The Believe In Yourself Even When You Don’t Think You Can Challenge

10 Nov

“Don’t stop believing, hold on to that feeling.” -Journey

Sometimes in my life, I feel like I am being tested.  Because I am getting the same lesson from so many different places, at so many different times, and in so many different ways, that it is just impossible for me to ignore it.  I have to pay attention to it.  I have to (sigh) learn my lesson.

Lately, I have been getting a lot of rejection.  On several different projects and ventures.  In my writing and in my business and in my life.  I am experiencing more rejection than I normally do.  A lot more.  And, on the bright side, this is because I am putting my writing, my business, and my life out there a lot more than I usually do.  Which is, usually, not a lot.  Because I don’t like rejection.  I actually have an extremely low tolerance for it.

But let me tell you, it does not feel good.  It feels really really really bad.  Especially because, even though I know on a logical, intellectual level that these rejections are not a rejection of me, as a person, that is not at all how it feels, on an emotional, rejected level.  And, I am at the point, or somewhat past the point actually, where, in the past, I would stop.  I would retreat.  I would curl up in a ball and tend to my emotional wounds, and maybe just…forget about that project or piece of writing or business venture or part of myself.  Maybe just…conveniently let it go.  Because it hurt too much to hold on and keep trying.  Because I couldn’t take anymore rejection.  So I might just go back to not trying that hard, not believing that much, in myself or what I could do, and smoosh myself into a smaller, more mediocre version of my life, and while I was there, smooshed in a ball, maybe I would chide myself for even hoping to believe for one second that more was possible.

So.  Here I am.  At that point, or slightly past it, where things are not feeling so good.  Where people are rejecting me (oops, I mean, my writing, my ideas, etc.) on what feels like a daily basis.  Or even worse, I am putting things out into a void, pouring my heart and soul into ideas and projects and just getting…the radio silence version of rejection.

However.  I am trying to break out of old patterns and limitations.  I am achy from being smooshed in a too small, disbelieving life.  My conditioning wants me to believe the rejection.  It is so convincing, and so seductive.  I can start to hear the (brash) internal voice piping in with, “See, what’s the point?  Why would you even think that this was possible?  You should just go back to that old way you know so well… don’t you like it in that cozy little ball?  It hurts so much less there!  Come on, do it do it do it!  Give up!”

And it occurred to me one day, when I felt the rejection sweeping in at me from so many different angles I felt like I was being pulverized by it, that I am being forced to raise my game.  I am being forced to have so much more internal strength than I’ve ever had before.  I am being forced to believe in myself when I do not think I can, when I don’t feel like I have it in me anymore, when all I want to do is make it not hurt and it seems like the only way to do that is to believe the rejection and give up.  And am being forced to cultivate a belief in myself that is so strong and fiery and fierce that it can persevere even in the face of this.

That I have a choice to go back to how I’ve always been, and put those ideas and projects and parts of myself in the back of a dark drawer and “forget” about them for a few years.  But I am achy from being smooshed, and I just can’t go back to that curled up ball again.  So I have to pick what’s behind Curtain #2, which is stoking the fire of my self-belief like you cannot believe!

Like most people, I get caught up in letting my self-image be determined by what others think of me.  So when I (I mean, my writing, my ideas, etc.) get rejected, that is what I believe.  But now I am being forced to doubt that, to say and feel and mean that I do not accept that as my internal reality.  That, no matter what is going on around me and no matter how many rejections or radio silences I get and no matter how bad it feels, I am going to make the radical decision to believe in myself anyway. I am going to stretch out and feel the full length of all my limbs, reaching for new possibilities, and refusing to accept the old limitations anymore.

What happens when your self-belief gets challenged?  How much rejection can you take, and when is your breaking point to revert to old patterns?  How you can break free from your former limitations and believe in yourself no matter what?  What strategies do you have for persevering even in the face of extreme rejection and disappointment?  Do you accept the rejection, or do you accept The Believe In Yourself Even When Don’t Think You Can Challenge? And post a comment if you’d simply like to pledge your belief in yourself, no matter what! I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on overcoming rejection and believing in yourself, please share your Journey 😉

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11 Responses to “The Believe In Yourself Even When You Don’t Think You Can Challenge”

  1. @fearofwriting November 10, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    I love this post. I love that you wrote this and bared your soul. I love your honesty, that invites me into your world and gives me permission to share my fears in a safe place.

    My favorite line (of so many good ones) was: “[I’m] being forced to cultivate a belief in myself that is so strong and fiery and fierce that it can persevere even in the face of this.”

    Yes!! Let’s do it. I’ll sign up for the challenge. Because I realized, as I was reading your post, that the times I force myself to keep going despite the rejection or the radio silence . . . well, it’s not with this kind of fighting spirit. It’s just a miserable kind of forcing myself. So much better to band together as writeous chicks and raise our fists (and coffee cups) to the cause of living creatively!

    My challenge right now is for my screenplay. I finished writing my first screenplay last year. I was so excited and proud and I loved my story. But when I started delving into the fearful stuff you have to do to pitch your screenplay to Hollywood, that was when I smooshed into my own little ball and gave up. I told myself the achievement of having written a screenplay was satisfaction enough. But now an online friend has offered to show my screenplay to his producer friend. So now I have to drag my pitch and logline and synopsis and all that marketing stuff out of limbo.

    My scariest part is memorizing the pitch to sound good when I say it out loud. I’m completely not comfortable with the process, and I hated how monotone my voice sounded when I recorded it. I don’t even like the pitch I wrote. It’s so awkward. I haven’t found my groove with it whatsoever.

    But how can I let that rubbish stop me? Plenty of screenwriters have overcome these same fears to get their scripts read. It’s time to put the Nikes on and walk all over those old failure messages. And then *smoosh* ’em into a ball and toss ’em in the trash can.

  2. Gladys M. Anderson November 15, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    Your transparency is refreshing! It’s not often I see such raw emotional writing shared in such a public way. I applaud your courage!

    As difficult as it is to separate the external rejection from the internal, it’s a goal worth pursuing. When fear and that old familiar tape (“who do you think you are”, “you’re not good enough”, “you can’t”, etc.) starts playing in my head, that’s when I remind myself that old patterns and ways of being just keep me stuck. It’s then and only then that I can take on the fight with the fear and rejection. And I usually win.

  3. rjcphd November 17, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this bare, beautiful, raw post. You have serious courage so you best not be going and curling up in a ball, girl. And on top of that, you’re inspiring. I’ve been feeling so rejected lately that I stopped expressing myself and listening to my truths so much I lost my voice! (see http://bit.ly/9PUjS7) and I was just about to go curl up on the sofa and give up again and then I read your post. Thanks, miss thang! Do believe in yourself anyway. Do open yourself up to the idea that you aren’t even being forced, you’re being invited, lifted, encouraged to raise your game, turn away from rejection look at yourself and say “hello, old friend, you ROCK”.

  4. Jennifer Garam December 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    @Everyone Thank you for your lovely comments!

    @fearofwriting Hear hear to raising our coffee cups to living creatively! Best of luck with your screenplay and keep me posted! And YAY re: walking all over outmoded old failure messages with your Nikes!

    @Gladys Thank you! Awesome re: winning the fight against fear and rejection!

    @rjcphd Thank you, Miss Thang! 🙂 I am so honored that my post deterred you from curling up in that ball! And I love the idea of being invited, lifted, and encouraged. Hope your voice is back and stronger than evah!!!

  5. @fearofwriting December 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    Thanks for the support, Jen. Your replies on the blog came through just as I was pushing myself through the last round of revisions on my treatment and I loved seeing your words. It took several weeks to get ready. After my friend in the UK offered to show the treatment for my finished screenplay to his producer friend, I decided it would be wise to be prepared. So I finished and overhauled a second treatment and then wrote a third and fourth from scratch.

    It was intense work, but I want to be ready if they say “What else have you got?” Not only is that a common question to newbie screenwriters, I also have reason to believe (from their filmographies) that this group of filmmakers might not be interested in my story. But that doesn’t mean The End. Because if they like my writing style, they might still request to see my other ideas. So I decided to pull out all stops and have three other ideas to show.

    Grabbing this opportunity with both hands has been one of the ballsiest things I’ve ever done for my writing. And, in fact, the same friend offered to show my screenplay to the same producer friend about a year ago, but I chickened out. This time I didn’t let myself curl into that frightened ball. And your challenge was perfect timing!!

  6. Jennifer Garam December 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    @fearofwriting Hi Milli! Thanks so much for sharing your AMAZING accomplishments! I’m so happy that my challenged helped, and that you FOUGHT THE BALL and pulled out all the stops with your screenplay treatments! Good luck and please continue to keep me posted!

  7. @fearofwriting December 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Hi Jen, I’m revisiting this today because I’ve regressed: I’m curled in my ball, balling my eyes out. The old voices, exactly like you describe (even down to what they say), are hammering at me. You ask what strategies we have for persevering. Right now, apart from telling a close friend how I feel and rereading your awesome post, I don’t know. I’m trying to allow the emotions. But I’m confused. Even letting myself have the emotions seems self-centered and selfish. I’m trying to tell myself I’m just letting go of old wounds to get ready for 2011.

  8. Jennifer Garam December 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    @fearofwriting Hi Milli, I hope you are feeling better, allowing your emotions, and having heaps of kindness and compassion for yourself. Wishing you lots wonderfulness in the new year!

  9. googlegal May 26, 2012 at 12:51 am #

    Oh my!!! your words touched me so much tonight. I am tired of living in my bubble, tired of being afraid, tired of giving up when I fail. I have made the decision to believe in myself even when I dont believe. I am going to follow my dreams with a vengence despite failures or set backs. I am going to embrace this life and all my experiences to come. Thank you and god bless.

  10. lisa November 28, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    Me too! We need a support system! People to work with that believe in the same things! We don’t have supportive environments! People to talk to that share our beliefs and interests. To work with. We are isolated. We need coaching! We need others to believe in what were doing! We need HELP! We need to make money to make life work!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Fight The Ball! « One Writeous Chick - November 23, 2010

    […] few weeks ago, I was faced with the challenge of believing in myself even when I didn’t think I could anymore, when I was putting myself out there in what felt like every direction, and getting nothing back […]

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