How to handle rejection?

’Rejection is redirection’ – Mastin Kipp (The Daily Love)

One of my biggest enemies in dating for years has been the fear of being rejected. And I’m sure there are many of you out there facing the same problem.

The fear of rejection is one the most basic human fears. What we want most in life is to be accepted and validated and we go through a lot of trouble to avoid rejection. Sometimes it means that we try everything in our power to please others, to do things with the sole purpose of serving other people to gain their favour. Other times it means that we avoid placing ourselves in situations associated with a high risk of rejection.

The problem with rejection is that we take it as a sign of our intrinsic value. Which it is not. We are bombarded with choices every day and we have to keep saying ’no’ to non-essential requests so we can function properly. Rejection is part of life and a very healthy part of it indeed. We belong to a system in which somebody’s ’no’ is somebody else’s ’yes’. Taken out of context, rejection hurts, but if we took the time to separate ourselves from it, we’d see that it’s a naturally occuring and beneficial phenomenon. And fearing it is like being afraid of rain: yes, you can get wet, but you certainly won’t melt!


The truth is we can’t run away from rejection all our lives, even if we become masters at dodging it. And when that rejection finally hits us, it hurts about a million times more than it should. But how do we face our fear of rejection?

I once read about this guy, Jia Jiang, who subjected himself to a multitude of situations likely to result in rejection, so he could become immune to it, calling it ’rejection therapy’.

My rejection therapy taught me that the worst they can say is no is actually not true.’ he writes on his blog, Fearbuster ’In fact, the worst they can say is you didn’t even ask. It implies I said “no” to myself before others could reject me. If I have a good reason, it is my duty to step out of my own comfort zone to ask, no matter how difficult and impossible the request is.’

I’d like to point out that dating is by all means the kind of activity that will send lots of rejections your way. So why not get used to it? Start collecting rejections, set a target for how many rejections you want to achieve a week, send out crazy messages to people and see what happens?

From experience, I will say that, against all odds, some of my crazy requests ended up in success. For instance, once I invited a guy to join me in the park and practice catching and throwing for softball and he said yes. And he gave me some really good tips. Another time I asked a guy to join me at an awkward art exhibition and the answer was again yes. And we are now in a relationship.

I think you’ll find out that the more you’re looking for rejection, the more times you’ll get a ’yes’ instead. And if not, then you’re a step closer to your goal: becoming fear of rejection free!

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