Learning to Embrace Rejection

Embracing Rejection

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases “Rejection is protection” and “Rejection is redirection.” I wish I had fully embraced the truth in their words BEFORE experiencing the inherent rejection present in online dating. But, as they say, better late than never.

I ultimately wrote “Online Dating for Sensitive Women” in hopes of protecting others from the struggles I experienced. Honestly, when I was dating following my divorce, the rejection felt brutal!

There were many men who never responded to my messages, texted me endlessly without showing genuine interest, and even those who ghosted me after we established what I thought was a connection. With every perceived rejection, my already low self-esteem plummeted further.

The Pain WAS Worth It

But, get this – I am now grateful for all that rejection! It shocks me that I can appreciate the beauty in the struggle because, for close to two years, I felt like an open wound. The pain didn’t let up until I focused on self-love and finally attracted the man who fully embraced me heart and soul.

Experiencing true love and support for the first time was worth all the temporary heartache. Still, it didn’t have to be so hard! I wish I knew then what I know now, which is why I am sharing it with you.

I now see clearly why all those other relationships failed miserably. They had to! Otherwise, I never would have ended up in the relationship that was right for me.

This sounds all rosy and sweet. Yet, I must admit, it is not nearly that simple for me. Rejection continues to slap me in the face with regards to my career and relationships.

Turns out, being rejected is a big part of this being human thing. I’m learning that once I embrace the inherent value in it, life becomes a lot easier. Let’s explore.

“Not For You!”

To begin, I’m reminded of what a therapist taught me when I was first embarking on my online dating adventures. A woman skilled at tough love, she was not amused by my insistence that the men I was meeting were all just misunderstood and in need of more love.

I shudder as I think about that version of myself. I thought it was my job to feel bad for and fix EVERY man I met! No wonder why it was so difficult to find the right person. Naively believing everyone could be the “one” caused me to waste a lot of energy.

That therapist spent a good portion of our sessions repeating, “Not for you! He’s not for you!” while shaking her head in disbelief. She had to explain to me that, given my history of narcissistic abuse, I had to be on alert for manipulation. She cringed when I detailed how wonderful the new man I had met seemed to be – showering me with compliments and sweeping me off my feet with fun dates.

I kept thinking, “Geez lady, why are you so negative? I am finally happy. What could go wrong?” She already knew the answer that I would abruptly learn a few months later. Like all charming narcissists, he was just love bombing me and would eventually grow tired of giving me all that attention.

Sighhhhh. Turns out we aren’t that great at picking the relationships or situations that are healthiest for us. Our past experiences, perceptions, and desires often cloud our present view.

That seasoned therapist was trying to teach me the importance of detaching from my emotions and expectations to see things as they really were, not how I wanted them to be. It is a big piece of the rejection lesson.

When a situation implodes, it is often because it simply wasn’t meant for us. If we can lean into that truth with acceptance rather than fighting it, we can move on much more quickly and with far less pain.

You Are Not for Everyone

Just as some connections are not positive for us, the opposite scenario is also unfortunately true. We are not for everyone.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a reminder of this concept. I had been listening to a podcast that I had been a guest on and was wondering if what I shared regarding dating safety tips would be well received [I AM My Passion Project].

I felt divinely supported when a reading from Rebecca Campbell started to play immediately after in my Spotify account. She was sharing a powerful chapter from her book, “Light is the New Black.*” [Listen here or read on] You Are Not For Everyone

This gentle reminder is similar to what I shared in “Online Dating for Sensitive Women”:

You can be the most delicious, refreshing cup of tea, yet you will still not be the “cup of tea” for a man who only drinks coffee.

From an energetic perspective, it is important to remember that healthy connections feed each other so that both parties can thrive. We must choose the people and situations that are mutually beneficial, or we are destined for discomfort and unhappiness.

Rejection Is Protection from the Universe

Understanding rejection from an intellectual perspective is quite simple. Of course, we should choose people who choose us, and vice versa. Of course, we should only say “yes” to relationships that feel like a healthy fit. However, life is a lot more complicated than that. Very few issues are that black-and-white or based solely on intellect.

What I like to consider when thinking about “Rejection as protection” is that a higher power is always willing to step in on our behalf. This belief is particularly helpful if you struggle with codependency or people-pleasing, as I do. When you want to be kind, you don’t want to reject anyone. It feels really cruel to do so, even if it is in the best interest of everyone involved.

What if rejection is just the Universe’s way of protecting us by stripping away things that we don’t have the power to say “no” to? It is an intriguing thought.

It points again to the idea that rather than being sad when experiencing rejection, we can instead be grateful that we were spared from heading down the wrong path. “Let go and let God” is a helpful mantra for those who wish to embrace this spiritual approach.

Rejection Is Redirection

On a similar note, seeing rejection as redirection is another positive and very accepting way to navigate life. You’ve assuredly heard, “When one door closes, another door opens.”

The follow-up to that statement is that we often spend so much time fixated on the closed door that we overlook the open one. The key with rejection is to use it to pivot quickly.

So that date you thought was going to be great turns into a dud. Or, the job you thought would be perfect doesn’t pan out. NEXT! There are so many other opportunities out there. The better fit could be just around the corner.

Allow yourself a moment to feel sad and even grieve the loss of what you hoped would happen, and then let it go. There is a certain momentum to life, so it is best to keep moving forward in the direction of what you desire. This could look like continuing to pursue new opportunities, or it could mean taking some time to heal anything that could be blocking your progress. Trust your instincts as to the door that feels best.

Rejection Is an Opportunity for Reflection 

The final benefit of rejection that is particularly transformative is that it offers us the chance to reflect on our lives. While it might be fun to blame everything on the Universe or to assume everyone else is the problem, it is also important to consider what we might be doing wrong.

Spoiler alert – we are always part of the problems in our lives! I had to come to that painful conclusion when I realized that I kept attracting and then staying in narcissistic relationships. I was a narcissist magnet because I focused primarily on being agreeable and being liked. I rarely stopped to consider my own feelings or if I actually liked the narcissistic people and unhealthy situations I kept encountering.

I feared rejection so much that I bent myself into a pretzel, trying to be what the other person wanted me to be rather than who I really was. This not only made me easy to manipulate, but it crushed my spirit. We can’t shine fully if we don’t honor and embrace ourselves exactly as we are.

In addition, it is interesting to now understand that narcissistic people reject everyone, even themselves. They are incredibly insecure, but they hide that behind a mask of arrogance and denial. The very people I was trying desperately to please or have accept me were totally incapable of ever even seeing me, or themselves, clearly.

Likewise, since narcissistic individuals are bottomless pits of need and greed, there was no way I was ever going to make any of them happy. While leaving narcissistic relationships initially felt mean and hurtful, I must now accept that it was the only way to break the unhealthy attraction that was keeping all parties stuck.

Besides, prioritizing another person’s expectations of us ultimately means rejecting our own. Being rejected by others is inevitable. But you must never reject yourself if you are going to live the happy, healthy life that is meant for you. ❤️

UPDATE 3/1/24: I got some really wonderful feedback from readers saying that this topic was something they needed, so I filmed two videos for a more personal #CompassionateChat: On Embracing Rejection https://youtu.be/R1Sdm05J0qM and Accepting Rejection in Online Dating https://youtu.be/fYiWRGBgxNM

Michelle Gibeault Traub is a health writer, compassionate coach, and the author of Free From Narcissists and Online Dating for Sensitive Women. Her mission is to help women be their best in body, mind & spirit. Sign up for Michelle’s FREE Gifts – The Natural Healing Toolkit and 33 Ways to Add More Joy to Your Life.

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