Closed Doors

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Dark Corners
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Progress: Door handles. Goal: Keyhole! "I'm sure if I stepped on the ledge I'd get there, but somehow I still want to reach it myself!"

It’s been quite a year for some of us. That could be good or bad depending on what’s happened. Yet I’m sure pretty much all of us have experienced some sort of rejection in a way. Not just rejection out of nowhere, but rejection where you put time and effort into being accepted. This would cover things like applications of any kind (job, school, programs..etc), or relationships (whether family, friends or significant other). It could even be as hard as a Dream you worked on, and it keeps failing you. Whichever the case, closed doors are something we encounter and aren’t always ready for.

This lack of preparation is partly due to how we view our chances in whatever we do. We’re generally biased towards our success (seen not only in your level of confidence, but also in the fact you even tried something regardless of confidence). This bias tends to focus our energies, thoughts, and even anxieties towards a positive outcome. Not many bite their nails saying “will I fail?”, it’s usually “will I make it?” which is an expression of that bias, even though anxiety is seen as a negative at times.

Another reason we feel the pain of closed doors is the effort we’ve put into getting/keeping that door open. It’s all the messages you sent to one another, or the time you spent training for the audition…all of that gives you a sense of validation as you proceed towards what you want. All your actions on the outside affirm you, and rightly so as you shouldn’t desire that which you’re not willing to work for. The time, emotions, physical exertion, and sometimes money, are all elements that help your personal belief to be even stronger.

There are obviously other factors, like the support you get from people, yet the two I’ve mentioned above make the closed doors sting really bad, because those two are all you. Rejection hurts because you were rejected. Sounds obvious right? Well let me make it a little more clear: Closed doors mean your effort was rejected, your time was rejected, your money was rejected, your communication was rejected, your feelings were rejected, your creativity was rejected, your hope was rejected, your confidence was rejected, even your ANXIETY was rejected..

How the heck did she know I was coming?? This was a surprise visit! I'll try again in a few hours...

Pretty ugly isn’t it?

So what’s happening here, that could help us in the future? How can we be better prepared for such things? Well, first of I’d like to say I hate hearing people say “prepare for the worst”. There’s only one “worst” and that’s death! There’s no bracing yourself for it, there’s no holding of your breath that will help soften it’s impact…it will KILL YOU!! So just know this: Whatever happens, as long as you’re still alive afterwards…you’re fine! That, you need to burn into your brain! If it doesn’t kill you, then surely it doesn’t deserve the “death” we put ourselves through every time  we face rejection. Let me explain why.

The rejection happened to you in an instant. Maybe there was a build-up, but the event took place rather quickly. The event is not what hurts us afterwards too much, it’s the label we take home that hurts us! The event was done in seconds, but we keep calling ourselves “rejected” for months, sometimes years. That repeated idea begins to impact everything we do from then on!

Here’s how I choose to see a closed-door: “The person/situation failed to see my value to them. I may have assisted them in their failure to recognise my value? What can I do to make sure my value is acknowledged more from now on?”

"Just great! The door's shut, and I've got no fingers! Hey, where's my neck? Which way am I facing??! Not my day...!"

Approach influences reaction
, so you need an approach that gives you the most control in your reaction. Who did the rejecting? Easy answer, not you! You have to understand that other people close doors on you, you didn’t close it. Now, in knowing this, you must also  acknowledge the part you had to play in their action. My position is that you must have your own personal understanding of your value, and no matter what happens, it shouldn’t change.  But that’s not enough. You must also be able to successfully communicate your value to whatever outside entity you encounter. This is what happens in interviews, or applications, and even relationships.

When a door closes, either you weren’t what the “door” was looking for (or the “door” changed its mind!), in which case, you’re not the problem, the “door’s” preferences are; OR you didn’t give that “door” the information it required to stay open to you, even though you might have fit the requirements in your own mind, in this case it is still the “door” that does the closing, but you need to work on your communication…not on your worth!!! Who you are, and what you have, do not change after rejection…unless you carry the label “Rejected” with you! Please leave that sticker alone, it was meant for the door, not for you!

So what’s your approach? Does it set you up for the best reaction from those around you, and (regardless of success or failure) the best reaction from you?

Has your worth been predetermined by you, or did you believe the “door” would do a valuation of you?

You will face closed doors many times in your life, whether you like it or not…so you don’t prepare for that. Get out of that “worst case scenario” gutter, because unless it’s death, you’re still capable of bouncing back. Rather make sure you know who you are, and what you have to offer, and should a door close in your face… It didn’t change who you are and what you have to offer.

Sometimes unfortunately, there’s nothing you did wrong, the door just closed. It’s hard not to take that personally as an evaluation of you, but it isn’t Maybe you got it all wrong, but not because you’re not anything, you just need to change your approach. Easier said than done of course, but necessary.

Think about this: If you’re fired, do they also take away your skills and talents? If a marriage ends, and they take half of everything, does that include half your capacity to think and relate to the rest of the world? (Well sometimes, some people believe the latter to be true)

It may have been a very important door that closed on you. Just make sure you didn’t close on yourself as well.


  1. T says:

    Great thought MAZE… You need to work on your communication not your worth! Well WORTH remembering. We matter because we exist. What needs to change is our communication internally (our thoughts and values) so that we can communicate strongly externally (with our words and actions)

    • The Maze says:

      This comment was WORTH replying T!
      And yes, that level of communication within is so vital… Did I put that in there?? I should’ve!! Well, when people read the comments, they’ll see your point, because it is TRUE!!! You probably struggle to communicate worth to others, because you haven’t communicated it to yourself first!
      Go T!!

      The Maze

  2. “… unless it’s death, you’re still capable of bouncing back”

    I love that – a really thought-provoking post, I really enjoyed it. Excellent way of explaining rejection.

  3. Loved this line “Who you are, and what you have, do not change after rejection…unless you carry the label “Rejected” with you! Please leave that sticker alone, it was meant for the door, not for you!”

    Truly inspiring post Maze… showed me a way out as I seemed to have lost it recently.


    • The Maze says:

      Hey there Privy…
      Glad this meant something to you. I sometimes have to re-read my own stuff and remind myself all the time when things don’t work out! The way out is always there for you to find…
      You’re welcome!!

      The Maze

  4. Cindy Kwon says:

    Thanks for this amazing post!
    I was rejected by a man and have been blaming myself on that rejection for last 6 months.
    Now reading this post, I realized that the rejection didn’t mean that i wasn’t enough for him but that I just wasn’t who he wanted, which is not a big deal.
    Thanks for reminding me that he didn’t take my value when he rejected me. 🙂

    • The Maze says:

      Hi Cindy..!

      It’s a great thing to hear that my post helped you realise your worth never changed, only your situation. You decide what you’re worth… People can treat you poorly, but that’s their own problem..
      I hope you maintain your worth by your own volition, and not because of others. It is difficult to avoid feeling worthless, however, its just a feeling..

      Keep strong… And don’t forget, you can spot someone who doesn’t value you so much a mile away, just don’t fall for the hype!

      You’re amazing!

      The Maze

  5. […] time to deal with them (but I still peek once in a while). I’ve even written about “Closed Doors” […]

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