Rejection sucks. There's no two ways about it. It really makes you wonder why it happens when you work so hard, many times putting so much on the line. The reason rejection happens is that you had the courage to TRY. The most successful people in the world fail way more times than those of us who never try. Those that never DO anything never have to deal with the angst and the depression that rejection makes you feel. Why do you think people that aim low look so damned happy? They never have to lose if they never try!
Courage has been skewed to mean a lot of things but I think it's an appropriate term for an artist's life. It takes balls to do something you love - to set it out on the easel of life and to pin your heart to it with the hopes that someone isn't going to annihilate what you've created and stab your heart in the process. I've had horrible things said about me, my work, and my lifestyle from people who have no idea who I am or what I'm capable of. The hardest and most courageous thing you can possibly do is get back up when life knocks you down. Maybe I'm a product of the 70s and early 80s but Rocky Balboa is a metaphor for life. It isn't the person that hits the hardest, it's the one that refuses to stay down. REFUSE to stay down. You are greater than you can possibly imagine. I watched a film a few weeks back on how they select soldiers for the S.A.S. For weeks they make these men do unbearable work with their bodies, they don't let them sleep, they don't let them eat. The class started with over 140 and within weeks they went down to 26 men left. One young gentleman said that at the point you are about to give up that is your brain telling you that you are only using 30% of what you have. Ponder that. It's true. In my experience I've seen what getting back up does and it does this every time. First, it makes you stronger. The same rejection next time gets easier to digest and takes less time to get over. Second, it makes you work harder, more efficient and better. I am creating work today that I had no ideas was possible. Why? Because someone told me I wasn't good enough. Prove them wrong - get up and work harder. You have more in you.
Third, you learn patience and appreciate the wins you get more than you would have before. I am not the person I was just 5 years ago. I've taken some pretty hard hits and it has made me a better person. I love things in my life deeper, I care about the important things and I have a better outlook on life because I refused to give up. The alternate course could have taken me to depression, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, suicide etc. I am far too strong to give my life up for anything or anyone and so are you. Fight and never stop fighting. Your dreams are worth the struggle. At the end of the day you'll have respect and that is something no one can take away from you.
The key principle to keep in mind is that it is your responsibility to succeed. In the grand scheme of history it is YOU who will be remembered, not the people that rejected you. In any art historical period, can you name all the people that rejected Michelangelo or Caravaggio or Bernini? No, of course not. People that reject artists are rarely remembered for anything other than the pseudo-important job they have today. Persevere. Keep going. Be remembered for the great things you do. It is entirely your choice to succeed.