Rejection can be a beautiful thing.

I’m not a sentimental person. I don’t keep a lot of stuff, partly because I move frequently and mostly because I’m already a sensitive person and I don’t need that kind of filler in my life. So it is a small miracle that I have a folder filled with things that I wrote from when I was in high school.

I wasn’t exactly what you’d call popular with the boys but that didn’t stop me from asking them out. Unfortunately that didn’t stop them from saying, No, either. And even though I appeared supremely confident, these Nos were body blows to my teeny weenie self esteem.

So I started a list. On the left side of the paper was “what went wrong” (for example, rejected after asking Brian to the sophomore prom), and on the right side I wrote what I had “learned from the experience”.

And after I had filled the page with wrongs and rights, I saw my list as a list of accomplishments, strangely enough. I was putting myself out there like a dangling participle, mercifully. My list was a story in itself. It also helped that school counselor, Mr. Kelly, told me that high school boys were stupid.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Anyway, all this rejection made me appreciate my risk taking ways. I’m an Asian American teaching English in Thailand (white isn’t the only color of English), and I’m sharing this because when I told my friend I was going to meet another AA living in Thailand who I just met through her blog, he said, “Really?” as in, Lani, I can’t believe you asked a complete stranger out.

Yeah. But! I like meeting friends this way. For some odd ball reason, I’m very good at walking up to complete strangers and talking to them (Oh, honey, the stories I could tell you). It’s just in this case, I see she is living in the same town as me and why not? I like getting to know people.

I’ve met several folks through blogging and it’s been spectacular. I even had one couple give me a pair of gorgeous earrings from the States after they flew to Thailand. (They found my blog and we met.) Overall my meetings have gone on to lovely friendships but they don’t always work this way.

In fact, I was beating myself up (not literally, internally) over why I couldn’t deal with the fact that a couple of relationships had gone belly up. Why didn’t they understand me? Why did I hang on? Why did I allow myself to get hurt?

But once I realized I needed to accept that I cannot change the way I am perceived (I’ve tried that before with my Waldorf job, and it doesn’t work), I started to feel better and let my fears and failures – go.

I also realized I bought into this perception of scarcity. As in, I’m an expat in Thailand and there are a limited amount of expats, and therefore a limited amount of special close friends. Okay, I didn’t think those exact words, but I felt that way when I was hurt/worried/confused as to why folks weren’t treating me the way I wanted to be treated.

I thought, who else is going to like me?! Why don’t you like me? What did I do wrong? Why don’t you get me? >>>Now, isn’t this horribly stupid? So I’m thinking rejection is this idea of scarcity. If you fire me, if you don’t give me this job, if you say NO to my proposal then others will say NO too. If you don’t like me, who will?

What’s interesting is, whenever I was nursing a broken heart during those tender teenage/20-something years, my mom always told me, “There is plenty of fish in the sea”. But as I got older, I have stopped believing in the abundance of good decent fishes. Again, I bought into this belief of scarcity.

Rejection has been explained as one door closing and waiting for another one to open, but I’m thinking we need to tweak the metaphor, one that doesn’t feel like the door has been slammed inches from your face.

Rejection is being shown the door (thank you, quit pushin’) and realizing there are lots of other doors to explore (hey!).

The fire exit (or exil) is here for your safety.

6 replies on “What is rejection?

  1. You’re a wise one, Lani V. Cox! The more I get to know you, the more I love you! I hope and pray–with all my might–that we get to meet in person someday. 🙂


    1. Thanks Wendy. I hope we have that opportunity too, under happy and healthy circumstances.

      Until then, hugs!


  2. This is so awesome, Lani! What a completely relatable post.
    Now, at the age of 30, and many (MANY) insecurities of rejection behind me (for the most part..;)) I can say that in those moments of feeling as though the world wasn’t giving me what I needed, the answer was always to give it to myself. Not to go completely cheezy, but seriously, take the rejections as a gift that will allow your own connection with yourself to blossom. The minute I did this, and believe me it took trial and error, it changed my entire life. The minute I gave what I was looking for to myself, I understood that it was impossible for anyone other than myself to give it in the first place!
    You’re an exceptionally open person, I am too, people like us get hella hurt when those doors close. We take it personally, like it’s because of who we are, which must mean who we are isn’t good enough. Not the case, everyone’s dealing with their own shit. Sometimes we, extremely open human beings, can scare the shit out of others, and we need to be okay with that!
    Embrace, embrace, embrace yourself and then embrace it more…you don’t need others to shine your beautiful self in to the world.
    (Again, I’m speaking from incredibly personal experience <- professional disclaimer :))


    1. Awww, thanks Andrea. It’s weird to hear that I am an open person. I know that I am but experience has taught me that – that quality doesn’t always serve me well. But! I hope I have learned to trust my intuition better in the process.

      Being open means being vulnerable and now that I understand myself better I know that is a good thing, although not always an easy thing to bear.

      Thank you!


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