Rejection! Oomph, doesn’t that sometimes feel like a modern-day life or death scenario? Your fight or flight responses get engaged. Or you might even preemptively avoid it because you don’t want to deal with all the different scenarios playing out in your head.
Why does hearing the word “no” often create such a gut wrenching reaction or even something we avoid?
Instead of being upfront with someone, we come out with the roundabout “no” answers. “Maybe, I’ll think about it” = no. Saying a lackluster “yah, totally” or pacifying “that sounds good” but never following up on it = no. Detouring the conversation to avoid giving an answer = no. And we’ve ALL heard of the term “ghosting” when it comes to dating = noooope and I don’t want to tell you directly.
“While we have absolutely no control over the actions of others, we do have total and complete control over how we react. What if we decided to make each no we received and every rejection we encountered something that empowers us? Instead of avoiding rejection, what if we made the decision to seek rejection? Instead of avoiding no or perhaps simply tolerating it, what if we went out of our way to actually go for no!”
―Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz, author of “Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There”
Seeing rejection differently
Exactly like that quote mentioned, what if we normalized rejection and sought it out instead? In dating and relationships, instead of putting up a “best self” persona and hiding our weaknesses and quirks, what if we were just upfront and open about the various aspects of ourselves? Doesn’t that just feel easier and less complicated?
Instead of hiding and playing small to avoid rejection or judgment, what if you showed up exactly as you are? Because keeping up a facade is exhausting. Any inauthentic persona will eventually crumble. The truth always comes out.
So what if we didn't see being ourselves as not enough?
Being able to show up completely as yourself is EMPOWERING.
Putting yourself out there takes COURAGE.
Not giving a shit about what others think is LIFE CHANGING.
Rejection nowadays is far from a life and death scenario, but somehow our lizard brains are still interpreting it as so. And that’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be. You can retrain your mind to see it differently.
“No” is empowering
Think of the times that you’ve said “no” to other people. Why did you say “no” to them? It’s because you were choosing yourself, setting your boundaries, and prioritizing something else instead. Saying “no” empowers you because it was your choice. And that is YOUR right. Respect each other’s “no”.
“No” means “yes” to something else
If that person said “no”, that means you can now go find someone else who would say “yes” to you instead. You’re not wasting your time and effort on someone who’s wishy washy nor fully invested. This should be liberating! “No” releases you from dead weight.
“No” as temporal
“No” doesn’t mean “never”. It could just be a “not yet” because it might just be bad timing right now. So don’t give up, and you can just ask again later.
“No” is just feedback
You can respond with a “why not?” and learn from it. Don’t assume why they said “no”. There’s no harm in asking additional follow up questions. That extra step allows you to learn why and take it as feedback—maybe there was just a miscommunication, maybe it’s bad timing, or maybe they don’t see the value in what you’re asking. Then YOU have the power to decide how to react and move on.
So the next time you hear “no”, treat it as if someone said “thingamabob” (or whatever random word you can think of). It’s just a label. You don’t have to give it any additional meaning to it or even take it personally. Choose to see “no” from a positive point of view and determine what you could learn from it.
Let the no's you get empower you.
Psst, the featured photo is by Cottonbro via pexels