It’s your fear of rejection that’s getting you rejected. ~~ Bobbi Palmer
Fear of rejection seems to be the #1 reason we don’t do a lot of things in our lives. It may be why you don’t date. It may be why some people don’t live their dream of being a musician, or ballerina or actor. I know it’s why I often hold back from spreading my message around the world. (I definitely want to shout – but sometimes I only whisper.)
I have a few coaching clients who are struggling with the pain of rejection. Guys who didn’t call, online dating inboxes empty for a few days…it can eat at you. I lived this for many years and I remember how awful it can feel. So I don’t in any way discount it. But getting through it is critical to being able to eventually find that fantastic man to share your life.
Along with empathy, I help these fantastic women by giving them tools and techniques that help them walk through the hurt feelings and get past it. It may knock them down temporarily, but it doesn’t stop them in their tracks. It stings and they move on; many, many to find loving, devoted men to share their lives.
The feeling of rejection IS painful. In fact, research shows that, when we feel the emotion of being rejected, it affects the same area of the brain that registers physical pain. Not surprising.
Here is an article I wrote previously that has helped many women see a side of rejection they have never considered: Why you should THANK a man who rejects you.
This week I got an email from a friend, Bethany. Bethany is a seriously impressive woman. She is a bright and successful entrepreneur, she’s beautiful, sincere, generous, and has ginormous energy that (honestly) exhausts me.
Bethany told me how sad she was that this new guy she’s dating has apparently dumped her. I say “apparently” because Mr. Man had simply disappeared. No call, no tacky text message. Nothing.
So she’s distraught. She really liked this guy and her feelings are hurt. This sudden end, being one among a few recently, has clearly struck a blow to her self-esteem and her hope for finding love.
As any good girlfriend would do, I called Bethany to show my support. I asked her what it is that she likes about this man. As the story unfolds, as she tells me how well they got along, here’s what I’m hearing: the guy breaks dates, doesn’t call when he says he is going to, and when he finally shows up he arrives late. Great guy indeed. But you know the drill: Bethany is convinced that he’s this great guy.
So I tell her: he’s a jerk! I tell her how sad it makes me that she’s letting herself fall for these types of guys. I tell her that there are so many considerate, interesting, attractive men out there hoping to meet a woman like her. These others — the ones she’s been going for — are simply grownup boys. They are players. They’re not looking for a fabulous woman or any meaningful connection. They’re simply looking for someone to stroke their ego and probably their “little friend.” They’re not necessarily bad men, they’re just not men who could fully participate in a grownup relationship.
Bethany – my beautiful, brilliant, accomplished friend – falls for these guys and falls quickly. Once she does, presto! They can do no wrong. She excuses their bad behavior. She’ll tell me: he canceled our date at the last minute because he had a migraine, he never showed because he had car trouble, he was inattentive because he was tired…blah blah blah. You know the drill. We’ve all been there. And the final blow after being mistreated by these guys: it’s they who ultimately reject us.
I see this too often with the women I know and coach in their dating relationships. Happens when we’re dating at 30, 40, 50 and beyond; we all do it at some point in our lives. Some of us are still doing it. It’s a trap that worthy, smart, beautiful women fall into. I certainly did it over and over myself until I healed and felt worthy enough to say “no” until I found the man of my dreams.
You probably already know this is all tied up with self-esteem issues. We know that, and we know we need to work on it. I’m not going to belabor that here. (Yet I will be giving you some great exercises to do for this in the near future.)
What I do want to tell you is why we need to thank these men who disappoint and reject us. Yep – I want you to start Thanking Them. Knowing how to do this may not solve your ultimate issue of falling for the wrong men, but it sure will help you feel better until you do.
Next time I’ll (not so proudly) my story of the years I spent loving a man who could never have made me happy. He knew it long before I did. And I thank him every day of my new, spectacular life.
(You can read Part Two here.)