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Rejection, the Leash Around the Ankle

May 23rd, 2014

kani (4)The very word ‘rejection’ sends a cold chill down the spine, invoking a cocktail of emotions; shame, pain, depression and their associated synonyms. There are different phobias for different people, but like Derek Jeter said, “everybody fears rejection”.  Rejection is a common denominator, everyone feels it at some point or another; the boy who tries to kiss a girl and gets pushed off, an artist who is booed off the stage during a performance, a public speaker who has half his audience dozing off, not being invited to a class party or having your manuscript returned.

Rejection is particularly hard for a writer because intellectual property is valued at the discretion of the person judging it while the production of a piece is the pouring out of a writer’s life. That is why when a piece of writing is rejected, the writer feels like his very essence is rejected.

The natural reaction to rejection is withdrawal, apart from some crazy folks who either set the house of their heart breaker on fire or go on a shooting spree. Rejection makes one abort their mission and it kills any desire to try again. By so doing, a fear of being rejected grows and literally feels like a leash on the ankles. Taking a chance or making any progress then becomes difficult.

What we all need to know about rejection is that it’s a pseudo feeling. Its bite actually comes from the person rejected, not the person doing the rejection. You determine how it affects you and what it means to you, not the person rejecting you.  You can choose to see rejection positively, and even though you don’t take it with a smile can learn from it.

Here are a few things you can do to take the bite off:

•          Consider it as a positive input: There is a saying that “every monkey believes their baby is beautiful”. Because your work is your baby, it is only natural that you think it is perfect. That’s why you need someone to point out its flaws so you can improve it. Be grateful.


•          Consider it a challenge not condemnation: Train yourself to accept rejection as a sign that you have more work to do and apply yourself to making your writing better, especially when the reason for the rejection is stated.


•          Don’t take it personally: Realise that it is your article or submission that is rejected not your person. The person rejecting your work may love your company.


•          Make rejection work for you: Charlie Chaplin once said that “Actors search for rejection, if they don’t get it, they reject themselves”. Learn to love your work being criticised. Ask for criticism; the more of it you get, the better your chances of improving.


Always remember to say to yourself “I don’t fear rejection, it’s here to help me get better”.


Kani was born in Nigeria – a minister, public speaker and an entrepreneur who’s major passion is human development. An avid reader, he sees meaning in everything. His unique perception of life makes his articles refreshing to read. He’s the owner of this blog.



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