Throughout history and in more modern history, there is a lesson of rising above rejection. Let’s look at the meaning of rejection and how it affects our lives.
Rejection: The noun rejection can refer to the actual act of rejecting something or to the feeling one has after being rejected. In other words, you might have feelings of rejection after experiencing the rejection of others.
When we are finding love in our lives, we may have experienced rejection when someone turned us down for a date…or even a marriage proposal. Rejection is also felt when a person may ask for a divorce. It could even mean when family members decide not to be part of the family unit. These are all hard experiences. Many people experience; feel terrible about it and then decide that life must go on and rise above it.
In history, we read about the lives of very famous people who have experienced rejection in the public arena and made amazing comebacks. Here are a few to consider:
Abraham Lincoln is one of our most famous Presidents. His heart-aches, illnesses, and rejections should encourage anyone to keep trying. This list is long, but worth reading:
- 1832 Lost job Elected company captain of Illinois militia in Black Hawk War
- 1833 Failed in business
- 1834 Elected to Illinois State Legislature
- 1835 Sweetheart died
- 1836 Had a nervous breakdown
- 1842 A jealous man challenged him to a duel. Abraham Lincoln traveled to Alton to meet James Shields in a duel. Friends of both opponents negotiated a truce, and the duel was averted.
- Reelected to Illinois Legislature and received license to practice law
- 1837 Led Whig delegation in moving Illinois state capital from Vandalia to Springfield. He became law partner of John T. Stuart
- 1838 Defeated for Speaker, but was nominated for Illinois House Speaker by Whig caucus Re-elected to Illinois House (running first in his district)
Served as Whig floor leader
- 1839 Chosen presidential elector by first Whig convention and admitted to practice law in U.S. Circuit Court
- 1840 Argues first case before Illinois Supreme Court
Re-elected to Illinois state legislature
- 1842 Admitted to practice law in U.S. District Court
- 1843 Defeated for nomination for Congress
- 1844 Established own law practice with William H. Herndon as junior partner
- 1846 Elected to Congress
- 1848 Lost nomination (Chose not to run for Congress, abiding by rule of rotation among Whigs.)
- 1849 Rejected for Land Officer Admitted to practice law in U.S. Supreme Court
Declined appointment as secretary and then as governor of Oregon Territory
- 1854 Defeated for U.S. Senate
- 1856 Defeated for nomination for Vice President
- 1858 Again defeated for U.S. Senate
- 1860 ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A few other modern-day Presidents had their setbacks before winning the Presidency.
Former California Gov. Ronald Reagan ran for the 1976 Republican presidential nomination. Incumbent President Gerald Ford beat him in the crucial New Hampshire and Florida primaries. Though Reagan was able to win some of the later contests that year, Ford edged him out at the convention.
In his first race for office, Bill Clinton narrowly lost to incumbent Republican House member John Paul Hammerschmidt of Arkansas. He later became attorney general and then governor. But he lost his first gubernatorial reelection race in 1980.
George W. Bush also entered political life by challenging an incumbent House member. In 1978, he ran against Texas Democrat Kent Hance, who mocked the Yale graduate as a clueless preppy from Connecticut. Hance won.
Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library
- Barack Obama ran in an Illinois Democratic primary against Representative Bobby Rush. Like George W. Bush, he found that an Ivy League education was not necessarily an advantage. Representative Rush exploited Obama’s Harvard law degree to suggest that he was out of touch with the district. Rush smashed him by a two-to-one margin.
To all aspiring writers, take hope from some of the best and most successful.
Rejection Letters from publishers:
JK Rowlings got 12 rejections before making a billion dollars on Harry Potter.
Dr. Seuss’s rejection said “Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”
William Golding wrote The Lord of the Flies, selling 15 million copies. His rejection letter said, “An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull”
As all can see, perseverance is always the best policy if we believe we have something to give to this world. I write because I enjoy it and it’s challenging. I may never have a great book published that the world will remember or make a fortune. That is not my goal, but joy in what I do is worth all the effort. In fact, my mind is completely absorbed, when I am writing, from the disappointments that could bring me down.
Rising above your rejections, whatever they may be, will bring renewed life and hope into your world. Never give up!