Not everyone will like you, but not everyone has to.
You work hard, you do the right thing, and the inevitable happens. Someone comes along and begins to give you a backhanded compliment, or if you have the misfortune, a backhanded comment. You are left with a bad taste in your mouth and your day starts to turn sour. When people belittle you and your efforts, here are five respectful and empowering ways to sweeten those moments of rejection.
1. Never give someone a reason to not like you.
People will say what they want and think what they want, no matter the subject or person of choice. It will not matter who you are or what you do, someone or another manages to pay you their two cents. You have to remember, you did not give them reasons to justify their words or actions towards you. These people who exhibit unwarranted thoughts about you are just another drop in the ocean. They do not define your good intentions or self-worth. They are not for you and you need not place any investigation or worry into the mystery of why they do not like you. You do not have to reason with them any further. Simply look forward to the people who care to be curious and open-minded about you.
2. Kill them with kindness.
The dead push up daisies, but you plant the seed. Some people will smile proudly knowing they have said something cruel or disheartening to get a rise out of you but look at this as an opportunity. Every moment is a chance for you to choose how you react. Ten percent of life is what happens to you, it is out of your control. Ninety percent of life is what you do about it. Use your words to encourage, not discourage, civil discourse. Say what matters and say it with an honest purpose. State your case and let them respond how they will; you cannot control others, but you can control yourself. Be a good example others have yet to show themselves.
3. Turn the "No's" into a "Yes."
The poet Sylvia Plath had this to say about rejection: "I love my rejection slips. They show me I try." She was talking about the process of writing literary submissions for publication, but her attitude still stands. This is the mindset it takes to find the success you want out of life. Despite all the people that deny you and your work, there are people that see potential and promise in you. It does not matter how many people say "No" to you. What does matter is the number of times you can get back to work and look forward to that one "Yes." You are working for the "Yes's" in your life. Forget the dream-killers and eye-rollers, they lack the hope and drive you have in what you do. They do not do what you do and do not do it like you do. For every "No" there is a "Yes."
4. Let your work speak for you.
Sometimes no matter how endearing your elevator pitch sounds or how carefully crafted your resume is, people still find fault where there might not even be any. Your accomplishments are your own and that is something to take pride in. Of course, the right amount of pride separates you from the rest and for the better. Pride and confidence must not become virtues or vices that exceed who you are. The work you put out is an extension of who you are and no one can take that away from you. Work speaks for itself and yourself best, so focus on your goals and let your results stand in for your words people did not value. Your best is rarely seen at the moment of inspiration, usually after the final stroke of the brush has wet the canvas. It is your goal to show that stalwart work ethic in good times and in bad.
5. Your process will protect you.
Keep working. Rule out the distractions and the doubts, the fears, and the flippant fools. Know that your process will save you in trying times. Work against all odds. At some point, things turn even and add up, but you have to be dedicated and diligent. Your sights are seen only through your eyes and your need is to show others what you see. Until then, your skill, your talent, will be honed with consistency. Show up to your work even when you have not been hit with inspiration. The Kodak moment will present itself through your process. Due diligence is the price of success. Eyes on the prize and nose to the grindstone. No one knows your work better than you.
Be the trampoline that bends the will of gravity-like rejection long enough until you can fly.