“Everything happens for a reason” is a half-truth.
While everything literally happens for a reason…like how you got a flat tire because you ran over a nail (no, not because the world hates you)…we often make up our reasons retrospectively.
We look back on previous things we did, did not do, and things that happened, or did not happen, to explain why our reality is the way it is.
When we look back on rejection, we can think of it as one of two things:
I prefer the latter.
Swapping a “failure” mindset for a “redirection” mindset is crucial to overcoming, and thriving because of, rejection.
It can be reallllllllllly hard to “bounce back” from something we poured our energy, and hope, into.
Personally, I had put all my eggs into one basket when it came to graduating college this past May 2019.
For the past two years, I envisioned myself starting law school in Fall 2019.
I had told myself that narrative so passionately, and repeatedly, that I failed to consider any. other. alternative.
While it worked out well from the surface, having earned acceptances to multiple law schools, it turned out to be devestating when I realized it was not the right time (personally and financially) for me to commit to a law school for Fall 2019.
As a result, I graduated college feeling aimless and confused.
Sans a plan of action, I spent a few days post-graduation wallowing in self-pity and feeling like an absolute, total failure.
After sitting with myself…AKA rummaging through Ted Talks, dusting off self-help books I bought but never read during college, and checking my (often critical) inner voice…I decided to view the rejection of my plan not as a failure, but as as a redirection.
A redirection to work on myself, save some $, and mindfully reapproach the law school application process.
If reframing failures from rejections to redirections sounds lofty to you, it’s okay!
It’s a lofty concept.
Some rejections are insanely difficult to process.
Maybe you proposed to someone and received a big, fat “NO THANK YOU”.
Maybe you got denied the promotion you were promised for years.
Maybe you made an offer on your dream apartment and someone else got it.
Whatever the rejection may be, you can reframe your “failure” mindset to a “redirection” mindset by:
- Writing out your “failure” and the emotions you associate with it
- Writing out why you thought things could have been better if the “failure” didn’t occur
- Writing out ways you can rather a) go back to the drawing board and devise a plan of action or b) reroute your energy towards something different
- Writing out why you think things can be better now that the “redirection” occurred
If you’ve gone through something similar, how did you respond? Did you view it from a “failure” mindset or a “redirection” mindset?