First of all, one has to appreciate the sensitivity of the problem of rejection. It is one human being saying to the other – keep away, I don’t want you around me now. It is liable to hit exactly in the center of our ego.
Thankfully most social rejections are subtle. Like it says in the psychology books, we play many games with each other. Saying “Hi”, sharing a joke, participating in a yoga activity together……all in the process of building intimacy. So there are many layers of social contact and we can choose to keep a relationship at a distance if that’s where the comfort level is for us. Once we find the right distance, then both people are happy 🙂 There was not any need for an explicit “No” message.
Explicit rejections are tougher. They can occur in the context of romance or even with friends who want more contact than you want to give and who don’t take the subtle hints. In these cases , the “No” has to be arrived at by you or by the other person. In my own case, I have had to dish out a “No” when I don’t have the energy to meet the needs of the other person without making me feel like I am losing something. ( I believe ALL our actions are dictated by needs : http://www.cnvc.org) . Or at times where I don’t trust that the other party will respect the boundaries that have currently been set by us and it is a question of unclear boundaries . So I am wanting to protect my own space and integrity by ending the discomfort such a relationship is causing me. Having said this so rationally , it is still a difficult position to be in – the GIVER of a NO. It sometimes leaves one with the guilt if the other party sort of broke down and slithered away . Or with nervousness and anger and tiredness if the other party calls one names like selfish and sends one innumerable sms’s. There is the crazier plane of the stalkers, where a “No” seems even more exciting to receive and then they are hooked to you by your negative replies. Anyways, it definitely seems an art to learn – how to give a “No”.
Nonviolent Communication gives one method called “Saying No Joyfully”, refer their site or write to me for more on this.
Hearing a “No” message is no easier. Sometimes I think if the other person had communicated to me more, I would have been more satisfied. I don’t think that is true any longer. I do think that a certain level of communication helps, especially in acknowledging our vulnerability for exposing ourselves to the other person. But the message has to be received and understood at our end completely. Sometimes it feels like from our end we have clearly miscalculated what it is we can expect from the other person. But we also seem to have transcribed onto them something special like “they can give me security” etc. which is not real. So the process seems three stepped – 1) to actually hear the other persons No and set the boundary from our end there and let go. This means that if the other person comes back then its good but that is in less than 5% of the cases. So for 95% of the cases, we have to move on. Infact, I have not had anyone saying a No change their mind later on on me unless my own circumstances changed. I don’t know what your past is telling you on that. At times you might get lucky in being able to understand why the other person made the choice of rejection by what the communicate to you. But often, you only have a guess. 2) To find out what expectations we have had from them – love, security etc. 3) Thirdly and most importantly – Move the expectations to where there can be possibilities of gratification. Eg. an old friend, mother, some mentor etc.
Sometimes I find, I run from one “No” to the other “No”, hurting myself deeply. That brings me to my favorite topic – hooked to rejection !! 🙂 A flippant way to the devastating reality of social rejection. Please have a read at my earlier blog post on Hooked to Negativity and also the one on Addictions.
Note: Everything is in the personal narration on this topic, as any other way of narration sounds patronizing to me.