It seems that every other week, some self-improvement guru comes out with a video series that depicts them engaging in humiliating exploits in order to challenge themselves to face rejection. From pranksters such as Vitaly and Simple PickUp to award winning TEDTalkers such as Tim Ferris and Tony Robbins, success psychology experts all push their followers to get past their fear of rejection by going out and purposely getting rejected.
In most cases, rejection rarely feels as bad as it is. Some of the most humiliating rejections my lads and I have faced turn into hilarious stories we laugh about with each other over and over again. However, not all rejections are created equal. Some rejections cut deep. Some rejections can psychologically debilitate for months and years. These can include: unrequited love, a shattered dream, a break up, etc.
These cases of rejection are not something that you can just laugh off. Trying to suppress it or trying to pretend that you are too good to feel it just makes things worse in the long run. In fact, studies show that in some cases, rejected love can have similar psychological effects as drug withdrawals.
Whether you believe that love is a biopsychological clusterfudge* of hormones or that love has a deeper universal meaning that transcends human knowledge, we can all agree that love, in some form, is something we all want in our lives. Speaking poetically from a spiritual standpoint: I see love as a decree from a higher power; it is given to us as a blessing or as a test. We don’t get to decide what we get. Hard rejection is one of those tests and how we choose to respond to it determines whether we will be given future blessings or whether we will live cursed.
Let us take a look at how we can pass this test.
Step One: Do Not Curse What You Cannot Have
Friday, May 23, 2014. Two weeks before I graduated UCSB. I was getting dressed to go out and party for possibly the last time as an undergrad. Two blocks away, the sounds of crackling fireworks rippled through the air. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! I smiled. Good old Isla Vista. I’m going to miss this place.
I receive a text: Possible gang shooting. Black BMW. Stay inside.
Being the crime specialist for the University newspaper, I arrived on scene to discover something far more horrendous: some rich kid who could not lose his virginity whilst living in our college community had gone on a drive-by-killing spree.
Seven dead. 15 wounded. Personally, I knew one dead, two wounded. All because some kid could not lose his virginity.
I have spent years cursing his name and fantasizing all the things I would do to him if I could just have five minutes alone with him in a room. In the end, all there is left to do is to forgive, empathize, and do my best to prevent him from ever happening again. To do this, I must be the change I want to see in the world; I must rise above.
We human beings, man or woman, all have the natural tendency to show contempt towards those who reject our advances in love, friendship, or career.
Rejection is a painful reality of life and ego is often the only that protects us from that pain. However, choosing to act on ego leads us to deviate from our true desires and purposes.
What we want at any given time is a reflection of who we are as individuals. Thus when curse someone or something we cannot have, we are essentially cursing ourselves. In exchange for temporary release from pain, we turn our backs to true selves.
Cursing our rejecter, whether it is done externally or internally, weakens our will to pursue what we desire. In many cases, it can even distort our desires in a manner that has us chasing what we do not actually want for years.
I want to borrow a powerful sports analogy. Ever heard of the name Serafim Todorov? He is the only man to have defeated Floyd Mayweather. The reason why you have not heard of this Bulgarian boxer is because after Todorov defeated 19-year old Mayweather in the 1996 Olympics, he lost the gold medal match and then proceeded to rage-quit boxing. Todorov is now in his 40s living on government welfare. He turned his back on his greatest passion because of one rejection.
How often do we do this with love? One partner breaks our heart, one badboy steals the dream girl, one bitchy cheer captain takes the dream guy, and then we say fudge* this and then spend years abusing ourselves to spite them?
Take the pain. Take the embarrassment. Take the gossip. Take the pity and humiliation even. Just don’t take precious time out of your life pursuing distractions. Distractions are the universe’s answer and punishment for bad ego: a failure for the test of rejection.
Step Two: Love Without Possession
“If you love a flower, do not pick it up. When you do, it ceases to become a flower.” Osho.
Before you declare your love for someone or something, you must answer these questions.
- Do you love the person or do you love what that person can do for YOU?
- Do you care more about their well-being or your desires and your feeling of significance?
- Would you take a bullet for someone that that person loves in place of you to spare that person pain? Or would you instead see an opportunity for self-advancement?
If you answered these questions in a way that dictates selfish intent, then you need to look in a mirror, tell yourself that you are full of crap, and then move on. That person owes you nothing and has his or her own life’s journey to embark upon. Their choices and their experiences –mistakes even- have no obligation to include you.
If you answered these questions selflessly, then you also need to look in a mirror, congratulate yourself on being an awesome human being, and then move on. It won’t be easy but the best way you can honor that person is to give them space and then find the peace to move on.
You owe it to yourself and if the following is what you need to hear, you owe it to the person you care about. A wise man said that the greatest gift you can give to someone you love is freedom. This includes freedom from causing you pain. No good person wants to be burdened by the fact that they are causing you pain.
Love without possession. Ultimately, this positive attitude will lead you to carry yourself in a way that will attract the right kind of people and bring them into your life.
Step Three: Do Not Seek Approval
So you are into someone. You do everything you can do please them. You compare yourself to the people that person fancies. You give up your hobbies and interests to accommodate theirs. You take every opportunity to be overly helpful and to make sure they know about it.
You are being a little brownie* about it is what you are. The moment you start seeking approval is the moment that person’s attention just became more valuable somewhere else.
It is very hard to love and accept someone who is seeking approval, even amongst family members. To even a compassionate person, it feels intrusive and revoltingly pitiful. To a person of lesser character, you are fresh meat to be used and discarded.
People are not moved nor attracted towards those they pity, people are moved by those who endure and prove them wrong.
Experts say that in any relationship, the person who loves the least controls the relationship. Find a relationship where that factor is completely irrelevant. Why put yourself in that position by forcing what is not meant to be? Never seek approval.
Step Four: Self-Love and Self Improvement
I am entirely convinced that it is impossible to love another to your fullest capacity unless you first love yourself.
If you do not first love yourself, you will constantly use your partner as a method of fulfilling a void or as an escape from an internal struggle.
From my observation, a multitude of problems arise in relationships where one individual has low self-esteem including: clinginess, excessive jealousy, possessiveness, abuse, and general unhappiness.
If you have read this far into my article, it is safe for me to assume that you have someone that you really need to get out of your head. The intense love you feel for this special someone else needs to be recalled and bestowed upon yourself. It is a process that can take an excruciating amount of time and effort but it is worth it.
When you love yourself, you put yourself on path to becoming the best version of you. Ultimately, the passionate best version of you will be the one that attracts love into your life.
Furthermore, you deserve the best version of that other person. You deserve someone that will be crazy to see you on your worst day. Love yourself and set standards for who gets to comes into your life -gates that even your “soulmate” must pass through.
There is a difference between romance and love. Not everybody will win at the romance game. That is just the cold hard reality. However, everyone can win at love because everyone has one person they can love: oneself.
Step Five: GET YOUR ASS UP AND MOVE ON
I wanted to save this one for the very end because I get how tough it can be.
If you are hurt in a way that cuts deep, you don’t want people to come tell you to suck it up. You don’t want people to tell you that your pain is irrelevant or not unique. In fact, you would rather be destroyed by the pain than to move on because uncertainty is a lot more unbearable than torture. However, you need to choose uncertainty.
It’s okay to be human. It’s okay to break. It’s okay to be pathetic every once in a while. It’s okay to not be positive. However, it’s NOT okay to quit. It is NOT okay to wallow in self-pity for months and years on end. It is selfish if you think about it. All that potential you have. All the gifts you have to offer to the world. Wasted because of another person’s choice to not include you in their life?
I want you to read this Vice article on what happens to the lucky few people who finally hook up with their life-long crush. Crushed expectations. Broken hearts. Used. Almost all of them. Why? One person loved more than the other.
No one is going to come save you. You are responsible for how you feel. No one else. Again, in the end of the day, people are not moved by pity; people are moved by endurance. People are touched by those who get back up.
Genetically, the end game of romance is procreation. Who wants the father or the mother of their child to be unable to recover from setback? Think in cave man terms. If you and your partner have a child and you get eaten by sabertooth tiger, would you want your partner to keep going, find a new mate, and raise your child? Or would you want them to sulk over you for the rest of their life, letting your kid die in the process?
Get up. Get back out there. Heal Yourself. Build yourself. Fix the inside. The outside will come.
The only chance you have with that person who rejected you is if you move on and love yourself. Oh, and do not wait for anybody. That is not loving yourself. Focus on you and build yourself into someone that that person can actually come back to.
There exists a certain unexplained phenomenon of common occurrence: things come to you when you stop needing them. The people that truly matter to you will come back. If they don’t, then you wouldn’t care then anyways.