I am learning to love rejection as an inevitable and instructional part of the creative process, and living a creative life, as this book I am writing is also writing me. Sometimes it's not clear who is creating what.
Recently I held a crowd funding campaign to call in support for my book project. I didn't realize it when I was stepping into it, but I can see now looking back on it that this was basically a month-long rejection 'tapas'. The Sanskrit term 'tapas' is generally translated as a regimen of austerity or a daily discipline. My favorite definition is one that I found pretty recently, which explains it as "the acceptance of pains that lead to purification".
During crowd funding, I was asking for help in the form of money every day. And I was receiving rejection every day (plus a whole bunch of different stories and projections). Of course I also received a lot of 'yes' in the process too. But for every 'yes' there were at least a dozen 'no's in one form or another.
I was asking people to contribute to my book project fund at least 50 to 100 times a day, for 30 straight days in row. I was posting a lot on social media. I was sending out countless direct messages and emails. I was talking to people in real life and asking for money face to face. And over the course of this month, something in me shifted.
At the beginning of the 30 days, the anticipation of asking was met with sensations of nausea. It would be fair to say that the first day after launching the campaign was spent in a death match wrestling with panic and regret. I held so much shame. There was so much fear of being seen asking for help. After a few days, this nausea subsided into mild nervousness. By the end of the month-long process, I could ask from a much more neutral space.
I am not saying that my ego doesn't feel the sting of rejection. Of course I can still feel the 'ouch' in that. But I find less resistance to asking and less suffering over the answer. I can see how 'yes' or 'no' is not something to take personally; I know that the answer has nothing to do with my worth or the value of my work. And if you say 'no' to me, it doesn't mean we can't still be friends!
I have started to recognize the beauty of rejection. The flip side of rejection is reception. It is hard to be open to receiving and being received in a big way without also risking rejection in a big way.
Rejection is an elegantly designed, fast-forward sorting mechanism of the universe. It helps us to align, collect, and connect ourselves in a way that is the most energetically efficient. Prolonged ambiguity leads us astray, to waste time and leak energy. Rejection is a time and energy saver.
When you ask for what you want without grasping to get it, you are simply allowing the world around you to align with your deepest desires. Those who don’t want the same things as you will fall away. Those who do want the same things will come closer.
Rejection is a divine gift. Rejection is divine guidance. It shows us where to put our focus, where to spend our time, where to invest our energy... or not. I am learning to appreciate rejection purely as information, instead of being compelled to push or sell someone on the merits of my offer.
Rejection is a side effect of being "out there" — exposing your heart and making yourself available to life. In seeing the blessings of rejection, we reclaim energy that we would otherwise pour into striving for acceptance. When we let go of trying to convince others to love us, we have more to give to the the people who already do love us.
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