Coping with Rejection, Failure, Criticism

Photo by me

“All life is conflict. Every breath that you draw represents a victory in the struggle of the whole Universe” Aleister Crowley

Rejection. Failure. Criticism. These are things that no one wants to talk about, but everyone has to experience. Some find it easy to dismiss these things and move along, undeterred. Others, like myself, may need more time and energy to redirect after a letdown.

Lately I’ve been countering rejection with resilience. These are some steps that have helped me along the way:

1. Mourn the loss of the opportunity. Wallow in the what ifs. Answer the “whys” and when possible, consider what is worth retaining from the situation. Collect all of this knowledge that will mature into power, and make you bigger, better and less prone to fall down the next time you’re hit with a crushing blow.

2. Read this quote by Sylvia Plath: “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” Turn it over in your head, time and time again, as you would with something you don’t want to forget. Repeat it. Let it be your mantra for the moment, your guiding light, your stimulus, the coach who picks you up after the hard hit and encourages you to keep fighting because the battle isn’t over until you stop beating and breathing.

3. Remember that you are a being whose worth is not determined by others. Listen to “Great Expectations” by Cat Power. Find the truth in the lyrics: “Do you look for hope in other people’s eyes / Well that may be your worst redemption / Do you feed and clothe yourself / Well that may be your best defense.”

tumblr_n2wi2782Oy1t0lrvjo1_5003. Do. Do what you need to do to move forward. Don’t slide down in dismay. Don’t find comfort in your sulk. Move, in the direction that leads to doing.

4. Then, do more. Don’t stop. Try another hobby, another journey, another final destination. Take a path you never imagined you would take to a place you never knew existed. This is all figurative, but you don’t need an imagination to make these things literal. Do. Because like everyone says, in their own way, “if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.”

In short: Try. Fail. Try again. Fail again. Eventually the odds, or gods, will be in your favor. Don’t surrender to the doom and gloom.

What helps you stay motivated despite criticism, rejection or failure?

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