it's been a year since cole's rejection letter arrived in our mailbox. and as many of you wisely predicted, all is well. you are so smart. not sure why i feel compelled to tell the world every time i make a huge mistake.
not sure why i can't keep my mouth shut.
maybe because people tell me "you make it look so easy" and that makes me crazy.
life is easy for noone. mastering the convoluted arts of love and life is the hardest thing we people do. we look at people who have what we want and we think "must be nice." we all do that. me too. we assume others have it easier. and yeah, sometimes they do. but most of the time, they don't. so i tell my stories. my mistakes. my failures. writing a whole book about them, actually. because i believe that knowing we are not alone, knowing that we are all the same, brings hope.
the words of brené brown bring me hope...
our lives are a collection of stories.
truths about who we are,
what we believe,
what we come from,
how we struggle and how we are strong.
when we can let go of what people think and own our story
we gain access to our worthiness,
the feeling that we are enough
just as we are
and that we are worthy of love and belonging.
coming out from under the covers and telling people the truth has taught me that i am not alone. and it's that time of year again. some of you are celebrating on social media and some of you are hiding under the covers. but really, we are all the same.
maybe your kid gets into the college, goes to the prom, wins the award at graduation, and all of the things, but you know things are not as perfect as they look on facebook. maybe you don't know what it feels like to get a rejection letter on a sunny tuesday, but we all know what if feels like to desperately want something with all of our heart, and not get it. we have all been rejected at some point in our lives. that makes us the same. brothers and sisters. in this together. equally worthy of love and belonging.
one year after the biggest rejection of his life,
cole is a divemaster, a sailor, and a college student.
rejection taught him...
you do not have to follow some preordained path to success.
he got out from under everything he knew.
he gained confidence in his own abilities.
he decided to passionately pursue an awesome life.
never underestimate your ability to change everything.
decide to turn the worst thing into the best thing that ever happened to you.
you get to choose...
cole settled nicely into his second choice school for spring semester...
but his heart remains and will return here...
there is no way around it...
rejection sucks. it aches and twists your heart all up. it makes you long for what you cannot have and play “what if...” games in your head. we think of all the things we could have done differently. said differently...
and all the ways we could have forced an outcome in our favor. we obsess over "if only..."
but once the ache subsides, and it will. sometimes it will take a long time, but ache subsides. hurt and embarrassment fade. hearts heal. once they do… it’s that whole one door closed but other doors open thing. sometimes we focus so hard on what we don't have that we can't see what we do have.
why do we do this?
do we think in black and white?
do we believe there is one right way?
do we feel safe and secure with the status quo?
do we value safety more than comfort, and comfort more than courage?
tim and i did and we have spent our lives striving to invert that hierarchy.
when things are not "the way it should be" it feels like failure.
we feel like we lost at life.
what if “the way it should be” is way bigger than we imagined?
when you get rejected...
when she leaves you
when you don't get into college
when he chooses somebody else
when you don't make the team
when she breaks your heart
when you don't get the job
when he posts photos of his new life
when you don't get invited
when they say "no... not you... i don't want you"...
let the pain come. let it all fall down. don't fight it.
but then. when you are ready. let the pain go. make a new life.
fight for your freedom to be whatever you choose.
rejection forces us to open our minds to possibility. we don’t get awesome by having an easy life and having everything go our way. it's the hard parts that make us better than we ever imagined we could be. society tells us that rejection is a finish line. society lies. the most interesting people we know had a hard time getting where they are. their stories are full of struggle. easy is boring. when you get rejected, and you will, refuse to be defined by what you do not have. refuse to feel unworthy, inferior, or incompetent.
we only become strong after we are weak.
we only become fearless after we are afraid.
we only become wise after we are foolish.
remember the words of aristotle,
everybody is a genius.
but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
and howard thurman,
don't ask what the world needs.
ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.
what if this is not the end?
what if this is the beginning of a better story?
what if this is the starting line, not the finish line?
what if this is the best thing that never happened to you?
because, here's the thing. there are...
soooo many ways to live.
soooo many paths to choose.
soooo many rivers, but they all reach the sea.
get out from under everything you know and begin again.
christina and tim