In high school my go-to chocolate bar was Twix. I never grew tired of the chocolate-caramel-cookie combo, but my love stretched far beyond the superficial. It was more about the challenge. How much chocolate and caramel could I scrape off the cookie using only my bottom teeth? On a great day–all of it. Medium day–a few caramel smears. Bad day–chocolate skid marks.
This is how I stayed occupied while my mom ran boring errands. Now it’s a metaphor for how I process rejection.
Rejection comes in many forms. A broken heart, not making the team, not being invited, not getting that scholarship, not getting into your dream college, not getting the job, not getting that book deal, not getting in the club, losing the starring role, waking up to the word REJECT written across your forehead…
Rejection is gutting. It makes us feel inadequate. But that feeling will fade faster than Sharpie ink if you give them the Lisi Harrison Twix Treatment.
TWIX TREATMENT: CODE
Chocolate = Your own damn fault.
Caramel = Ego.
Cookie = The bottom line.
I have Selena and Justin’s break-up on the brain so let’s start with getting the ol’ heart broken.
1. The first layer you need to scrape away is the chocolate. So ask yourself: How much of this break up is my own damn fault? Try to come up with at least three honest answers. Were you clingy? Jealous? Critical? Flirty with others? Bossy? Obsessed? Distant? Mean? Sneaky? Snoopy? Knowing I had something to do with my rejection makes me feel better. Not only do I learn from my mistakes, but I don’t feel like the victim of a random act of violence.
If you got fired ask yourself: Did you give it your best shot? Were you always on time? Did you get along with your co-workers? Were you trying to improve or did you get lazy?
More often than not we play a part in our own rejections. Yes, sometimes bad things happen for no reason. I’ll get to that in a minute. For now keep scraping…
2. Time for the caramel layer–our egos. Hidden just below the surface our egos have a sneaky way of taking over. Their job is to make us think we–and our current problems–are the only things that matter. And they are wrong. We must scrape them away by asking ourselves: how much of my sadness is related to the actual issue and how much is related to not wanting to be rejected?
Do I really think this person is the best partner for me? Did we really have fun when we hung out together? Did they make me feel comfortable and at ease or was I always trying to impress them? Did they make me a better version of me or did they reduce me to an insecure mess? Am I upset because I will miss him or because he chose someone else and now I feel like a hideous loser?
Now work. Was this job really making me happy? Am I bummed because I was rejected or because I won’t get to do ____ for 40 hours a week? Am I upset because I am ashamed of being fired or because no one loved that job more than I did?
Any time I can admit my sadness is a result of a bruised ego v.s. losing something I truly loved, I heal faster.
3. The cookie is the bottom line. It’s bare and hard. It’s truth. It’s the part of rejection that is real. The part that says, I know you gave it your all, but someone else was better. Sh!% happens. We can’t rationalize it. All we can do is swallow it.
* Make a list of five good things that will come of this rejection. Then start referring to it as an opportunity.
*Oprah magazine once published an article about making tough decisions and getting over loss. The trick is to ask yourself how this will impact you ten minutes from now. Then ten days from now. Then ten months. Then ten years. It really helps put things into perspective.
*Binge on Twix bars until you get so sick you forget about your sadness.
I hope this helps. Next week I will be answering ten questions you asked me in the comments section. Try to make them interesting. Nothing about the Clique movie. There’s only one. It’s a bummer, I know. Talk about rejection.
“Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama