A seemingly unfortunate series of events last week led me to discover a pretty significant character flaw… I deal with rejection terribly. I’m not referring to a boy turning me down for a date to the sock-hop (which will only lead to listening to a heroic compilation of feminist power ballads and Celine Dion, followed by maybe a few rounds of pouting… after which the recovery is seamless), but rather the fresh puncture of professional rejection.
Somehow, being snubbed by industry professionals in any capacity seems to affect me anywhere on the scale of reducing me to a puddling mess, to my hiding under my bed covers for hours, whilst undergoing a “self-evaluation”, until I eventually fall asleep. I could justify the development of this mindset with a lot of different factors… my obsessive need to be above average at everything I do, being driven by South-East-Asian parents to constantly be at the top of my game and achieve greatness, an unnatural need to parallel my life to fictional characters like Rory Gilmore, reading too much chick-lit in my teenage days that dealt with overachievers’ woes. My mother’s reasoning for this kind of behaviour is always, “you haven’t been eating well, that always throws off your moods”. But then again, her reasoning for headaches, nausea, muscle pain (and probably cancer) is that I “haven’t been eating well”. Sometimes I wonder if she’d have had more peace of mind with an overweight daughter instead.
But I digress. Upon realising what an unhealthy habit I seem to have nurtured over the years, I decided it was time to break this chain of self-deprecation, link by link. I found the deck of self-affirmation cards I made a few years ago and picked one out at random. “You are a rich treasure, just waiting to be found”, it told me. Right you are little card, I thought to myself, picturing a pretty fierce fist-pump (whilst a voice of self-doubt whispered, “treasures don’t need gold miners or Ali Baba to find them anymore, not to mention that everyone’s a regular Columbus these days, so why haven’t you been discovered yet?”). The trouble is, I equate these rejections with a capital F for Failure. “We regret to inform you that your application has been unsuccessful this time” reads as, “The blood, sweat and tears you put into this application are not nearly enough, you totally snafued this one”. The attitude adjustment needed here is pretty obvious. I should accept the whims of the universe for what they are and convince myself that the rejections are making me stronger, and propelling me to work harder to achieve greatness. I’ve taken the first round of baby steps, admitting the error of my ways and committing to change. But the sad reality is, it’s easier to turn to pizza and chocolate for consolation than to implement a complete attitude change. Maybe my mum’s on to something after all….