Rejection is a mutha! I remember my first ‘professional’ job at Chicago Public Schools. I was twenty-nine years old and still dealing with significant mental health issues. During my year at that job, I was constantly late, had terrible time management, and lacked passion for my work. In December 2012, I was laid off. It wasn’t a good day for me, and no one ever wants to get fired. I knew I was fucking up, and it happened. I was unemployed.
In my single years, I got turned from the opposite sex more times than I’m proud to admit. At the tender age of twenty-two I was in Costa Rica as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. After a night of partying with my fellow volunteers. I was getting hot and heavy in my hotel room. We’ll call the lady, Amy. She was an older woman, much taller than I was, and a fellow Habitat volunteer. We were making out on my hotel room bed. She pulled back from me and told me point blank. I was too young and short for her. Damn, that stings!
Or a year later, in a small coastal town in Brazil. During a night of partying (notice a trend here…lol). I meet a leggy and beautiful brown-skinned sista from Rio De Janeiro. First, she thought I was running a game on her by saying I was from the United States. She honestly thought I was a local trying to fool her. Then after a few more moments of flirting. She told me she wasn’t interested because I wasn’t tall enough for her. Damn the burn!
I was infatuated with a young lady named Kala, who lived in the dorm as I did. She had gorgeous eyes, nice lips, and long wavy brown hair down to her shoulders. I dug her a lot, but every time I asked her out. She’d make it clear that she only wanted to be just friends. It sucked. Me being young and immature meant I did something stupid. I hooked up with her friend. Yeah, in my 20s, I bounced between being Mr. Nice Guy and Mr. Fuckboy. I’m not proud of it, but when you’re young, you do stupid shit.
Rejection sucks! Yes, I’m sure every person reading this knows what I’m talking about. The dream job that got offered to someone else, being skipped over for a promotion, friendship coming to an end after a huge fight, or that cute girl in class telling you that she’s in a relationship already. Rejection comes in all forms, but your brain treats the feeling no differently than a broken arm.
That shit can be painful. Depending on the type of rejection. Like getting fired from a job you’ve worked at for years and you’ve given your blood, sweat, and tears to that company. Or a failed relationship, it could be a break-up with a long-term partner or a divorce. This type of rejection is a gut punch. You have rejection that doesn’t involve a long-term investment, like approaching that cute lady at the bar with the Halle Berry haircut only to be told she has a wife. Every person will deal with some rejection throughout their life. When it comes to men, we aren’t always the best when it comes to getting rejected.
I’ve seen men get fired and get rowdy. Only to be escorted by security out of the building. I’ve seen men curse out women who reject their sexual advances. I’ve spiraled into profound depression after losing a job, resulting in a drunk driving incident. Luckily the only thing that hurt that night was my pride.
Men, there are better ways to handle rejection when it comes your way. Here are four positive ways you can deal with rejection. This doesn’t apply to just men, but that’s my target audience. The site is called the Evolving Man Project. As a guy, I am aware of the toxic manner in which my fellow men deal with rejection.
Crush Self Doubt
Yup, when you deal with rejection. One can automatically think it’s something wrong with them. Why did she turn me down? Why didn’t I get into my dream school? Am I an uggo? Am I a dummy? Your mind can play some serious tricks on you. You can easily find yourself on a downward spiral of negative self-talk. For those dealing with deep depression or serve anxiety, please consult a mental health professional.
For those who are just a bit down after being turned down. The one thing to do is realize it’s not about you. Maybe that cute person has a spouse. Perhaps that person who got the job over you is the boss’s daughter. It’s a billion trillion factors that are far beyond your control. Don’t beat yourself up over things that you can’t control.
Don’t be an asshole
If you get let go, it’s probably not worth the legal liability and possible jail time if you make a scene. Or if some attractive woman tells you she’s not that into you. That doesn’t mean you haul off and call her a bitch or whore. Not a good look, and it makes you look like a coward—no need to project your insecurity onto others. Sometimes men can react very violently once they are rejected. It shows how fragile the male ego can be; thus, hurting someone can give us our perceived power back. However, it is a false sense of control. It makes one a weak fool to react to romantic rejection with violence.
After I lost my administrator job at Chicago Public Schools well over a decade ago, it offered me something that you have very little of once you hit adulthood. That was time. I had time to reflect on what I wanted in my professional career and how I would achieve that goal. After a string of dates went nowhere, a hook-up told me we had made a colossal mistake. I was pretty down on myself. I turned 30 years old and had to dive deeply into what I wanted for myself regarding women and dating.
In short, I had to get my shit together to become a better professional, build my confidence and reflect on all the things that made me a remarkable individual. I realized my true self-worth, and it’s tough that it took me to reach the age of 30 to stop being so hard on myself. Professional opportunities soon came knocking at my door, and my dating life improved drastically. It went so well because I met my future wife before I turned thirty-one. Several women wanted to lock me down the year I turned thirty. Mrs. Haynes won in the end. Damn, I thought I was gonna be a bachelor for life. Silly me.
A fact of life is that we all deal with rejection. The good thing is if someone turns down your flirting or you don’t land that dream job the first time around. You don’t spontaneously combust. You don’t go to jail. You still will have all your friends and family. They’ll still love you and be there for you. Finally, the world will keep on turning.
In 2023, I’m staring Year 40 in the face. I’ve been lucky and had a lot of help over the years to get to a place where rejection and failure don’t bother me much. It’s always a chance to learn from it. Rather, it is a broken marriage, a job loss, or losing a best friend because you both grew apart. The good thing about aging is you learn it’s lovely to not give a fuck what others think about you. It doesn’t mean you go around acting like a jerk. But it does mean you don’t put all your self-worth into whether others accept you or not.
Part of being an Evolved Man is knowing how to pick yourself up after you fall and realize that everything will be okay. I only wish I had known this when I was a much younger man. It’s better now than never. In the end, rejection still sucks. Although, it’s not the end of the world. Rejection often leads to a new beginning.