« | Home | »

How To Handle Rejection Like A Man

August 29, 2008

There’s a girl I’ve known now for several years, and over time we’ve developed a friendship.  During all our talks over the years, I’ve grew fond of her, and eventually decided that I should see if she’s developed feelings for me, like I have for her.

I sent her an email telling her how I felt about her, and how I still have a lot of business related work I need to get done, but that maybe she’d be interested in something between us, after I get some of this other stuff out of the way.  She had never viewed me as anything more than a friend, and rejected the offer.  What I’m going to write about now is how do you handle a situation like this, without it destroying you emotionally?

Events like this can be really painful.  They can even be emotionally scarring for life if your affections for the girl are strong enough. I can especially remember this happening in high school with a girl, and it was a hard thing when it happened.  I got angry over it all, hated the girl afterwards, and had a general disdain for women which lasted for several years.  Part of it was due to how the girl handled it all, and part of it was just my own childish ways.

But what is amazing about this latest experience, approximately 10 years afterward, is that the pain was very mild, and there was no hatred at all.  Very little conflict happened within me.  Seeing the progress that I have made, I was really happy, and thought to myself, “I’ve really came a long way in the past 10 years.”

Is it because my mind is so numb these days, I can’t even feel emotion?  No.  Is it because I have no true feelings for the girl?  No.  Is it because I didn’t really want a relationship anyway?  No.

It was more so the opposite.  I think very highly of the girl, have developed some pretty serious emotional attachment to her, and do care about her.  I think it would have been very nice if she would have accepted. Then why didn’t it hurt, like it did with the high school girl?  What’s changed inside of me that kept out those old feelings of hatred and pain, which hurt me so bad a long time ago?

I attribute near all of this success to changes in the way I view things these days.  I’ve been working very hard to develop a strong mental infrastructure within me that can handle problems, and leave me with peace of mind.  But this entry isn’t really about me, even though it may have sounded that way by how I leaded into this.  What I really want to do is discuss is the series of steps I took mentally, and how it avoided pain and misery, and why.

First off, when I heard her response, there was some pain and disappointment.  I felt some anxiety.  It’s important though to know, there’s nothing wrong with this, and it’s just the natural result of this sort of thing.

Back in high school, when this same event happened, I remember I thought to myself, “Fine.  It’s your loss.  You don’t know what you’re missing!  You’re no good anyways!”  This is running away, and denial.  You don’t really believe she’s “no good”.  Why would you have just asked her to enter a relationship with you?

As for the girl I talked with the other day, I never at all entertained any sort of belief that she’s “no good”.  I still think, and will tell you, she’s amazing.  I won’t say any less about her, because that’s simply not true.  Never deny what you truly believe, and always be objective, and face every obstacle.  If pain is coming your way, don’t run.  Even when you don’t like certain facts, never deny them.  It’s a sign of a coward to run away from the truth just because you don’t like what you see.

The strange thing about running away from fears is that you cannot escape them, because they are inside of you.  They’ll stay there within you, causing you misery until you’re man or woman enough to confront them.  You’ll drag them around everywhere you go.  It’s important to never carry painful baggage around with you.  Running away from fears and painful experiences is, strangely, the way we carry things with us.  Confronting it is actually the way we put something aside.  As strange as it sounds, that’s the way it works with our mental life.

The all too common second response is, “It’s her loss.”  This kind of response is very pretentious and arrogant.  If you want peace of mind in life, you’ll have to learn ways of thought which elimiate distinctions between yourself and others.  Such ways of thinking lead to respecting others opinions, and decisions.  When you say, “It’s her loss”, what you’re really saying is that her judgement as to the situation is inferior to your own, and that she’s just too stupid to see how good the offer is in front of her.  Most of the time, she knows herself and what’s good for her, better than you do.  If you want peace of mind, you can never think lowly of others.  You always respect them, and value who they are.  This is actually a subtle art, and I know few people who understand it.  But oh, what a beautiful art it is when you learn it, and start to master it!  I will teach it to you.

With me, when I see someone making a decision I do not agree with, I do not judge them.  I more so ask why they are making the decision they are making, and try to envision myself in their shoes.  This leads to me telling myself that I would have made the same decision as they would have, if I were in their shoes.

It’s difficult to learn empathy.  It’s even more difficult to leave your own body and completley immerse yourself in another’s position and situation.  There’s so many factors that must be taken into account.  First you have the person’s history, and all the events they’ve been through.  You have their family, their friends, their job, their school studies, and everything else. The world around us is constantly modifying our inner world, and we are forming views as to how we are going to think about things, and how we’re planning to deal with various situations.   Even with the utmost knowledge in psychology and the mind, even then, you’re only able to approximately put yourself in others shoes.

This brings us to the next point.  More often than not, we do not have enough knowledge to even come close to putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes.  We have to do our best to respect this situation, and realize our own inability to properly see things out of their eyes.  Notice how different this is than “It’s her loss”.  I am giving her the benefit of the doubt that she has her reasons for her decision, and that she most likely knows what’s best for her.  “It’s her loss” says the opposite.

Before moving on, you may be wondering why we even try to put ourselves in the other’s shoes, when we can so easily be wrong?  We may think to ourselves she rejected us because of one reason, when it really was another.  Why even take the risk of being wrong?  Why not just say, “She has her reasons”, and that be that?

The reason is you need to always be growing mentally.  If you don’t try to understand why people do what they do, you’ll never grow in this area.  In anything you have to first form a theory, and then test.  This is how knowledge in anything is gained.  You guess why you think it happened, and then you keep your eyes open, and wait for futher testing to see if you’re wrong.  Even if you turn out wrong, you’ll be able to correct and modify your mindsets accordingly, as new experiences come in.  But if you never guess, your mind will not have anything to look for, and you will never learn.  You will stay completely stupid.

If you think she rejected you because of something you did wrong, or some way you act, or whatever, then keep that in mind, and when you approach another girl, try to change that part of yourself.  See if you get better results.  Also, if you try to figure things out, when you finally meet someone who understands where you’re failing, and he or she gives you advice, it will make a lot more sense to you.

Anyways, back to our discussion.  Choosing an “It’s your loss” mentality does not help you in the least.  First off, if you’re friends, it will strain your friendship, because you’re now looking down on her.  Second, it won’t help you get the girl.  Third, it will cause you mental agitation and conflict, as you drag hatred around inside yourself.  Fourth, it will keep you from learning from your mistakes, as you’ll always blame the girl’s inferior reasoning capacity, instead of possibly considering you may be the problem.  In conclusion, it only hinders you and inflates your ego, and does not help you achieve the goal you were after anyways.  And if your ego gets too inflated, it will hurt you when you go to pursue other relationships later.  You’re only heading down the road of self ego, and disdain of others.  Go too far down that road and no one will want to be around you.  Hence, a spiral of misery. Such a response is simply a way of running away from failure.

Self-inflated egos can lead to some rather crazy situations.  You’ll be out with some friends and see two grossly overweight women who think they’re God’s gift to sex-appeal.  They approach and say, “Hey there boy, want some of this?”  You refuse, and they leave saying, “Those skinny white guys, they don’t know how to handle a reaallllll woman!”  They can keep telling themselves that, but that’s not what’s even going on.  Don’t let this happen to you.  People who live lies oftentimes congregate together, and hide in their own company.

It’s a good idea to be a little humble.  Most people do not understand how confidence and humility walk side by side.  It’s important to love who you are, and be comfortable in your own skin.  But it’s also important not to think so highly of yourself that you cannot see your own faults.  It’s kind of tricky to see how the two go together.  The secret is understanding that who you are now, is not neccessarily who you have to always be.

If you’re not very smooth or charming around others, don’t lie to yourself.  Always know where you are currently.  But also, you must believe that you can achieve any goal you set your mind to.  Study and practice, and you’ll overcome anything in life.  And don’t beat yourself up when you fail your first times developing and growing.  Everybody’s been there, and you’ll eventually make it too.

I suppose the next topic is, “How do I let go?”  Imagine yourself in some void, where you and the girl exist side by side on some road.  This alternate world is your mind, and attachment to her.  The past mindsets we covered, saying, “You’re no good”, and “It’s your loss”, represent slapping her, and then running off.  The better way to handle things is to shake her hand, wish her well, set yourself in a new direction, and slowly walk away.  Chances are, if you’re attached to her, you didn’t get so attached over night.  It took you a while to get so close to her, and it’ll take a while to get away from her.  But, don’t look back, and just take it one day at a time, moving in a new direction.  Eventually she’ll end up so far in the distance that you can’t even see her anymore.  That’s when you’re over her.  Also, what’s nice about handling things maturely, is that if you run into her on the road of life again, there’s no awkward confrontations, past bitterness, hatred, and all of that.  It’s just two old friends running into each other, which is how it should be.

We should also cover a modern mindset, which view women as commodities.  Everybody’s into this sort of “seduction” movement these days.  All the guys want to be this “player”, or whatever they call themselves.  You talk to them about this situation and they say, “Ah man, don’t worry about that girl.  You know how many women there are out there?” … “There’s more fish in the sea”

I personally do not like such thinking.  It leads to a view that no woman is special, and a find.  There’s always some other woman who can take her place.  Maybe I’m “old fashioned”, but I believe everybody is unique, and each person brings to the world their own unique contribution.  I think if you view all women the same, your knowledge of any of them individually is so shallow, you don’t even have a relationship with them to begin with.

When people view women this way, they put filters on their minds, and tell themselves they know everything there is to know about life.  If you go into anything already thinking you know everything, you’ll never learn anything new.  You’ll ruin the very experience life has to offer, because you’re not even open to receiving it.  There’s similarities between a lot of women, but there’s also some fine subtle distinctions as well.  Then there’s some women I’ve met, who are near completely their own thing.  Maybe it’s just me, but I like attention to detail.  Dumb people think in big vague boxes.  To them, interaction with others is just a sort of hazy emotional experience.  There’s really a lot more though.  One of my favorite philosophers, David Hume, once said that people have a universal tendency to think all people like themselves, and have a strong inclination to attribute to each new person they meet the attributes they are already familiar with.  It’s truly rare to find people who can see outside their own little box of self, and see that not everyone thinks like them, nor should.

But besides filtering life’s experiences, this “more fish in the sea” mindset leads to a view of, “I don’t need you.”  Trouble starts, and people leave, thinking they can always find someone else.  Instead of learning to work things out, they instead keep running around, doing the same mistakes over and over.

But this isn’t about relationships, it’s about handling rejection.  It’s time to conclude this first part.  When rejected, do not look down on the girl.  Do not deny that you still like/love her.  Do not run away.  Put yourself in her shoes if you can, give her the benefit of the doubt, and respect her decision.

This covers the practical aspects of handling rejection.  I’d like to take this issue a lot deeper though.  The second part will be more random, but it’ll be more accurate as to the things I actually thought about when it all happened.

Tags: ,

Topics: Psychology | 27 Comments »

27 Responses to “How To Handle Rejection Like A Man”

Leave A Reply