Monday, April 1, 2013

Repurposing Rejection

Repurposing Rejection - sad confused girl
Most of us use rejection as a blunt force object to beat ourselves up with. I'm here to argue that rejection, at its core, is actually a gift.

There are plenty of articles about how to attract members of the opposite sex. How to instigate and sustain conversations with them. And you can read all about how to successfully date. This is not that kind of article.

This is about what to do when your fabulous self failed to make the cut and you've been rejected. Because the fact of the matter is, everybody, at some point in their dating/relationship life, gets rejected. If you're dating and you haven't been rejected, you're not doing it right.

I’m not saying to go out and court rejection, but it's going to happen and so I'd like to take the sting out of it by changing our perspective. Rejection is nature's way of saying you're a step closer to finding The One.

Whenever we experience rejection there's going to be a readjustment period. All those fantasies of shared vacations, dates for the holidays, closing our online dating profiles come crashing down and we're faced with the reality that we're still in the race. It hurts, it's painful, and it can be confusing to find that while we were falling deeper in love, our partner was falling out of it.

Go Ahead And Feel The Hurt
Let yourself have a pity party for a night or two. Then -- and there's not really a delicate way to say this -- get over it. The problem with a lot of us is that we don't know how to use rejection properly. Most of us use rejection as a blunt force object to beat ourselves up with. I'm here to argue that rejection, at its core, is actually a gift.

Rejection Is A Gift
I'll repeat that. Rejection. Is. A. Gift. It's a sign that you've been authentic. Look, a true connection is rare; it's what happens when two people meet and recognize each other as kindred souls. So it's not enough to be charming and do "active listening." You've got to be real. You have to show who you are so that the one who's your match can recognize you.

It's so tempting to put all our focus on what our date is looking for. To see if we match, or if we could grow into what they're looking for. It's what we do. Women are adaptable; we're wired to see what people need and then provide it. That's perfect for child rearing and awesome for managing people at the office. But it has no place in the dating world.

Honor Your 'List'
All of us have a list of must haves and deal breakers, whether we've acknowledged them by writing them down, or simply carry them about with us subconsciously. Men are very good at sticking to their list. When they say something's a deal breaker, they mean it. Men are linear and they're simply not willing to bend on what they're looking for. Women on the other hand, see their lists more as points of negotiation. Because, again, we're adaptable.

But how many disappointing relationships have we stayed in because we didn't honor our list? Not honoring our list is a form of inauthentic behavior. Inauthentic behavior obscures the pathway your soulmate is desperately trying to find to your door. Honor the list. If I had stuck to mine, fully half of the rejections I've slogged through would have been completely avoided because I'd have left long before my Mr. - Not -That - Right - But - Hey - No - One's - Perfect broke up with me.

And how about when we have an amazing time with someone. The conversation was easy, the silences were comfortable, we felt like we were relaxed and in the zone the entire date, only to never hear from the guy again. It's shocking. There's really no other word for it. But guess what? It's also a huge time saver. If a man witnesses your ‘A’ game and his reaction is to run silent? Is THAT your dream guy? Really? Put aside your ego for a moment. He's spent the evening with an amazing woman and he didn't appreciate it. If he wasn't bowled over then he wasn't your match.

Now, if your goal is to waste years of your life in dead end relationships, by all means return the gift you've been given and go after him. If your goal is true love, then take the rejection for what it is: nature's way (or the Universe, God, whatever you want to call it) of saving you time.

There's No Shame In Rejection
Think of everyone you've turned down. Sweet men (or women) who were perfectly lovely but not what you were looking for. Do you think any less of them? Would you have been swayed to change your mind about them if they started to morph into the kind of person they thought you wanted -- or would you be just a little creeped out?

The bottom line is that if you're serious about dating and finding your soulmate then it's your job to remain true to who you are. And in the face of the occasional rejection, say a little thank you to whomever it was that turned you away. They're no longer standing between you and your true love.

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