There are not very many things more terrifying than imminent rejection. Whether it be something as simple as how that pair of skinny jeans will look or as imperative as the dream job you’ve been working towards. But, it’s not the rejection that’s terrifying; it’s the unknown reaction to a question that has us holding our breath and chewing our nails. It’s the millions of scenarios running through our minds, each one leading us down an even darker outcome.
In the face of uncertainty, we are all jaded creatures, concocting the worst possible scenarios in the back of our minds as we wait for the answer to our question.
“Will I get the job?”
“Will she say yes?”
“Will this dream I’ve harbored for so long finally come to fruition?”
It’s easier to handle that rejection if we’ve already heard “no” echoing in our heads. It becomes part of a script rather than an unwelcome surprise. We’ve prepared for the fallout, bunking down in cement walls, surrounded by freeze-dried meals and whispering, “I knew this would happen.” When nuclear waste riddles the optimistic on the surface, we are safe from radiation in the shelter of our cynicism.
Hidden beneath the ground, we forget the taste of strawberries and the feel of sun on our face. We forget the incredible expanse of the sky and the sound of the wind through the trees. We forget how incredible it is to feel hope sing in our chest and hear the answering refrain of “yes.”
In the end, there are worst things than survival. And, as terrifying as it can be to emerge from the earth and away from the safety of cement and cynicism, the fallout of “no” can be endured. The wasteland of rejection can be traversed.
You just have to be willing to step into the sun.