Every single person experiences rejection. Whether it’s for a job interview, romantic relationship, friendship, mortgage/business loan, business idea, working relationship, etc. We have to be vulnerable and put ourselves out there for someone to see and be judged. Nothing ventured nothing gained, right? When we get the reaction we want, we are elated! But when we don’t, it can be devastating and it’s hard not to think “Why didn’t they like me? There must be something wrong with me!”
They say that getting rejected has the same emotional and physical reaction as getting punched in the gut. The harder the rejection the harder the punch. So like a Professional Boxer in training, it’s very important to learn how to deal with these “punches” (a.k.a. “rejection”) the right way otherwise we will feel beat up all the time.
I don’t mind telling you that after my divorce I was terrified of getting out into the dating world again. I mean, it wasn’t exactly easy 20 years ago either. So unlike my twenty-something self, I decided to do some research and read up on some dating books and websites. For a great book on how to deal with rejection, I highly recommend Harlan Cohen’s Book “Getting Naked” which is an even funnier audiobook because Harlan narrates it himself. To paraphrase something I found very helpful in his book “No matter if you are pretty, ugly, skinny, fat, tall, short, there are literally thousands of people who want you, and millions won’t”.
As I was opened to the world of Online Dating, I was inundated with literally thousands of men in my area available for dating. So when I found a profile I liked, I would write them a message and hope they would write back. On most websites you can tell when they have read your email or even looked at your profile. Once they do this, you wait to see if they write you back. When the ones I want to write back did not, of course I would feel disappointed. But now I have a new approach rather than coming down hard on myself. I like to think of it this way using this very short story….
A man walks into an ice cream parlor to get some ice cream.
While he’s on line he contemplates the huge listing of all the different flavors.
So he decides on vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles.
The lady standing behind him in line sees his choice and says, “Wait a second! What’s wrong with the chocolate ice cream?”
The man turns to the lady and says, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with the chocolate ice cream. I just prefer vanilla.”
Somehow I don’t think the chocolate flavor in this short story takes it personally and thinks, “Hey, what’s wrong with me? Why did this guy choose vanilla over me? I have to change!” Millions of people prefer chocolate ice cream, so most likely would have a high self-esteem anyway. Well, people are not so different than flavors of ice cream. Each flavor is unique and everyone has their preferences. Yet, when someone else makes a personal preference decision that may/may not include us, we take it extremely personally. If there is nothing wrong with chocolate ice cream, than what would be “wrong” with you? That’s right! Nothing!
Everyone has the right to their own preferences. Although you may be upset that their choice of preference may not be you (or your idea), it is best to move on to wait for someone where both you and the other person are each other’s top personal preference. Even if someone tries to convince you that there is something “wrong” with you because you don’t meet their preferences, that doesn’t make it true. If you change to try and meet someone else’s preferences, then that’s not really a representation of you, is it? I’ve heard it best from Harlan Cohen’s book where he quoted his parents saying to him as a child, “Be genuine from the very beginning. It is a waste of time to win over someone who isn’t going to like you for who you really are.”
So next time you feel rejected, say to yourself, “Meh…I guess I’m not their flavor of ice cream!” and move on to find someone who will appreciate your flavor.