Here in the rasx() context, the word respect means “look again” and few people I’ve encountered are willing to look at their moments of rejection again. I am very understanding for people who were rejected as a child by members of their own family—especially one’s mother. I credit my mother for providing me the tensile strength to withstand rejection—I have no idea how one can thrive without this lack of strong motherhood. Nevertheless, the rejection apparently heaped upon me for most of my life has taken its toll and I’m told that Bryan, my given name, means “strong” in some Celtic tongue—but this does not mean that my person is indestructible. Rejection is of Biblical proportions. It is one of worst emotional things you can do to a child.
My claim with this little bit of writing is that I’m still strong enough—and adult enough—to look at rejection almost as an old friend. It appears in different forms and slowly reveals itself as a part of a structure that can be clearly described. Thriving with rejection, like living with failure, requires patience and researching concentration.
This is when you are rejected for fear of your rejection. You are fired before you quit. Researching this kind of rejection is easy when you know yourself. When you despise some situation you are in then you are ready to quit. You can be hurt by this kind of rejection when you take pride in your ability to conceal from others what you despise. I don’t have that many faces so I’m pretty much free from pain here.
What’s melancholy about this situation is when the preemptive striker assumes you are going to find their space unattractive. So they decide for you that you are going to reject them—so they reject you before you get your chance. A complicated waste…
Remember this classic: you get turned down because you are “overqualified”? I’ve been told that I “look like” I have a few “girlfriends” stashed away somewhere and Ms. Rejection does not want to be just another one of them. Or, worse, that I “look like” I’m married and this must be a wonderful woman because there is no way this Black man is self-made so well—and Ms. Rejection does not want to be a home-wrecker.
I used to think that this kind of rejection was from a ‘simple’ misunderstanding. But now, with more respect, I see that this is of a more complex architecture that features how people see others as liars and charlatans. The foundations of this building can be so deep that to “prove” them wrong is to merely reveal to them what they do not want to see: to grow up in a den of thieves means you will consistently accuse others of being a thief. I prefer to be in a relationship working in the present with a forward movement—instead of being stuck in such an impoverished past.
Rejecting out of Habit
Some people/institutions receive so many offers per day that they get into the non-conscious habit of rejection. Think of the fate of the unsolicited manuscript. Think of the fate of the guy that is so used to rejection that they attract the habitual impulse to reject from sleep-walking people so used to rejecting others. I’m that type of guy. I’ve been rejected for so long I often forget that I’m quite experienced, capable and qualified. I remember the time I walked out of a car dealership with a brand new car without paying any money down on a 0% interest loan. I was shocked—because I forgot that I’ve been spending years and years improving myself. Had the car dealer read all of the body-language cues that certainly were reeking out of me, he would have passed on a solid customer that has (so far) never missed a payment since the year 2006.
I’ve encountered people who claim to have respect for me yet they fundamentally reject me. Like a highly-educated nutritionist with terrible personal eating habits, these people are under the influence of a religious experience. I use the word religious to describe the kind of person that is essentially corrupt—and this state of corruption is what they call “realistic”—while my practice might be considered “idealistic” or “perfectionist.” These ideals are attractive but are ultimately regarded as impossible to realize—and because of this impossibility, it is “better” to do nothing coherent and run auto-pilot programs inherited from childhood.
I think there are a few very effective responses to this kind of rejection:
- Think of the diabetic that has to take insulin because they know they might fall into a coma. The diabetic’s practice of “perfect” insulin leveling is clearly a necessity that requires continual effort. To regard this work as anything other than a responsible effort for a fact-based reality, is sadly barbaric.
- It is an error to accept that “real” people are corrupt animals and we merely wrap ourselves in a thin veil of religious conviction to swaddle the inner animal.
Rejecting the Attractive
This is a combination of preemptive rejection and rejecting “perfectionism.” This kind rejection is typical between the closet creative that dreams of going public and is attracted to “established” artists. This kind of attraction is often fatal. What is important to understand is that this kind of rejection is a symbol of an internal struggle within the person doing all of this rejection. It’s not really personal.
Rejecting for Lack of Capacity
Sometimes the potential partner is rejecting you because there is no room for acceptance of anyone. One can misunderstand this kind of rejection—especially when the potential partner is unwilling to divulge this lack of capacity. From the outside some people/institutions look like vibrant, bustling enterprises just full of opportunities. But when you get inside…
Rejecting What Is Clearly Inferior
Hey sometimes I’m just not that great. The person rejecting me can clearly find someone else that’s better. Case closed. I’m hurt by this but I’ll get over it. My exalted claim is that I can truly relate to this kind of rejection. I’m not a child so I don’t need people hiding the fact that I might suck at something from me. I did not go to Hooray-for-Everything Summer Camp when I was a kid.
But there is a possible gray zone here: sometimes the vacant position remains open because the person cannot find an acceptable person. This is why patience is so important. Sometimes holding out for the right fit is the right thing to do. Sometimes one can get worried about their “high standards” and maybe one might “settle” for less… I can relate to this kind of worry…
Rejection by Conditional Acceptance
Many marriages are based on rejection by conditional acceptance. This deal simply stated is, “I accept you based on a certain set of conditions that currently don’t exist otherwise I reject you.” Stereotypically, it is usually the woman trying to change the man with the optimistic phrase, “I can change him!” To flip the stereotypical gender roles, all of my relationships that produced children were based on the optimistic phrase, “I can change her!” —which is super crazy… We need to have relationships with people in order to be healthy—not puppets.
The Impermanence of Rejection
Rarely… very, very rarely I am rejected by a person/institution that will accept me later on… I assume that this is rare because it is simply not the American way… There are many, many reasons why permanent rejection of a person (like me) is simply childish:
- To find me utterly and completely useless forever is just ridiculous. I would like to think that the people within my sphere of daily interaction are of certain level of quality… I would like to think that I have the personal power to eliminate people from my daily interaction that are not of this level…
- To assume that your active relationships will never end (including marriages, by the way) such that you don’t need to be contact with possible replacements is literally childish.
- To assume that the person you are rejecting (me) will be so “hurt” by the rejection that no further contact is possible for all eternity is also very, very immature.
The Impermanence of Acceptance
In a vicious, childlike world, rejection is permanent but acceptance is not. Again, too many people call this shit “the real world.” The foundations of courage (which can be mistaken for stupidity) is to be completely unafraid of losing acceptance from the group. The ability to say, “Your group has rejected me. This means your group is a bunch of idiots,” is either idiotic itself or truly brave.
Rejection by conditional acceptance means that you were never accepted in the first place. Too many of the voices I’ve heard speaking of their lives confuse losing acceptance with not being accepted in the first place.
Relationships should be durable. The structure should be strong and have many redundant connections. The architecture of this building says, “I am willing to stay together.” When you truly lose acceptance this means you were warned at least three times that things fall apart. To be “suddenly” kicked out of something means you were barely tolerated.
Rejection for Level of Attainment
Rejection should be more frequent the higher you move “up” in whatever world of practice you are in—this includes I might add the “dating” world. I am very excited to get seriously considered and seriously turned down by some of the top luminaries in whatever field I’ve been playing over the years. At a certain level, any acceptance could mean a dramatic change in lifestyle—this includes the drama of intimate relations.
Rejection for Third-Party Influence
More than once I’ve been rejected because of third-party concerns. So you might want me but you know that your so-called friends/colleagues don’t. For the sake politics, I’m dumped. This stings but works out in the long run because you’ll eventually discover my lack of respect for adults who override their personal desires for superficial politics. It is important, vitally important, to understand that even a CEO of a multi-billion-dollar organization can build relationships based on an architecture drawn from blueprints scrawled out in crayon from childhood. Don’t let all of the wrinkles and trappings fool you: see through all of that.
The Educational Aspect of Rejection
To be told why you are rejected by a holistically professional person is truly a blessing. This data fuels future improvement. I consider this form of education quite rare—especially in my adult years. I strongly suspect that people simply are afraid of making enemies so they avoid telling all—or even just a little bit.
I find this reluctance to tell me why I’m not worthy very upsetting—it’s a lost opportunity to possibly learn something new about me.