Published On: May 22, 2024By
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There was only me, alone in the center of the soccer field. My heart was in my throat and my eyes were burning trying not to cry. Seconds that seemed eternal. Why wasn’t anyone saying my name?

Damn shitty system…I hated when the gym teacher decided that the way to make teams was to choose two leaders who took turns choosing the next name until they formed complete teams when there was no one left. But I was left. 26 names later and no one had chosen me.

And they didn’t choose me, no one said my name, the teacher assigned me to the team that had the last pick.

I was panicking in my mind “no one said my name, no one said my name, no one said my name” I kept repeating silently in shock.

I needed to hear it, I wanted to matter…when someone yelling interrupted my thoughts: “Nooooo, noooot with us, noooo!”

The air seemed to freeze around me as those words pierced through my heart like a knife.

I remember it like it was yesterday, the voice of Johnathan, the team captain. Not only did they not choose me, but afterwards a fight almost broke out to see who would have to “be stuck with me.”

I think that was one of the first times I felt it: Rejection.

It was a feeling I would become all too familiar with, but in that moment, it felt like the world was crumbling around me. As I turned away, cheeks burning with humiliation, I made a silent vow to never let myself be vulnerable like that again. Little did I know, that was only the beginning.

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“We regret to inform you that…”

Those words, so simple yet so devastating, pierced through me like shards of glass, leaving behind wounds that refused to heal. The sting of rejection cut deeper this time, carving out a hollow space within me that seemed impossible to fill. Each rejection felt like a blow to the gut, a rejection not just of my work but of my very essence as a creative individual. I questioned my talent, my passion, my purpose in life. Was I destined to toil in obscurity, forever chasing validation that seemed just out of reach?

The rejection of our creativity—it’s a pain unlike any other.

Rejection cuts deep, like a betrayal of trust and loyalty and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of emptiness. I spent nights tossing and turning, replaying conversations in my mind, searching for answers to questions that seemed to have no solution. What had I done wrong? Was I not good enough? The doubts consumed me, threatening to swallow me whole.

It wasn’t just a rejection of my work; it felt like a rejection of who I was, a dismissal of the essence of my being poured onto those pages. I felt small, insignificant, as though my existence had been reduced to nothing more than a series of inadequacies laid bare for the world to see.

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“We appreciate your submission, but unfortunately, it does not meet our current needs.”

Current needs. How easily those words rolled off the tongue, as if my art was nothing more than a commodity to be assessed and discarded at whim.

“Your style doesn’t align with our vision/brand.”

My style. My voice. My very essence distilled into brushstrokes, words, melodies. And yet, it was deemed unworthy, incompatible with the narrow confines of someone else’s vision. It was as if they were rejecting not just my art but me, as if to say that who I was, what I stood for, had no place in their world.

“It’s not quite what we’re looking for at this time.”

Not quite. The words echoed in the silence of my studio, mocking me with their ambiguity. What did they want from me? How could I ever hope to meet their elusive standards when they seemed to shift like sand beneath my feet?

With each rejection, a part of me died, my spirit crushed under the weight of a world that refused to see me for who I truly was. And all of this just to tell you I have experience.

I’m an experienced rejectee or rejected or whatever. Why did it hurt so much?

I mean, I’ve been used to rejection. From “you can’t sit with us” to “It’s not you, it’s me”, let me tell you, I did hear more “No” than Amy Winehouse in her Rehab song. I was never the popular girl in the movie. And yet still after so many no’s, this one stung like a bee…

You see, when we pour our heart and soul into our art, we’re not just creating something to be consumed or admired. We’re baring our innermost thoughts, our deepest emotions, our most vulnerable selves. And when that art is met with rejection, it feels like a rejection of who we are as individuals.

It’s not just about the words on the page or the strokes of the brush; it’s about the countless hours spent honing our craft, the sacrifices made in pursuit of our passion, the dreams that hang in the balance with each submission. So when someone tells us that our work doesn’t fit their vision or their direction, it feels like a punch to the gut—a reminder that despite our best efforts, we’re still not good enough.

And it’s not just the rejection itself that hurts—it’s the doubt that creeps in afterward, the nagging voice in the back of our minds that whispers, “Maybe they’re right. Maybe I’m not cut out for this. Maybe I should just give up.” It’s a soul-crushing feeling, like the ground is crumbling beneath our feet and there’s nowhere left to turn.

There is something so vulnerable and inexplicable about creative rejection and the psychology behind it.

I see our art as therapy, as a way to heal, a mechanism to process, a deep journey full of emotion…Singers leave part of their voices in each song, writing and singing about the things that sometimes we are unable to say.

So when someone says NO, it is a no to those feelings, no to our pain, no to the hope in making it to the other side. It is almost a No to our souls to have peace.

I want to tell you that this is not a story where now I say that you just have to keep going, that whoever famous person got rejected X amount of times before getting a job and all those sentences that never worked for anybody. With each rejection came a lesson—a painful yet invaluable reminder of…Nope, I am not here to give you another lesson.

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I read a long time ago that sometimes we don’t want solutions, we just want comfort. And that is exactly what this is, a letter of validation to your feelings as a creative in this world. I am not going to say that well rejection is good because it means you’re attracting the real people and that when you lose people in your life it means you’re doing something well and blah blah blah.

That when you are fiercely putting yourself our there, you lose followers, because not many people can handle the weight of being raw and authentic. And that’s okay, because the ones who stay are your people and that little process actually helped you.

I’m not going to say that rejection is redirection. That when a door closes, maybe a window opens. I’m not going to tell you there’s plenty of fish in the sea, that it is their loss or the many other statements that you’re so sick of hearing and that, to be honest, they’re true, but not helpful.

And while this is not a solution but a comfort letter, I still want to share with you something that has helped me. No BS or rainbow advice. No pat on your back. Not the “3 tips to handle rejection as a creative” type of article.

I’m going back to words, surprising I know. But I’m a copywriter, what can I say. Do you know those exercises that therapists make you do when you have to put a name, a shape, even a colour to your anxiety? No? well…you’re lucky, or maybe not, I don’t know.

The thing is, what we are trying to do with this exercise is create a barrier between the anxiety and us, so it is an external “thing” that we can control, not part of who we are and it doesn’t define us. So when we look at it as something else, it is easier to manage by taking some perspective. This is just an example and yes, mental health is very important for me.

Leila Hormozi was talking about the importance of words and how narrative becomes your reality, which is something I say a lot. And she put this example:

So with the same philosophy, I have eased my ways with rejection. And I’ve said eased, not vanished or cancelled the effects on me and it doesn’t affect me anymore, okay?

It is a need that we are overlooking. An obvious thing that is costing us dearly: we need to separate the creator from the creation.

And this approach helps with two things: a better brand strategy and higher peace of mind. Bear with me.

I’m not my brand or my business. I am myself and I give a piece of me to this area of my life. This approach makes it way easier for personal brands or solopreneurs to define their brand archetypes, their brand voice and their strategies.

People come to me saying “how can I choose, I am so many things?” Exactly, YOU are, but your brand shouldn’t be. If you want to be memorable, recognizable and easily identifiable you have to choose a defined and clear brand personality. This is a whole different topic, I know, but here’s how it starts, because once I am my own personality and my brand is a similar thing but not entirely myself, I can start putting distance and with that comes relief. Relief that my brand doesn’t have to be all that I am and vice versa. And relief when it comes to the following scenario:

“You are not a failure.”

Your business failed. And not even, this particular project, this particular campaign failed in this very moment and circumstances. You did not. You are still an excellent human being, an excellent partner, daughter, friend, fur mom… You are you. And whatever “failed” could also be temporary, because the same project in the future might thrive.

So this has been my approach to deal with rejection. Nothing magical. But the simplest things are sometimes the hardest to achieve. You are not your business. You are not your creations. And I say this after pouring my soul in these lines. And if you don’t like them I am going to cry.

Jokes aside, easier said than done.

But even though it feels like an extension of ourselves, something poured out of our hearts and essence… we are even MORE. More than that and more than what that could mean for others.

Art is relative. So is love. Both are beautiful, so are you.


With Love,

Patricia Gómez