I don’t believe in rejection.

Don’t get my wrong, I’ve experienced what most people think of as “rejection.” Not getting the job, the opportunity, or the guy. In fact, my high school sweetheart unceremoniously ended our 6-year relationship—and our engagement—over the phone. Ouch.

But I don’t see it as a rejection.

Rejection is defined as:

The dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc., or the spurning of a person’s affections.

The first part of this definition is easy enough to stomach, but the second part—spurning someone’s affection—gets to the heart of why the thought of rejection is such a potent negative experience for most people. To spurn is to:

Reject with disdain or contempt.

Reject means to:

Dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one’s taste.

When a person says they were “rejected,” what they usually mean is that they were inadequate, inappropriate, or were an object of disdain or contempt because of another person’s “no.”

But is that really the case? If you ask a person to dance with you, to go out on a date, or to marry you and they say no, does it mean you are inadequate? Not a bit.

If I don’t book a job, I like to see it not as a rejection but as a redirection to something different.

—Bella Hadid

In the mid-1980s I dated a nice man who had a lot going for him. He was successful, kind, funny, and generous. So generous that one of the reasons I ended our relationship when I did was because he was getting into serious negotiations to buy a house that he wanted us to live in together—after we got married. I didn’t want him to buy the house believing that I was going to live with, or marry, him.

Although I liked him as a person, I didn’t feel the kind of attraction to him that I wanted to feel toward someone with whom I would choose to be in a long-term committed relationship. So I ended the relationship.

Did I reject him? He would probably say yes. But I believe that seeing another person’s choices or decisions as being about our own inadequacies or deficiencies is actually self-centered—and just plain wrong. Not to mention the painful, stressful feelings that come with the thought: “She rejected me.”

There was nothing wrong with him. He was not defective. In fact, he was married within two years to someone else.

I wanted a different partner. And that was about me. Who else could it be about?

I believe that rejection is a blessing because it’s the universe’s way of telling you that there’s something better out there.

—Michelle Phan

When someone “rejects” us what they are saying is that in the moment they want something different. They want to make a different choice.

Rejecting rejection means that you realize that what other people do is about them—their own sensibilities, preferences, choices, and many other factors you will probably never know. In fact, some people “reject” others because they feel so unworthy that they can’t allow themselves to accept the other person’s attention or affection. Should the other personal feel “rejected?” Of course not.

When you believe that another person’s choice is about you or that if you were somehow different or better they would want to be with you or accept you, you turn yourself into a quantifiable, commodified object, and you live under the false belief that what other people do is about you, rather than about them. And those thoughts will cause you to suffer.

People make choices and do what they do for their own reasons. Reject rejection, and be free.

Rejection


© Victoria Priya, LCSW [formerly Vicki Tidwell Palmer] (2018)

Radiant Threefold Path articles are protected by U.S. copyright laws, and may not be reproduced, distributed, or re-published without written permission of the author.
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19 Comments

  1. Janine R on May 4, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Dear Vicki
    Thank you so much for writing this very helpful blog. One full year after my sex addicted partner of 17 years walked away from our relationship, (having cited all the many faults he saw in me as his reasons for leaving) I continue to hurt and blame myself for being and doing so many things “wrong”. I get caught in the exact thinking that you describe in this blog. Moments before reading it I had finished my daily meditation for self forgiveness which I play frequently to help me release self blame. Your blog has helped me let go a bit more. Thank you.

    • Vicki Tidwell Palmer on May 4, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Janine, I am so glad that this post was helpful for you!

      Rejecting rejection is such a difficult concept to grasp because most of us have a deeply ingrained habit of taking other people’s actions personally. It is so freeing to put the responsibility for choices where it belongs—on the person making the choice.

  2. Janine R on May 4, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Dear Vicki
    Thank you so much for writing this very helpful blog. One full year after my sex addicted partner of 17 years walked away from our relationship, (having cited all the many faults he saw in me as his reasons for leaving) I continue to hurt and blame myself for being and doing so many things “wrong”. I get caught in the exact thinking that you describe in this blog. Moments before reading it I had finished my daily meditation for self forgiveness which I play frequently to help me release self blame. Your blog has helped me let go a bit more. Thank you.

  3. Janine R on May 4, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Dear Vicki
    Thank you so much for writing this very helpful blog. One full year after my sex addicted partner of 17 years walked away from our relationship, (having cited all the many faults he saw in me as his reasons for leaving) I continue to hurt and blame myself for being and doing so many things “wrong”. I get caught in the exact thinking that you describe in this blog. Moments before reading it I had finished my daily meditation for self forgiveness which I play frequently to help me release self blame. Your blog has helped me let go a bit more. Thank you.

    • Vicki Tidwell Palmer on May 4, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Janine, I am so glad that this post was helpful for you!

      Rejecting rejection is such a difficult concept to grasp because most of us have a deeply ingrained habit of taking other people’s actions personally. It is so freeing to put the responsibility for choices where it belongs—on the person making the choice.

  4. Leigh on May 20, 2018 at 2:15 am

    This is the first time visiting your blog and I can already tell I will be here a lot more often! Wise words and a positive way to reframe things. Thank you for your work in the support of those who have been betrayed. I am thankful for any wisdom to help me in the journey of healing.

    • Vicki Tidwell Palmer on May 21, 2018 at 9:53 am

      Thanks so much Leigh!

  5. Leigh on May 20, 2018 at 2:15 am

    This is the first time visiting your blog and I can already tell I will be here a lot more often! Wise words and a positive way to reframe things. Thank you for your work in the support of those who have been betrayed. I am thankful for any wisdom to help me in the journey of healing.

    • Leigh on May 20, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      In thinking more about this though sometimes rejection is a reflection that we need to look inward and maybe change some things about ourselves, don’t you think? If we are always denying we have anything to refine in our own behaviour we may fall into a cycle of constantly being rejected, when it may in fact have something to do with a needed change in ourselves. I don’t know if it’s always helpful to just think it’s just the other person. But I do agree that I think most of us tend to weight the blame and negativity on ourselves in rejection, when it is indeed just a change in direction.

      • Vicki Tidwell Palmer on May 21, 2018 at 10:13 am

        Hi Leigh, I see your point . . . and I stick to rejecting rejection.

        The dangerous part about going down the path that maybe it’s a change we need to make in ourselves is that we are looking to the outside to figure out whether or not we are okay. I have seen too many people, surrounded by energy draining, self-centered people who are repeatedly told that their boundaries are selfish or that they’re creating barriers in the relationship, when it is really the same self-centered people who are unwilling to accept healthy, positive change in the other person. In healthy relationships, a person who is having problems with another person’s behavior would share that with them and ask for a change of behavior, etc. Then the other person gets to decide whether they want to alter their behavior, etc.

        When in doubt, assume it is not you! Other people are always, 100% responsible for their choices.

        • Leigh on May 25, 2018 at 8:56 am

          I can see your point. Thank you for responding. Your interaction with your posts is very enlightening.

          • Vicki Tidwell Palmer on May 25, 2018 at 9:24 am

            You’re welcome Leigh!



    • Vicki Tidwell Palmer on May 21, 2018 at 9:53 am

      Thanks so much Leigh!

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