We've all been there before. The dreaded rejection phone call after a job interview. The letter to say your application has been declined. The email to say you just aren't what someone is looking for.
Sometimes it can be hard to keep your chin up when rejections come rolling in. What's wrong with me? Why don't they like my work? What do I have to do to be better? The answer is nothing - you are perfect just as you are. But sometimes we need someone else to tell us that. Our brains are funny things, they're always ready to believe the worst about ourselves, often even when others aren't.
I published my own book, and I'm so proud of it. It took me some time to reach that position, though. Self-publishing was an enormous amount of work, worrying, sweat and tears, and a gigantic leap of faith, but it's done and I've achieved something I never thought I would. I worried and wondered whether publishing on my own would make me 'less' than someone who was selected by a traditional publisher. I worried that I wouldn't be taken as seriously, that my book wouldn't be as successful.
But having spent some time on this ride, I don't think that's necessarily true. I think it's what you make of it, and what you take out of it. It's about the support - every single person who supports you, whether it's because they already love you, or because they like the idea of what you've created. It's about hard work and keeping a smile on your face when you can feel the pit of your stomach in your throat and you just want to bury your face in your hands and cry.
Just because I published myself doesn't mean I'm immune from hurt. I can't access the bigger distributers and book retailers as a little fish, and that can be frustrating at times. I still get rejections - from distributors, from suppliers and so on. Just because I don't have a big name publisher doesn't mean I'm immune from rejection. I just have to choose to focus on the people who do want to stock my work.
And then, of course, there are the opinions of the people who read my book (which is a little like placing a big piece of your soul on display, naked for everyone to see and comment on - it's hell terrifying). I'm sure there will come a day when someone simply doesn't like what I've created. And you know what...that's okay. Sometimes we aren't what someone is looking for, or what they wanted at that point in time. But that doesn't make us any less awesome for it. It might take some time to get to that level of zen with the universe, but perseverance will get me there.
So to anyone who has experienced rejection recently and is feeling the sting of it, please consider this - we all fail, we all feel and we all grow as people from it. Embrace the bad feelings and use them to make yourself a stronger, more resilient version of you. Love who you are and what you can do, and others will appreciate the light that you have.
PS Feel free to comment below, tell me what you think or feel - when have you felt rejected and what did you do? Did you get over it, or did it fester?