It’s not you, it’s me!!! You’re a really nice girl, but I have a lot of work on at the moment. My head’s not in the right place right now, but I’ll give you a call when it is. Does any of this sound familiar? Ever had the feeling you’ve just been dumped or the realisation that the excuses you’ve convinced yourself are true, are actually not and you’re left facing the cold hard reality of rejection.
Whatever story we tell ourself, if someone doesn’t want to be with us or get to know us, is this not rejection? The realisation that someone doesn’t want you…Ouch, it hurts.
My question is, can we handle it? Do we fear it so much that we convince ourselves that the stories are true. Talk ourselves into believing excuse after excuse while clinging to the hope that we’re wrong. Can it be possible the we completely ignore the voice in our head screaming ‘he’s not interested’ and convince ourselves that our “Mr Perfect” is just very busy and will definitely call. Perhaps he will, but in my experience, men are very uncomplicated when it comes to love. They either like you or they don’t. If they like you, they will do everything they can to be with you, busy or not and if don’t, they won’t.
It’s universally accepted that women are generally more emotional and slightly more complicated so the same rules don’t apply. We’re optimist when it comes to love, we have expectation, we daydream about the perfect man and the wonderful life we’ll have with him. Never once in our daydream does rejection enter our minds.
Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. In my opinion this means that men are logical and women are emotional. Following a failed date, a woman can torture herself endlessly.
’Oh my god, he didn’t like me. What’s wrong with me? He noticed that extra ten pound I’m carrying, I knew I should have lost if before I met him. Maybe I talked too much, I should have let him say more.’
We can replay the scene over and over in our heads wondering what the hell went wrong while the man walks away seemly unaffected by the whole thing. This may not be the case but it sure seems that way.
My own fear of rejection was realised last year. I ran into a guy I’d know for a few years and before I knew it we were seeing each other. He’d just come out of a relationship which niggled at me a little bit, but of course I ignored it and began dating him. We were getting along great until three weeks later when his ex girlfriend asked him to take her back. This being the ex that he’d spent a lot of time (I know the writing was on the wall) talking about how dysfunctional their relationship was, how selfish she was and how he didn’t know if he’d actually ever loved her. Well, you can imagine my surprise when she only had to ask and he went running.
I was floored, the rejection I felt was insane, the physical pain swirling through my stomach left me incapacitated for about two days. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I had zero feelings for this man and didn’t care that he’d gone back to his ex so why did I feel so much pain?
Luckily through my own journey of self awareness, several bottles of wine and hours of analysing and re-analysing it with my sisters and girlfriends, I came to the conclusion that it had nothing to do with him. I felt absolutely nothing for him and it was simply the rejection that hurt so much. This realisation astonished me.
Not only was it his rejection but it was years of unprocessed rejection from my past. Not just romantic, but family and friends, an unsuccessful interview. ‘Thank you for coming but we think the other candidate is more suited’. The dreaded writer’s rejection, ‘thank you for your submission but unfortunately…’ or the offer of help you give to a friend that’s turned down.
I realised that in my mind this was all rejection and facing it, accepting it and not taking it personally was the only way I could ever free myself from the pain of it. This guy did me the biggest favour, he forced me to confront it and left me with many question that I was determine to answer. I felt invigorated as I looked at it from a different perspective.
Even when in a relationship do we ignore the signs of someone not wanting us anymore and fight to stay with them because it’s better than being rejected. Or worse do we stay in a relationship or continue dating someone we don’t really like because we know how unpleasant rejection can feel and we don’t want to be responsible for another person feeling it.
The questions were flowing and I couldn’t help wonder if this stemmed back to childhood? Are we’re conditioned at a very young age to fear rejection? We only have to watch children in a playground and see some are afraid to talk to others in case they’re not liked, which is the same as rejection. If we feel it as children then no wonder we’re terrified of it by the time we become adults. It’s had years to fester and grow like a deadly cancer.
Fear of rejection can prevent us from success at work, falling in love and having great relationships with friends and family. We all know that when we fear something, to face it makes it disappears. The problem is that most of us don’t realise that we fear rejection. It disguises itself beautifully in lies and excuses that we’d rather believe than face the fact that someone might not love us.
Research shows that the average person will meet and interact with about 80,000 people in a lifetime. They’re not all going to like us, some will reject us and others won’t.
My conclusion is to face rejection head on and laugh in it’s face. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Someone doesn’t like me. Ok, that’s fine because I like me, I know my worth, I know what I can add to your life, to your business, to this friendship and if you don’t want it, then that’s ok.
At the end of the day, all that really matters is that we love and value ourselves because all love comes from self love.