Live-Blogging a Rejection

“Having a dream, Erin, is awesome.

Having a dream and showing up every day, even when nothing seems to be happening, is priceless.

But having a dream and showing up every day, while sauntering, winking, and hugging everyone, is when the floodgates begin to tremble.

Hugs,
The Universe” –Notes from the Universe

Whoop. You’ve caught me at a bad time.

There was a role that I desperately wanted to play, and it doesn’t look like it’s coming my way. Usually you just don’t hear back, or you get a rejection email. But as fate would have it, I was privy to the knowledge that the calls were being made. I’m feeling nauseous and still staring at my phone willing it to ring. With every minute that passes I can feel the cloud descending. Troubling thoughts are racing through my head. “If I can’t get a part I thought I was perfect for, how the hell am I going to get any roles at all?/I should just give up and try to marry a rich dude/I am mad at myself for getting my hopes up so high.” Luckily, I have the power to change the story I am telling myself.

I learned a few years ago that it is within my power to assign meaning to the events of my life. My happenings don’t have to affect my happiness. When I am feeling anxious or upset I can choose to channel negative energy into positive creation. This applies to a wide range  of events, from a simple rejection letter to a national crisis. For instance, when I learned about the shooting in Colorado last summer, I was heartbroken. I was working at a small summer stock theatre, and I felt like the safe little bubble I had been living in was popped. A cloud of sadness consumed me, making it almost impossible to concentrate during work. How did I make the cloud go away?

I wrote letters. I wrote little cards to people I missed from home. My best friends, my sisters, my parents, even some acquaintances I just admire.  I thought about all the things I loved about them, wrote it in a card, and let them know how much I missed them and I couldn’t wait to see them again. Thinking about all those people I love lifted the cloud. I am not sharing this to say “look how nice I am because I wrote cards”. It was a completely selfish act. I did it because it made me feel better.

So here I am staring at this phone, willing it to ring but feeling in my gut it’s not going to happen. I choose to focus my energy on something positive. I’ve writing a gratitude list. A list of all the things I am happy for RIGHT NOW. Obviously I am grateful for my family, friends, and their health. But talking about specifics can be a cathartic exercise that brings you down from a ledge.

  • I don’t have to move in the near future.
  • I am a healthy young woman with the freedom to express myself in whatever way I choose.
  • The Hawks are in the finals.
  • I am learning a valuable lesson about humility, optimism, and faith.
  • Right now its just me. No husband, no children, no one to answer to but my own conscience, and I like it that way. For now.
  • Its summer and I can wear sundresses.
  • I get to spend most days caring for wonderful children I love, and introducing them to the world.
  • I can play my ukulele ANY TIME I WANT.
  • I am going to a dance party on Saturday night, and I plan on wearing a fabulous dress, and dancing my face off.
  • In myself, I have the agency to create my own destiny. Perhaps this setback is a catalyst into something better. A push that will help me create my own opportunity rather than waiting to be chosen by someone else.
  • There is chocolate ice cream in the freezer.
  • Someone invented sunscreen, and therefore I can enjoy being outside as much as I like.
  • I live in ‘Merica!
  • As soon as Will wakes up from his nap, we are going to bring the bubble-gun down to the lake and go crazy.
  • There are always more shows. More auditions. More opportunities. Not getting this role doesn’t mean I can never do theatre again. The next show could be just around the corner.
  • I am lucky enough to have a wide circle of friends; College friends, high school friends, theatre friends, random people I’ve met in the last two years who I have become amazingly close to. There is never a shortage of entertainment or love, so who am I to feel bad for myself ever?
In every great setback in my life, I’ve always looked back later and thought “Thank goodness. If things had worked out the way I originally wanted, I would have missed out on so much.” So I choose to be miracle minded. I choose to believe that there is something else I am supposed to be doing, and its my job to find it/create it.
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Rejection is Protection

Consider this: Rejection is Protection.

This is a concept that I already knew, but I like the catchy way theDailyLove.com summed it up last week. This concept can be a lifeline when you start to feel like a big failure. It allows you to take a step back, examine each rejection and trust that something better is going to come along.

If I got what I wanted all the time, my life would be pretty ridiculous. I would probably live on a steady diet of ice cream and chocolate strawberries, over commit to tons of shows and classes, and have won the lottery ten times over. Thankfully, I understand that what I WANT is not always what is BEST for me. So why can’t we trust that the Uni-verse knows this too? Trust that the Uni-verse has our back, and we will get WHAT is best for us WHEN it’s best for us?

Here is a personal example: When I was in High School, I desperately wanted to study Musical Theatre at Millikin University.  After my audition, my mom and I were ushered into a little office where one of the professors informed me that I was being considered for the BFA acting program, but not musical theatre. I was crushed, and I remember my Mom telling me that “God had different plans for me.” At the time I couldn’t imagine what could possibly be better for me than Millikin’s BFA program.  

I ended up getting accepted to WIU’s program. This was a better fit for me educationally, culturally and geographically. I was at a program that allowed me to thrive and grow in my own way and at my own pace, and I was with my big sister Leenie in a time when family was especially important.  If I hadn’t gone to Western, I never would have gotten involved with the Miss America organization, which completely changed my life for the better. I would have never met the boys I fell in love with, or the teachers who inspired me. I wouldn’t have learned the lessons that have come to define my character. Millikin is a great program that produces amazing performers, but I know now why I was supposed to go to Western. Rejection from that school was just the Uni-verse ensuring that I was in the right place at the right time.

This phrase is so useful. Every time I don’t get a call back, or a guy I like isn’t interested in me, or my lottery numbers are wrong again, I can repeat that phrase and trust that everything is unfolding exactly as it is suppose to. I’m not losing out on something; I am simply remaining open to better opportunities. So next time you start to feel down because you’ve been rejected in some way, take a deep breath and repeat “Rejection is Protection”.