Facing Rejection Like a Champ

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I know it’s trashy, but I live for my weekly viewing of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or—the king of them all—Bachelor in Paradise.

Maybe it’s because I live a boring and drama-free life compared to the people who go on these shows, but sometimes after a stressful week, nothing can make you feel better about your own life than watching guys or girls (depending on whether it’s a bachelor or bachelorette time of year) lose their minds over a love interest they barely know.

I find the most common thought I have (or statement yelled at the TV) while viewing is “why are you crying? It’s OK!”

Especially early on in the seasons, it’s a little silly when contestants start crying when they aren’t chosen to continue on to the next week of dates.

The thing is, these contestants aren’t crying because they are brokenhearted over losing a chance with the bachelor or bachelorette; they’re crying because they’re facing rejection.

Rejection is a tricky emotion. It can manipulate you into thinking you care about something you really don’t. It can trick you into thinking you have feelings for someone you don’t.

This happened to me as a teen. I was not happy in a relationship, but once I was the one facing rejection, I did everything in my power to get the guy back because I thought those feelings of rejection were something that they weren’t.

Just because those feelings of sadness aren’t real feelings for a person or for something in your life (maybe it’s a job offer or not being included by a friend), that doesn’t mean those feelings of rejection don’t hurt. They hurt a lot! That’s why it’s all so confusing.

The pain is still very real and has to be dealt with. The key to accepting rejection in a healthier and less painful way is to change your perspective.

The reason people cry when they’re rejected on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette is because they compare themselves to all of those other candidates who were chosen to continue on. They think they don’t stack up compared to them. Perhaps the girls are prettier or funnier. Perhaps the guys are more attractive or have more appealing careers.

This way of thinking is toxic and completely the wrong way to look at it—that’s why I end up yelling at the TV, “Why are you crying?!”

It’s not because I think they shouldn’t be sad; of course they should be. It’s extremely disappointing to be sent home, but they usually start spouting off a bunch of self-deprecating, pity-me comments about how they don’t understand what the remaining contestants have that they don’t.

That’s the thing—it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what those candidates might have that the person crying in the back seat of the limo doesn’t.

What should matter is that it wasn’t a love connection. Those remaining people just click a little better with whoever is handing out the roses that season. They are by no means better people than the ones being sent home (well, most of the time!); they just are better matches.

It’s the same with being rejected after a job interview. Whoever got the job isn’t better than you; that person just fits better with the position you both were vying for.

It doesn’t make the rejection sting less or make it any less disappointing, but it can keep you from losing your confidence or being too hard on yourself if you think of rejection as more of a two-way street.

Even if you are going through a time in your life when you feel like you’re facing rejection in the dating world, in your career, or amongst your friends or family, think of it as a saving grace.

Chances are that, if you’re being rejected from something, it probably isn’t a good fit, and that rejection is saving you from a possibly miserable situation dating someone you wouldn’t be happy with, working in a job you’d hate, or spending time with someone you maybe shouldn’t.

Rejection never means someone is better than you. We all have different flaws and strengths. Rejection just means someone may be a better fit than you for that particular situation.

It means you probably have something way better out there waiting for you. And isn’t that worth celebrating?

 

Some Advice for College Freshmen

My Post (34).jpgAs we close out our Fourth of July celebrations and the end of summer looms closer, many of you will be about to head off to college.

College is an amazing—but sometimes horrifying—time to grow and figure out who you want to be in this life. As someone who didn’t enjoy or take advantage of her time in college, here are some pieces of advice so that you, hopefully, won’t make the same mistakes I did.

You don’t have to be BFFs with your roommates.

I moved into a triple dorm room during my freshman year. I was so excited. Two automatic friends instead of just one, right?

Unfortunately, in my case, the other two girls became best friends, and I felt odd for not fitting in. I wish I would have realized at the time that it was completely OK. You cannot get along or be best friends with everyone. You do not have to be BFFs with your roommates. There is nothing wrong with you if you don’t click with them. Just be nice and courteous; that’s all that really matters.

Join clubs, and find your people.

You may get lucky and find your new friend group right in your dorm building, but even if so, college is the time to get involved and discover your interests.

Go to your campus’ club showcase, and sign up for a few clubs that match your general interests. Try them out, and then narrow it down to one ot two that really excite you. This is also a great way to figure out what you may want to do career-wise.

Be a little silly.

College is the last stop before adulthood responsibilities set in. Sure, there’s a lot you still have to be responsible for in college—definitely more so than when you’re in high school—but paying rent sure is less stressful when you don’t have student loans to pay!

Make sure that, in between studying and internships, you remember to have some fun. You won’t always have hour breaks in the middle of your day or Fridays off.

You will fail, but don’t give up.

During your freshmen year of college, you will probably end up failing in some way. Classes are harder than they were in high school (or at least they should be), professors aren’t quite as accessible (especially if you attend a large university), and it may be hard to be without your family and friends from back home.

Don’t give up when you mess up. Learn from those mistakes, and keep going. Some mistakes may even cause you to rethink your major. Give it time before you make any drastic changes. Easy roads are not necessarily better.

Spend Wisely!

Money, money, money. If you’re moving away for college, my No. 1 piece of advice to you is to start saving now. Shop as cheaply as you can, and try to avoid unnecessary entertainment or eating out costs. Come up with a reward system so that you don’t miss out on something you really want, while still putting money away for the next year. You’ll thank yourself later.

Don’t compare.

When you’re in classes with people all competing for similar career goals, it becomes easy to compare yourself to your classmates’ progress. Comparison is never a good idea, but it can be especially harmful if you fall into that trap during your freshman year. You don’t want it to become a habit.

Everyone will have different career successes and majors. Don’t compare. You’re each on your own special path to reach your goals.

Stick to your beliefs and convictions.

College campuses are a bit tricky today. There will inevitably be some unpopular opinions that won’t be “cool” or even seen as acceptable to have. You might completely agree with the majority, or you could be in the minority.

Wherever you lie, I challenge you to research your own beliefs and convictions if you begin to have doubts. We should always strive to become more knowledgeable about what we believe and what the alternatives may be, but don’t change just because people tell you you’re wrong. You’re better and stronger than that. Look into the issue for yourself. Do the research. Present your case. Come to your own conclusions.

Make up your own mind. Don’t follow just to follow.

Stay in touch with your people back home.  

Lastly, stay in touch with your friends and loved ones back home or who have left on their own college adventures. You’re going to miss them a lot—especially in your first year. Send handwritten notes and sweet texts, and call or FaceTime whenever you can.

After all, they miss you, too.

Something Borrowed: Giving Away Our Dreams

For some reason or other, we can tend to deny ourselves the things we want in life. And we can tend to sabotage our best chances of seeing those dreams come to fruition.

One of my mother’s and my favorite movies is Something Borrowed. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s based on a novel by the same name—though I liked the film better (a first for me). The film follows the story of two lifelong best friends. One, Darcy, is outgoing, bubbly, and flirty. The other, Rachel, is mousy, studious, and lacking confidence. Maybe the contrast between the two of them is too stereotypical, but it paints a picture we all see growing up.

The gist of the story is that Rachel befriends a fellow (and very cute) law school student. There are clearly feelings there (between both of them). As they near graduation, Dex asks Rachel out to celebrate. Rachel’s lack of self-confidence causes her not to realize he clearly intends it to be a date, and when Darcy shows up (flirty as ever), she completely self-implodes. She ends up making an excuse to go home early, leaving a confused Dex to hang out with Darcy.

Flash forward a few years: Darcy and Dex are engaged, and Rachel passively helps Darcy plan her wedding. Once Darcy was added to the equation, Rachel thought she couldn’t compete and, thus, removed herself from the situation instead of fighting for what she wanted.

No one would really be that much of a pushover, right? Well, I’ve seen it in my own life, and my mother recently called to tell me about witnessing a Something Borrowed situation in real life. She had watched a young coworker fall into the same trap, encouraging another girl to go out with a guy she clearly liked.

Why do we do this to ourselves? I think we get scared when our dreams actually seem within reach, and so when competition appears, we practically hand our dreams over. It’s like we’re saying, “Oh, right. I knew this was too good to be true. Here you go.”

And this doesn’t have to be about a guy. We can do this with career goals, in friendships, and in all aspects of our lives.

If you want something in life, you have to know that you deserve it. You have to ask for it. You have to pursue it. It will most likely not be handed to you. You have to fight for it.

You’re not a bad person if you speak up. If you want a chance to work on a dream project at work, but it’s been given to someone else, it doesn’t hurt to ask to join or to ask for a similar project in the future. If someone else develops feelings for the person you have feelings for, you’re not wrong to be honest with the other girl and pursue those feelings.

Unfortunately, sometimes when we want something, it means someone else won’t get it. A promotion. A contest. A romantic interest.

If you’re anything like me, winning any one of those things—particularly if you know the others competing with you—can cause massive amounts of guilt. But you know what? Don’t feel guilty. Those competitors will win other competitions that you won’t. They will see other dreams and goals accomplished—if they fight for them.

Worry about your own goals. Fight for what you want—because no one else will. People cannot read your mind. Not your boss. Not your boyfriend. Not your friends. Not your crush.  You have to speak up and state clearly:

This is how I feel.
This is what I want.

If you’re too afraid to speak up and be honest about what you want, you may wake up in a few years planning a wedding for someone else. One that could have been yours.

Don’t leave the dinner early. Stay and fight.

Let’s Chase Our Dreams Together

Somewhere along the way and for some reason none of us may ever know, girls started competing against each other in areas that warrant no competition. Look at the movie Mean Girls for the perfect example: Regina George and the Plastics strive to be better than everyone else and want people to know this by becoming exclusive in everything they do, and they often sabotage situations so that other girls’ emotions are hurt.

Why is it that so many women—both young and old—feel the need to make others feel inferior? Aren’t we really all on the same team?

Take a moment to think about your daily life and the conversations you have. How often do you find yourself thinking or saying things that aren’t so nice about another girl or woman? What is it that makes you think those things and sometimes even share those thoughts with your friends?

Hopefully you’ve heard of the Time’s Up movement with the trending #MeToo from this year. Multitudes of women have come forward in the entertainment industry and are banning together to stand up for what is right—to stand up for each other. Friends, rather than tearing each other apart, we need to be building each other up. Women are truly powerful individuals and capable of such incredible feats, and you are no exception to that, regardless of your age or status.

And, together, we are even more powerful and capable.

Try to remember a time in your life when another girl purposely did something to make you feel lesser. (If that’s never happened to you, you’re one of the lucky ones.) Wasn’t it hurtful? Didn’t you wish that it wasn’t happening to you? The next time you are about to do something or say something that pits you against another young woman, think back to that moment when you were suddenly an unexpected rival of someone, and ask your heart if it’s really what you want to do.

Competition is meant for places like the basketball court and the soccer field, not for living life among your peers.

Ladies, let’s unite. Let’s stop putting each other down—whether it’s behind each other’s backs or to each other’s faces—and let’s start building each other up. Let’s choose love over hate. Let’s stop competing over every single thing, whether it’s boys or fashion or popularity or grades or ranks or possessions or status or whatever, and let’s cheer one another on as we run toward our passions. Let’s support each other’s dreams instead of trying to one-up them. Let’s be friends and not enemies.

After all, to hop on board the train to Cheesetown and take big lessons from High School Musical, we’re all in this together.

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