Have you ever been dumped? I have. I was 18 years old, I had just finished my National Service, and was enjoying my gap year before entering university.
I was in love with a beauty queen – yeah, an actual beauty queen – and I was walking on air – until she went off to Botswana to study. For a while, we kept in touch via email, until one day, she wrote that she’d fallen for someone else, and wanted to break up with me.
I was shattered. I remember thinking this new guy was obviously a better person than I was because nobody gets dumped for a worse option.
For me, that was the biggest blow to discover that someone I cared about thought I wasn’t good enough for her. The feeling was so bad I remember vowing never to go anywhere near girls ever again. And that’s what rejection is like: Tough and painful.
Hm. Rejection. Not nice, is it? Of course, being dumped is not the only kind of rejection there is. Being overlooked for promotion, losing an election, losing a contract bid, failing to gain admission, not qualifying for the next round, being asked for a divorce – these are all forms of rejection, and they all hurt in ways you cannot imagine until it happens to you.
Rejection always makes you feel like a failure. It makes you feel as if whoever you are, whatever your skills, talents and available resources, whatever you’re made of, it’s just not good enough.
It is this feeling that often makes us coil back into our shells and refuse to try again. That was how I felt when my Beauty Queen rejected me.
If this is how you’re feeling this morning, then allow me to tell you about Kwame Nkrumah.
As you probably already know, Ghana’s first President was ousted by a military coup in 1966. He suddenly found himself without a job, a home or a nation. Osagyefo, the man of the people, the saviour of Ghana, the British Giant Slayer, had just been rejected.
I can just imagine him, sitting on a bench somewhere in Vietnam, and being told by an aide that he is no longer the president. He is not welcome back home by his own people. He must have felt – if even for a moment, that everything he had done for this nation was not good enough.
Head hanging low, and spirits at their weakest, Osagyefo headed to Conakry, to his friend Sekou Toure. But here’s the amazing thing: The moment Nkrumah arrived, the people of Guinea welcomed him with open arms and made him their Co-President.
Now, here’s why this is an amazing thing. Have you heard this post – Co-President – anywhere else on the planet? Have you ever heard of an African leader voluntarily offering to share power WITH A FOREIGNER? The people of Guinea were so overwhelmed Nkrumah was on their shores, that they were ready to offer him whatever it took to keep the great man there. Anything to make him stay – including handing over the Presidency of their sovereign nation to someone who did not even hold a Guinean passport.
They considered Nkrumah so valuable that they were willing to break the rules just to have him.
The same guy whose own people rejected him – the same man who must have been questioning his own value – was treasured by one nation, even as he was rejected by another.
For all of you who have been made redundant because of Dumsor, all of you who have been refused a loan, or a visa, or a marriage proposal, the message is clear: for every person who thinks you’re not good enough, there’s another who thinks you’re the best.
My friends, never question your self-worth. Whenever someone rejects you for not being good enough, it’s God’s miraculous way of preserving you for those who will see your true value.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I have been rejected by many, but that is a good thing: how else would I have got where I am today?
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!