The following are some ideas to help you re-frame the way you think about rejection so it doesn’t seem so unbearable. Your negative beliefs can have a strong hold over you because they’re trying to protect you against perceived threat or harm, so some of these tips might inspire an “oh please!” or “yeah right!” attitude. Let your mind be open and pick and choose those that might best fit your personality and style. View any resistance you may feel as an indication that your self-protection mechanisms may have been triggered and refuse to be held victim by them any longer.
* View rejection as a success. The fact that that guy doesn’t want to date you is saving you a lot of time and energy in building something that wouldn’t have worked out anyway. You’ve invested nothing, your heart is safe, and now you can channel your energies into new possibilities.
* Typically, rejection has nothing to do with you; it’s a projection of the other person’s wants, needs, and life experiences. He doesn’t really know you. All he is aware of is what he saw and what you shared with him about yourself, but that’s not the totality of who you are. It’s more about him. It’s not your fault, so avoid personalizing it and realize also that you are not Mr. Right for every guy you meet and vice versa. Most people you date will not be the right guy for you.
* Avoid attaching yourself to outcomes. Approach every date free from fantasy and as an opportunity to meet someone new. If something works out, then that’s an added bonus. Don’t mold yourself into a relationship just for the sake of being in one. Be the chooser!
* A fear of being alone is closely tied to fear of rejection. The more value you place on someone, the stronger the fear will be, so take the emphasis off of him and find ways to value yourself. Discover ways to be “happily single”, independent, and don’t put stock in being fulfilled in your life only if you’re in a relationship. Identify your strengths and recognize what makes you a “good catch.” Cultivate a positive self-image.
* Build your self-confidence by becoming the best “you” you can be. Invest in your personal growth, fine-tune your social skills, take safe and calculated risks, enhance your self-esteem and body image, develop a more balanced lifestyle with purposeful goals that will give you meaning. This will help take the focus off the other guy and put it more squarely on you and living your life to the max to where rejection won’t matter as much to you.
* Whenever you experience feelings of rejection, write down the thoughts you’re having in a journal and work at correcting any distorted beliefs that may be hurting you. Are you condemning yourself? Are your thoughts reinforcing low self-esteem? How are you contributing to your own feelings of rejection? Develop your own personal list of affirmations that will encourage and affirm you and rehearse them daily.
* Most importantly, stop giving emotional power to these men! How do you even know if this guy was really a match for you either? Are you projecting? His saying “no” to another date basically means that your personal requirements for a long-term relationship do not appear to match up. It is the traits, not you! And if a rejection occurs over something superficial, you don’t want to be with that person anyway. Superficiality does not equal long-term sustenance in relationships. Overcome your fear of being negatively judged by having a solid grasp on your vision and requirements to operate from that.
While nobody likes to be rejected, remember that it’s all about perception and that you have total control over the way that you think and interpret things; you have no control over the other person. Re-frame your experience of rejection in more positive terms, develop a mindset of acceptance to bounce back quickly, and keep centered on your goals and beliefs in your ability to lead a happy life.
Dating is risky business and not for the faint of heart, but can be a rewarding adventure. Don’t let your fears of rejection paralyze your life; live by the mantra NO MORE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES and remember that the main reason Mr. Right will want to be with you is by you being who you inherently are—that’s why he will fall in love with you and vice versa.
So be yourself! Keep an ongoing log of affirmations that resonate with you to help you stay upbeat and centered during those difficult times, and in conclusion, here’s a neat way of looking at rejection.
To build resiliency, you must experience disappointment and rejection and failure and learn that one, you can survive it, and two that sometimes the universe has a better plan for you than you had for yourself all along. --- Azriela Jaffe, author of “Starting From No: 10 Strategies to Overcome Your Fear of Rejection and Succeed in Business.”
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com