When Rejection Hurts

It’s been really rough this past month. I had a series of rejections that happened recently that were particularly hurtful and difficult to deal with. I’m having a lot of trouble getting over it, and it’s been eating away at me in a destructive manner. I feel desperate for even the smallest shred of good news right now.

In my experience, it seems that there are many different kinds of rejections.  There are the ones that I expect, (like when I apply for the Guggenheim every year) ones that I feel indifferent about, and then there are the ones that really hurt, a lot. I have a section in my book about rejection, how to deal with it, and how important it is as an artist to recognize that rejection happens to everyone. It’s killing me because I know that I should be taking my own advice in this situation, and moving on to other things, but I’m having a really hard time doing that right now. I’d like to be able to say that I’m tough enough and seasoned enough to be able to get through this, but I feel beaten down.  I’m trying to tell myself that I have bigger fish to fry (my book), but it’s meager consolation for how I feel right now.

How do you deal with rejection? What would you recommend I do?

4 thoughts on “When Rejection Hurts

  1. As you pointed out, life is not linear. Also, whether acceptance occurs or not doesn’t really decide what your works are truly worth. No one knew about van Gogh’s works until he was long dead. I think it’s important to be prepared to imagine an island around yourself and work in isolation away from all the distractions of the chaotic world.

  2. rejection does hurt. it is a little death .like any death mourn it then move on , knowing there will be flashes of pain for awhile. knowing it is not personal, knowing someone had to be rejected ,it is your turn, knowing that when you were accepted someone else was rejected does not help . rationalization does not help so just stop trying to rationalize and work through it , letting the sting slowly fade.

  3. I have two points. First: We have chosen to be artists. When I think of it as part of the path of a choice I’ve made, I must accept that choice with all its faults. It’s a very tough, biased, baffling, and quite frankly…elitist field. Why would I expect constant praise and acceptance from such a fickled field that I chose to be a part of. Second Point… For us it is as necessary to create as it is to breathe and eat. A smoggy day doesn’t stop one from breathing anymore than an unsatisfactory meal stops you from ever eating again. Unless you plan on changing your career, a rejection will not stop you from creating, will it? If you have the necessities of life and the luxury of continuing to do what you love (even if the world never sees/appreciates it) how very fortunate you are. And think of all the students you’ve given to by means of your teaching…I am sure to the majority of them you are no failure.

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