The Injury of Rejection


When injured or physically distressed, the body activates a specific part of the brain. I recently read that when rejected, dismissed or refused, exactly the same area is triggered, according to tech-giants Ted.

If our bodies interpret failure and physical suffering in the same way, it’s little wonder that rejection can bruise you more than anything.

Sometimes, you’ll be thrown straight into the flames and fail- unexpectedly. You’ve worked ceaselessly, yet what you desire slips right between your fingers. It brings feelings of self-loathe, frustration and grievance- a broken dream, a failed plan. Regardless of what you deserve, you’re owed nothing and are left empty.

Dance is often characterised by its intensely competitive nature; demanding far more than just physical exhaustion. With auditions holding more power than anything else in a performer’s career, they can be the culprit of intense emotional pain.

Often dancers will spend months preparing and developing themselves for a certain audition, only to be torn down and catapulted into uncertainty. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by feelings of failure and self-deprecation, which often resonate like a physical pain.

But, truthfully, ‘failing’ can be much more beneficial than being successful. Rejection reveals so much about one’s self, opening up new opportunities for development and contentment.

Perhaps you haven’t gained a spot on the training course of your dreams, or have failed in successfully landing a new job. Instantly, your pre-carved path is cut apart and your hopes for the future fall to the floor. When long-term plans fail to take-off, you’re forced into thinking creatively and tactically- searching for options- considering what it really is that you want.

When I didn’t gain a place at an institute that I’d aspired to attend since being a little girl, I felt broken, utterly confused about where to tread next. Yet when you’re exposed to such raw uncertainty, coupled with deflation, you begin to understand what you really desire- eventually beginning to sculpt a path in a new direction.

I’m a massive believer that when one opportunity shuts itself off, an abundance of new ones are on their way. Often, they can be options that you wouldn’t even have thought about, or ever considered, if you hadn’t been thrown down. Human minds have such a wonderful ability of growing and spiralling ideas before hitting the jackpot.

If you’re feeling flattened, know that it’s okay- take time to explore that emotion, before rooting around to discover what’s on its way next.

Your best opportunity simply hasn’t arrived yet. 


‘Why rejection hurts so much — and what to do about it’

Guy Winch

Dec 8, 2015

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