Rejection & Self-Acceptance (Wisdom of the 12-Steps)
Bottom line: In the end, acceptance is an inside job.
We won't get acceptance from everyone. We don't always get acceptance from those whom we wish to get it. However, there are those who will accept us and we need to be prepared to seek them out, which may take effort. In the long run, we need to accept ourselves, though we may need others to believe in us before we can believe in ourselves.
For those stuck and suffering a self-destructive cycle of behavior, emotional pain and trauma, 12-Step support groups provide an atmosphere of acceptance, and a safe platform to overcome the wreckage in our lives. Professional support through counseling/therapy provides the same. Both have complimentary ultimate goals: relief of destructive behavioral patterns, psychological health/emotional balance and better relationships.
We've all been rejected or will be rejected in some form or fashion. Big rejections, little rejections, loud or silent rejections, head-on or sideways, obvious or obscured.
I'll use an analogy of myself as a writer. Above and beyond the usual rejections that I receive in life, I live with rejection as a result of my selfish reason to have others read what I’ve written. I have a deep seated desire to create, connect and pass along ideas through writing.
Running the gauntlet of rejection is a necessity for a writer. Rejection of a proposed book. Rejection of a submitted article. If a written rejection does come after a submission, it’s usually weeks or months afterward. And if a written response is sent, it may be: No, thank you; or, Your piece isn’t a good fit at this time. Otherwise, there's dead silence. Nothing, nada, zilch. Anything short of acceptance doesn't feel good, though a written rejection is at least an acknowledgment. But that’s the nature of the biz. Little did I suspect the amount of rejection I'd face, when I started thinking, I’ll write and get it published. Ha, famous last words! And it isn't that editors are inconsiderate individuals. They're just inundated with submissions, so they can't and won't respond in writing to every submission. And a writer gets disabused early on that an editor will provide feedback about improving something written/submitted. Regardless of the form the rejection takes, impostor syndrome, the common self-doubt enemy within many writers, lurks in the shadows. Thoughts emerge like I can't write or that piece will never be published. I’ve heard actors on TV talk shows admit to experiencing impostor syndrome. I suspect many people across a wide variety of professions experience it.
In addition to grappling with imposter syndrome, every writer needs an audience. But if a writer doesn't already have an audience, or a large enough one, say through fame, then they need to build one. And I fall into the not famous category. No ifs, ands, or buts, it then boils down to marketing. That is, putting it all out there. I need to market my brand, my message, my book, blah, blah, blah. Again, that’s the nature of the biz.
Social media is an obvious place to build an audience, though froth with competition and potential rejection. Needless to say, I think, I've encountered people on social media who are demeaning and willing to hurl vile. I suspect everyone encounters that at some point. There’s always someone ready to p*** on your ideas or feelings, or the fact that you're breathing their air. I work to avoid those people as best I can, knowing that sifting through the dirt and rubble may be required to find the empathetic, supportive souls out there who want to read my work.
Though, I don't attend a support group to deal with my writer's rejection, I have and do utilize feedback from other writers in critique groups and writer's conferences. I take those opportunities to hone my material, learn the ins and outs of writing craft and inoculate myself regarding further submission rejection. Those attending 12-Steps support group are doing much the same regarding utilizing support from like-minded individuals to hone their better selves and reduce their destructive behavior.
When I face rejection, I've learned I need to take personal responsibility for my reaction (Step 10), though I'm not perfect. I work to avoid an unhelpful trip to Rantville. I take a breath and remember that my reaction to others’ rejection of my ideas, or whatever, is my trip, all my trip, and nothing but my trip. More importantly, their reaction of me is their trip. I may want their acceptance, but I need to sleep with myself every night, and that's what really counts in the long run.
With that, I continue along my healing journey and chosen path.
Hint: look closely at the photo.
Photo Credit - gettyimages