Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Take on Rejection. It 'Ain't' About You.

I want to let you in on a little secret. Rejection happens to all of us. No matter the race, age, physical features, gender, education, intelligence or lack thereof, sexuality, class, or bank balance.  Even the strikingly attractive get rejected: we only see the ‘yeses’ while we never get to see the ‘no’s’. We tend to take rejection personally as a verdict on how physically, socially, and interpersonally attractive (or unattractive) we are. We have to remember that for the vast majority of cases rejection is not about us. There are a number of reasons why someone is not interested in us, and nearly all of them have very little to do with us in totality. They may have rejected our offer - but not necessarily us.

Here is why I think we are rejected in our attempts to be romantically or erotically involved.  

Sometimes the person is just not into you. We all have preferences and an idea of whom or what we are looking for and it is not always you. Just because we meet someone we like does not mean they will like you. And I would gamble good money that there is someone who would love to be romantically involved with you that you have no intention of returning the affection. And there is nothing wrong with that. No one should have to apologize for his or her predilections. Like my pastor says, the reason Baskin Robbins has so many flavors is not everyone has the same tastes. You may choose vanilla ice cream over chocolate. Nothing against chocolate, you just prefer vanilla. You may not be what the person who rejected you wants, but someone out there likes your flavor and is waiting scoop you up.

Some people are just not capable of committing beyond a friendship or sex. They are emotionally unavailable, not mature enough, not ready to stop having multiple sex partners, or just cannot be trusted. So they push you away in order to continue being a free agent.

Maybe the rejection is a way to spare us some major drama down the road. God's Universe is always looking out for us. Just like when we get ready to go someplace we lose our keys. That may be God’s way of guarding you from some impending danger that you would otherwise encounter. We get mad and frustrated when we don’t get what we want when in reality our lives may have just been saved. 

A sports metaphor may be appropriate here. Every football team has an offensive coordinator that sits high up in a booth and who calls plays for the offense. The offense may not like the play the coordinator sends down, or even understand why it’s called. But the coordinator sees the whole field and not just what the players see in their immediate view. He sees the entire field and orchestrates a play that will get you positive yards. Just think of God’s Universe as the offensive coordinator. That play – the rejection – was designed to see that you get positive yards downfield and not be stopped cold for a loss.

Perhaps the person is unsure of what they actually feel. Or worse, they are in denial of what they feel. The easiest thing to do in that situation is run. The problem is that they wind up running over, past or through you. Or maybe they actually do know what they feel but are afraid. Again, the fear winds up making you a casualty in a private war pitting their heart against their head.  

Some people are just intimidated. Insecure people are easily intimated. This is a form of self rejection; you just happen to get caught in the mix. Some people just cannot deal with a strong or goal oriented or secure person. Their own insecurities and feelings of inadequacy terrify them. They may even try to assign the blame for rejection on you to avoid dealing with their own baggage. This can result in abusive or shaming language when their volcanic issues are bubble to the surface and lava spews on us. It’s always easier to look out the window at someone else than to look at the man or woman in the mirror. Sometimes you are the mirror they fear to look at.  They don't like what they see. To be with you would remind them of everything they aren’t.

Another reason may be that they are not used to being treated in a respectful manner. They are so used to being treated badly they don’t believe they deserve better. The consequence is when someone comes along and treats them with dignity, respect and kindness, they may not be able to bear the sudden paradigm shift. Some people genuinely equate being disrespected as a sign of love. Sadly anyone who is thoughtful is construed as someone who does not care. Therefore, you pay the price for the sins of others.

There are instances in which we set ourselves up for rejection. For instance, maybe you came on too strong. These are people who tend to say things like “I need someone to complete me”, or “I am tired of being by myself”, or “I am scared to be alone”. I can only speak for myself but I backtrack from anyone who appears too eager – or overly thirsty - to go from point A to T to Z in such a short period of time. That smells like someone acting out of desperation. Relationships are a contract. Wouldn’t you want to know what you are getting into before you sign a contract? Take time to read the fine print of the person you are dating. Find out if you are both on the same or a different pages in matters both intimate and social.  In cases like these rejection is warranted for sanity’s sake .  

They may not desire you as a mate but that does not mean they don’t like you. There are other types of relationships that are non-romantic; it does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. You never know whether this person is meant to be in your life as a friend or an acquaintance and not a lover. Ironically, I know this is true for myself. Some of my dearest friends started out as romantic potentials. But if someone can offer a clear explanation as to why they are not interested in a romantic relationship then it may be hard to hear, but the content of the feedback could make us feel better – and in some cases do better – in the long run.   

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rare Musical Moments

I love these rare musical combinations that usually occur on the Grammys. Here is one of the best. Two great singers. One classic song. One magical performance.