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A Personal Reminder Re: Rejection

Rejection is an intensely personal experience.

What I have to keep reminding myself is that in the vast majority of cases, the person rejecting me is rejecting me because of their own

  • preferences
  • hang-ups
  • delusions
  • emotional baggage
  • schedule
  • misunderstandings
  • confusion
  • etc…

Rare is it that I’m being rejected for a genuine flaw or failing on my part that would be rejection-worthy when looking at everything objectively.

The reason this is hard for me to remember when I’ve just been rejected is that rejection always comes at me from the second-person.  ”I reject you.”  (Or more realistically, “I’m not interested in you.”)

Example: I talk. A lot. I’m always careful to keep the other person engaged, but for all the questions and attentiveness, the verbosity can still be a turn-off for others.  I believe a recent rejection was due to this quality.

My gut reaction was to think, “I was just rejected because I talk too much.”

WRONG.  We (I) have to stop thinking about it that way.  I need to remember that rejection is really about the other person.  In this example, I had to tell myself, “He rejected me because he prefers someone who is quieter or more pensive.”

I also need to remember that although rejection is about the other person more often than it’s about me, this doesn’t mean I should ignore the flaws and failings in my own life and say that people should just accept me - and them - as-is.  

It’s a delicate balance that I always struggle to maintain.

Birthdays = Roller Coasters…kinda

Birthdays are like roller coasters:

When you’re young, they’re a big deal. Everyone goes apeshit-bonkers when yours rolls around. When you get in the car, the first hill takes a month to climb. You count every day and announce it loudly to everyone around you: “ONLY 27 DAYS LEFT!” What’s more, everyone within earshot goes even more apeshit-bonkers: “HOLY FUCKSTICKS! YESSSSSSSSSS! BIRTHDAY! YOU YOU YOU! BIRTHDAY! AWESOME! YOU!!!! PARTY? WHEEEEEE!” When you reach the apex, the descent is as if into madness. The hill is steep, exhilarating, and everything - or more - than you ever hoped it could be. You might even throw up, it’s so awesome. When the event is over, you feel satisfied and exhausted. As you round the bend, you scan the line and think, “Only 365.25 days until the next one!”

When you’re in your early 20s, the hill doesn’t last very long, and most of the attention you draw to it is to tell everyone else in the car what’s going to happen when you go over the top: “Okay, guys. Two weeks left until I am getting SOOOOOOOO shiftfaced! Who’s with me?!” Everyone is with you, and most of those people will be shoving you down the hill - not that you need the help accelerating. Their excitement near-matches the level expressed during your childhood.  However, you suspect they’re more excited for your party/celebration than for the fact that it’s your birthday. But they bring you cards and gifts and shots, so you are okay with that. You black out halfway down the hill, which seems shorter than the one you careened down in your childhood. Moreover, when you come to the end of the ride, your first thought isn’t “I can’t wait to do that again,” it’s “I think I’m gonna skip class/call in sick tomorrow.”

When you’re my age, the hill barely exists. When you look back at the cars, only a few people are seated with you, and they all look quite bored and disinterested. “Uh…my birthday is tomorrow!” you say, trying to build the excitement. You can tell it’s going to be a good one (sarcastic) because it’s the first time in your life when you’ve received more birthday greetings from companies soliciting your hard-earned money than from your own friends and family. At the top of the shallow hill, you brace yourself for the drop only to find that there isn’t so much of a drop as a slight decrease in elevation. One or two people cheer out of pity. “Ohhhh, yay! This is…fun…!” But there’s always someone who is more realistic: “Hm. We just dropped two feet and you turned [##]. Congrats…. Hey, do you guys wanna do brunch this weekend?  I’ve got a Groupon I need to use.” As the ride concludes, you notice all the kids in line.  Some of them have already thrown up.  Some are being carted around on the shoulders of everyone else, chanting, “BIRTHDAY!  YOU YOU YOU!  BIRTHDAY!  WHEEEEE!” You hate them a little.

….Okay, you hate them a lot.

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