I think all of us have had to own these words at one point or another.
Those nasty words that make you feel like a loser because you promised someone you had the money and it turns out you don’t. That two-word combination that blows over all other inbox messages and leaves us feeling wretchedly poor and helpless.
How about the wonderfully, powerful word “Declined?” This one hits like a ton of bricks when your standing in the checkout line. All the groceries are in bags and the three people behind you watch you with squinty eyes like your some sort of thief that’s just been caught. The cheeks turn red from horrific shame and you fumble around with your wallet wondering if you have enough cash to hand over. It is even worse when you have no credit cards to help out. I once got up to the cashier then realized my wallet was at home. Well, at least I was hoping that is where it was. What an awful feeling to have lost your wallet! It was at home, praise the good Lord above…
Oh, suck it up, princess! I tell myself, this happens to everyone sooner or later. Right? Let’s just figure this out and get out of here.
The word declined has also been experienced by us all somewhere. Whether it’s a loan app, a credit card app, a relationship request, a payment, a job application, you name it. We can all figure out a time in our life when we experienced the rejection of that one negative word.
Life can sometimes just feel like a big bank account of insufficient funds. I know. I’ve been there. I’ve waded through the weeks of watching the future we were hoping for be obliterated by the big red No button. I have sat and cried as I felt horribly alone in the stress of the unknown being made known. And what I was watching unfold was ugly. The hill I saw ahead was no hill, it was a treacherous mountain and an active volcano. And I wondered, how are we going to climb over this?
You don’t have to be a special person to experience this, it shows up on everybody’s doorstep and barges in without knocking. The unwanted guest perches itself on your favorite chair and its haughty eyes watch your every move.
But here’s the thing. We don’t have to live in its power. We don’t have to operate as if it defines us. We have a choice with what we do with it. We can choose to move out of the shade of shame and into a more hopeful future. We should treat these words as a momentary awful experience. Learn from it and then let it roll away.
Insufficient funds mean you tried and didn’t quite make it. But we tried. We are trying. And that’s not giving up! Declined simply means, “not today, not right now.” It doesn’t need to define tomorrow. And this isn’t to say you shouldn’t know when to fold them and leave it folded.
We work hard. But sometimes the money just isn’t there.
We work hard. But sometimes, the answer is just no.
We work hard. But that doesn’t mean we are shielded from rejection.
One thing I have learned through all these business failures and some success is that it humbles you and builds compassion for others who are standing at the checkout line with their teeth hanging out unable to pay for their groceries. There are so many positive things to be learned from our little failures and big mistakes. I’m not suggesting I enjoy them in any way shape or form, but hey if we have to live with them? Lets mold something cool from it.