When life gives you lemons

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I spoke to several people and asked what they thought of when I said the word “rejection” to them. Every single person said that they thought of being rejected in love. They also said that they would prefer to be rejected from a job than be rejected in love.

When we go to an interview, despite hoping that we will succeed, it seems we subconsciously prepare for failure, to attempt to soften the disappointment if it happens. So why is it we prepare ourselves for failure here, but not in love?

Photo by Tony Sak

It takes someone having their heart completely broken for them to realise that things don’t always work out, and this often leads to them becoming extra-cautious or completely guarded. And so are born the cynics of the world of love, the ones who won’t let themselves get too attached to protect themselves. Is it healthy to live life as a pessimist, as a ‘glass half empty’ person? How do we learn to deal with rejection so that every time it happens – and let’s face it, it’s fairly common – we don’t break down into a pit of depression?

The less useful but inevitable short term solutions range from alcohol, to “get under someone else,” to this very jar of chocolate spread in front of me. But perhaps some more reliable and long-term solutions would be helpful.

“Keep calm and carry on.” Not since the war have these words been so appropriate and when dealing with rejection, it may be useful to keep a poster of this around to remind you. Don’t give up, keep going.

Laughter and talking is the best medicine. Talk to someone – your mum, your friends, anyone you feel comfortable confiding in. Ramble on about how stupid the questions in the interview were, or how could you possibly be expected to concentrate looking at someone with that hair, or how he or she doesn’t know what they’re missing and when they see you in that new dress, they soon will! Talk about anything that will make you feel better and your family or friends will probably think it’s true anyway.

It’s easy to take rejection personally, especially in love. But it’s important to remember that if you’re not right for them, they’re not right for you. Perhaps it is not a case of thinking about what has passed you by, but rather looking to what door has now opened.

I was told a story by a friend that may help. A woman went for an interview for a job she really wanted and was perfect for. She had practiced for the interview for weeks and was feeling confident. When it came to the interview, she flopped. Whether it was nerves that took over or something else, she couldn’t remember a word she wanted to say and messed up all her answers. Unsurprisingly to herself, she didn’t get the job and was gutted. However, she had always been passionate about cooking and now she owns a very successful food business. Thanks to messing up that one interview, she now works everyday doing something she loves. What if she had got that other job? Would she be as happy?

So the moral here is, in the words of Marilyn Monroe, “sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together.” And maybe that’s something we should all hold onto.

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