The Unique Empowerment of Rejection

This year, I experienced Failure. Well, I probably failed at many things this year, but I am going to focus on one particular instance here. I applied to graduate school after years of carefully building my resume, studying for the GMAT, and pouring over application essays…and I didn’t get in.

When I headed into the application process, I knew this was a possibility. I was applying to some pretty competitive programs, and when people asked where I was looking, they’d raise their eyebrows upon hearing the list as if to say “you think you’re going to get in there?” Or maybe I was just projecting my own insecurities. Regardless, I started to set myself and others up for such an outcome. “I probably won’t get in, but I might as well throw my hat in the ring,” I’d say casually. But deep down, I hoped I would be accepted to prove to all those eyebrow-raisers — and to myself — that I was, in fact, good enough.

And then it happened. My biggest fear throughout this years-long process came true. I’ve had to utter those words over and over again throughout the last few months, and as it turns out, it hasn’t been that bad. After letting the initial sting of rejection sink in and settle, I realized that I am still the smart, capable woman I was a few months ago, and all the people in my life who have asked about the outcome think so too. What’s more, they genuinely care about me and want what’s best for me. I am good enough.

Now that I’ve come through this failure with my self-worth and confidence intact (after some healing, of course; I am human, after all), I feel free. I’ve experienced Failure and lived to tell about it, so maybe Failure isn’t so scary after all. Maybe the more I practice Failure, the easier it will get. The less I fear Failure, the more confidently and whole-heartedly I will pursue my goals. And the more confidence and ownership I have over my goals, the more likely I am to succeed.

This blog is one such experiment. When I first thought it up, I decided I wouldn’t tell anybody I knew about it. What if people disagree with me? What if nobody reads it at all? Or what if I simply run out of things to say? But I’ve learned an important lesson about unapologetically owning my aspirations, ideas, and opinions. So fuck it. Here goes!

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