Ongoing rejections are difficult to get over. Ben Dutka encourages men to try these six steps to get out of misery.
In a word, rejection is humbling.
We all deal with the sting of rejection in different ways but there’s one universal truism: Hearing “no” is an undeniable blow to our self-esteem.
Sure, we all get turned down countless times in our lives; we don’t get the nod for an award in school; we don’t get the job we wanted, or we don’t get that article published. But romantic rejection is perhaps the most damaging of all because it strikes to our very core.
When given the chance, people will vent their frustrations with this topic; just look at all the relationship questions about this topic. Look at the explosion of emotion in this community when people talk about rejection. The bottom line is people will always talk about it because it can be extraordinarily difficult to combat and ultimately overcome.
But there are ways to fight the after-effects of a tough rejection (or series of rejections). This has nothing whatsoever to do with my psychology degree. Rather, this comes from the tried-and-tested school of hard knocks, where you learn more about yourself–and the world around you–than you’ll ever learn in any classroom. I did do a little educational and clinical research but hey, it’s a complex subject.
1. First and foremost, your reaction to rejection is NORMAL
This is probably the most critical point. Too many people really believe they’re “freaking out” about rejections when in fact, just about everyone freaks out in their own way. When I read this list of post-rejection symptoms, I instantly felt better. Look at that laundry list of reactions; no matter what you felt upon first experiencing the hurt and pain of rejection, chances are, it isn’t worse than these examples. You can apply the standard, well, it happens to everyone argument that really does help in this instance, because you feel less alone.
And that’s a big key: rejection amplifies feelings of loneliness and the last thing you need is to feel alone after hearing “no” for what seems like the hundredth time.
2. Distract The Mind That Won’t Shut Up
Because rejection is such an intensely personal failure, it’s tough to stop thinking about it. “Just let it go” or “don’t worry about it, tomorrow’s another day” are common pieces of advice, but the sufferer doesn’t really hear them because when wallowing, we really only hear words the way Charlie Brown interprets the teacher (Wa-wa-WA-wa, wa-WA-wa…)
The worst thing you can do is sit and stare at the wall, trying to figure out where you went wrong, or why so-and-so didn’t like you. That’s just a one-way ticket to a true-blue freak-out and perhaps the booby hatch if you keep at it.
Distract yourself. Do something you love to do and indulge. Your hobbies can be invaluable, and friends and family–provided they’re not interested in talking about your love life–can come through in a pinch. Put your mind on anything else.
3. “You’re only some to some”
I can’t take full credit for this; I found it in a list of 7 Positives of Getting Rejected, and it really helped. The gist is this: just because you find somebody attractive, it doesn’t always follow they’ll feel the same way. In fact, you have to accept that most times the feeling isn’t mutual and really, you’re just playing the lottery. Tell yourself your odds are a touch better than hitting the Powerball but even so, don’t ever forget there are millions of people out there and they’ve all got very personal and very specific feelings.
You’re not the one they’re looking for. So what? How many times have you rejected someone or simply dismissed them out of hand because they weren’t what you wanted?
4. Start Asking Why (channel Rob in High Fidelity)
Very rarely will anyone tell you the truth behind their decision. Most often, you get no explanation at all. So you’re left to translate the rejection and that’s when your brain starts to turn on you.
The what’s wrong with me? question looms dangerously just behind your eyes, threatening to impact your daily life. It’s even harder to brush away that question when the rejections begin to pile up, leaving you drowning in a sea of confusion. Trust me, the end result is not pretty.
So, you might ask the ridiculously difficult question of the rejector: Why? You can be polite and even breezy about it, say you’re doing it in the interest of self-improvement. You’d be surprised how many people will suddenly be truthful about why they rejected you, and I suspect it’s because they wish they’d get an honest response if asked the same question.
5. Take Another Swing! And This Time, Change Your Approach…
This may sound like the clichéd “get back on the horse” piece of advice–and it sorta is–but this tactic involves changing your approach. Like a batter striking out the first time he faces a pitcher, the next time he steps into the box, he might change his mindset. Maybe before he was aiming for the fences. Now he’s only trying to make good contact. You see the metaphor, I’m sure. Let’s say you were rejected by the hottest person you’ve ever seen, reacting almost exclusively to your libido. Okay, well, maybe your ego won’t take another savage hit if you go for someone with a little more substance; maybe there’s a better chance of you two clicking.
I wouldn’t say “swing away” because that implies a type of blindness and swinging at just about any pitch you think you can hit. No, be more selective. Try something new. Wait for your pitch, not merely a pitch you might be able to hit.
6. Time. The Ultimate Healer for All Rejection
Nobody wants to hear it, especially minutes after a rejection. The earlier you tell someone, “Everything will be okay. Just give it time,” the more pissed off they’re going to be. And rightly so. The pain they feel at that moment is acute and even though they know, deep down it will eventually abate, they can’t seem to envision such a far-off time. They can’t imagine feeling anything but pain and self-pity, perhaps even self-loathing.
It remains a fact everything fades and ultimately disappears when enough time passes. Yes, time erodes good things, too, but that’s only a negative when we’re talking about love and marriage and things like that.
In this instance, time will inevitably work in your favor. Try to be patient and maybe use tip #2 above so you’re not stuck watching the clock.
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