting that the more responsibility we take for ourselves, the clearer that injustice is and we can choose effective actions, rather than disempowered reactive ones.
What we are really doing is saying Ill pick me, as soon as someone else see's value in me. We are saying I do not have worth or value until you say I do. Simply put because we all value different things, we are setting ourselves up for a lot of waiting and a lot of feeling inadequate.
When others aren't rallying around to save us from our own rejection, we wonder why we bother, we consider giving up or fighting the "the beast" as another distraction to taking responsibility for what we need and what we do about it.
As someone who writes personally, for magazines/blogs and is currently self-publishing a small series (only 2 books so far) I can tell you I have waited, I have sought and I have given up on myself so many times.
For all the rejection letters for jobs I was well able for and for all the interviews when asked "What can you bring to this role?" and I stumbled into attempting to prove myself. For my willingness to do what needs to be done only to rejected when I stop people pleasing.
For the rejection letters from publishers and HR departments alike because they found grammar errors on my applications and equated it to my ability to work with people.
For all the times I have heard colleagues criticise, for all the times I have.
For all the times I went after what I wanted, only to retract last minute for fear of the impact of being rejected by the person in charge of that dream.
For all the times I have thought if only they fancied me, to find I wasn't their type.
I get rejection. I get it from a logical perspective and from a lived experience. I get wanting to be picked and I get the crap that arises within when we aren't. I get that being seen and valued is part of belonging, I also get that when we give the responsibility to others to see and hear us, we never really feel accepted, fully.
I live it, as do most others in one way or another, overtly or within our own stress and anxiety.
We want to be seen and valued, the issue arises when we want others to do it for us!
The difference now with lots of coaching & therapy I give up less on myself these days and some days don't give up on myself at all. I have got into more of a habit of giving up on the idea of someone else picking me, which makes rejection a lot less painful. (still a work in progress but its there these days, more than ever)
Because I choose to,
Because I can,
Because it is my responsibility to not give up on myself,
Because the validation of a publisher is not a spec on the feedback from a reader
Or the sense of connection I get when I share myself, transparently with another is far more important to me than a panel of 6 interviewers asking me set questions to grade me!
Because the validation of connecting with a person and being of service outweighs my dyslexic grammar.
Because life is happening for me, not to me and so I respond as often as I can in a way that reminds me of that.
Because I am not entitled to be found, discovered or given a leg up regardless of all the "hard work" I do. I am not even entitled to succeed.
I am entitled to respect myself, make choices that honour who I am, to fight for myself when needed and for what I want.
I am entitled to hope, dream and try but I am not entitled to be given it (the break, chance, book deal, job) by anyone else. None of us our.
This is our responsibility, it has always been. We need to pick ourselves before asking the world to pick us.
We need to back ourselves so that we have enough resilience to keep going. It is not always easy, it is however always our responsibility.
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain"