No matter how you slice it, rejections are not fun. Nobody likes being told “sorry, you’re not what I’m looking for” by the object of their desire. The question is how we choose to process and interpret rejections; how deeply we allow them to sting, and how long we allow that sting to last.
In my younger years, I took rejections as devastating blows to my character, physical appearance, and general worth as a man. I’ve been rejected by more girls than I can count, and I did not take those rejections very graciously. This, consequently, decreased my confidence and diminished my desire to ask women out… which then made me even more afraid of rejection when I did ask women out… and so a vicious cycle was born. My airplane was not safe to fly.
The mistake I was making, which I now teach all of my coaching clients to avoid, is that I was assigning to each rejection a meaning that simply did not exist, or that was irrelevant to me anyway. And this is why rejections are so painful: because by and large, we conflate rejections with personal failures, and extrapolate from the rejection a negative story about ourselves.
When somebody tells us that they don’t like us, don’t want to go out with us, et cetera, we immediately draw a series of I’m Not X Enough conclusions. For example, She must have rejected me because I’m not tall enough; They don't want me, so that must mean I’m not skinny enough; They won’t respond to my messages because I’m overweight; and so forth. We think we have failed at something, and we are caught in a narrative of how being rejected means we are unworthy in one way or another.
The truth is that if someone rejects you, it is indeed because they don’t want you for some reason; but that reason has nothing to do with you. If someone turns you down, what they are saying is that, for what they like and for what they are looking for, you are not the right match. That has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. And if it has nothing to do with you, then it can’t be a personal failure, nor can it be an indication that you’re unattractive, not cool enough, or any other self-deprecating narrative you are creating.
With this understanding, I have cultivated the ability to take every rejection as a time-saving blessing. Great, you’re not into me, no problem; it is a reflection of your desires, not my worthiness. Now I embrace rejections, and I encourage you to do the same.
What I won’t embrace is somebody wasting my time because they either don’t know what they want or don’t have the heart to reject me. Nor will I embrace wasting my own time pursuing somebody who does not want to be with me. That is something I would consider a personal failure; rejections are not.
Kevin from the Keys Team
Professional Dating & Relationship Coach