A sense of rejection is probably something that we can all relate to and remember feeling at some point in our lives, however uncomfortable this might be to do. Some rejections might feel like a shrug of frustration and an irritating bad mood, whilst others might tug a deep hole right to the core of our gut and leave us feeling utterly broken. There are more options of course, and thousands of nuances in between, but how often can we look at rejection with a sense of fondness and gratitude? This may take some time and distance from the event itself - in my case it usually does - but the comfort and freedom possible may well be worth the wait.
I'm going to suggest a journaling prompt where we can explore 'the best times that it all went terribly wrong'. Immediately I can picture several break-ups and job endings that I am so glad to be free of, but that I would never have chosen to 'reject' myself from at the time.
Now they feel more like an 'eject' - like from the seat of a plane that throws everything up to stop us from plummeting further!
Not all rejections and losses need to be so dramatic, but some could be quite big and perhaps feel life-changing. Let's have a go at writing about them to see what they actually meant for us...
This might be painful, it might be sticky, or it might be hilarious with the gift of hindsight. I wonder if you've ever written about a 'failure' in this way before? Often we write about difficult things as we're in the thick of them them, but this is a chance to look back in reflection or review. Think of it as an opportunity to actively reframe something that went 'wrong'.
(An extra note: The idea of a 'reframe' can sound clunky and clinical sometimes, but it is a useful concept to play with. I don't think it's helpful to force a different mood or feeling onto an experience we're, but there are times when we can choose a different perspective without too much resistance. Have a go with this exercise, and perhaps choose something that feels less tender to begin with. I hope it feels refreshing and quite cathartic to become a more intentional author in one of your stories.)
Once you have an experience in mind, start to work through these steps:
1. Write about how things were before your '(r)ejection'.
2. Explain how you felt when you first experienced the 'failure' or sense of loss. What did it mean for you? What were the practical implications? How did it feel in your heart or gut?
3. Where do you think you would be now if you hadn't had the rejection? You could write a 'best case scenario' and a 'worst case scenario' if you like. These will all be speculative fiction.
4. Can you write a letter of thanks to the person or situation who rejected you? If not, maybe you can write them a letter telling them how you still feel. (I don't recommend actually sending either of these!)
5. Make a list of five insights that you have gained from the experience.
6. Create a one sentence affirmation suggesting that all things will happen as they are supposed to, and that rejection is a type of redirection.
You could revisit this over a couple of days and let the ideas percolate in between. Be gentle with yourselves, and try to notice whether you are writing with a clear head and distanced perspective, or if you might be getting sucked into reactive emotions. This in itself is useful noticing.