Whether we are receiving or delivering a rejection we are dealing with human beings, treating them with compassion, politeness and respect makes it much easier for us to speak openly. And when we don’t take or make things personal and our kind with our words, people are more receptive to what we have to say.
We can’t necessarily control their reaction to our rejection but at least we can walk away with a clear conscience when we’ve taken extra care to be sensitive when delivering it.
I know personally switching from this attitude of entitlement and obligation to one of understanding and respect has significantly improved not only my dances but also my relationships off the dance floor. I’m more present now because I value other people’s time and I take responsibility for my choices.
I’m more generous, because I know that at least I will respect my boundaries and my limits. And I’m kinder because I always engage from a place of empathy.
It’s empowering to take control of your yes’s and your no’s and it’s liberating to not feel obliged when asked and to not feel like a victim of rejection. And this comfort with saying NO is fantastic but getting comfortable with saying NO is not so that we can walk out into the world rejecting new people and new experiences right left and center. It’s just to enable us to be honest about what we want and what we can give at any particular moment.
Rejection does not have to be this monster that we’re scared to confront, or scared to release; it is just an answer to a question unless we define it differently.
And compassion, empathy, resilience — these are all skills that we can develop. I’ve worked on them mainly through dance but I get plenty of opportunities in life to do that as well, and so do you.
So the next time you have to deal with rejection, don’t take it personally. Try to learn from it.
And the next time you have to deliver a rejection, be kind, respectful, empathetic and know that your honesty in that moment is not an insult. It is the greatest sign of respect that you can show to yourself and to someone else.
Now before I wrap up, I would like to share a short poem that I had written. It was at the TEDx speaker workshop we were asked to summarize the impact of our speech in a haiku and I hope that these words will have an impact on you as well.
Now we are both here, present and sincere. This is how we choose to live.
Thank you very much.