Stephen Mosher On Rejection
So everyone gets rejected. It hurts. You learn to deal with it. You learn to let go of it. I have been rejected for dates. I have been rejected upon arrival for casual hook ups. I have been rejected for celebrity portraits. I have been rejected for friendship. I have been rejected for publication. I have been rejected for jobs.
You learn to not take it personally. You let it go. You move on.
The hardest one to take?
Loved ones who went to someone else for their photos. The feeling is so particular. It is so wretched. You log on to your social media and see that a loved one has had new photos done. And they didn’t pick you. To add insult to serious injury, they are a longtime client. Or worse, they are someone you have been anxious to photograph, so much so that you have asked, repeatedly , if they will sit for you. For free. And they always have an excuse why not. They need to lose ten pounds. They need to do something about their teeth. They don’t like their haircut. They aren’t looking rested enough. It’s always something. Then you log on to social media and there they are, looking resplendent in a photo made by someone that isn’t you.
For YEARS I let this get to me. For years I let it drive me into states of depression. For years I let it drive me to drink. For years I let it make me cry.
Then one day I learned a very valuable lesson: how to not take things personally. In relatively rapid order I became abnormally brilliant at it. In life I was able to not get hurt, simply because I didn’t take it personally. In a serious and heartfelt conversation my husband said something to me and then told me he was afraid to say it, lest I get my feelings hurt. I told him no, I wasn’t hurt because I didn’t take it personally; though, looking at it scientifically, the sentence appeared to be designed to inflict pain. It did not. Then came the acid test.
A close friend asked me to help him pick his new headshot from the photo shoot he had just done. When I first learned of the headshot sitting I wanted to drink. When he asked me for this favor a month later, I said yes of course. Because, in the interim, I had learned.
How to not take things personally.
You cannot imagine the pain, over the years, of having your loved ones go to someone else for their photos. Imagine your close friend directing a play and not hiring you. Imagine your close friend needing their car detailed and going to someone else. Imagine your close friend needing a birthday cake and going to Magnolia. Imagine your close friend needing someone to cater their wedding and not booking your company. Imagine your close friend catering a wedding and not hiring you to work it. Imagine… the list goes on and can be as specific as your frame of reference. We all have something to offer and when a close friend goes to someone else, rather than offering you their spiritual and financial support, it burns. It can’t help.
But not for me. Not anymore.
This thing, this not taking things personally, it’s one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. It means I have grown, evolved, become strong, developed fortitude. It has freed me from the potential pain to be inflicted upon a heart that is finally recovering from past. All of the hurt, past and future, has vanished into ether. At long last. All from this one little lesson that I waited all my life to learn. And now that I have learned it, the biggest reward, the greatest payoff.
Nobody makes me cry.