Number one, appreciate that rejection is complex. Other people have all sorts of reasons for rejecting us. It might be that you’re not their type, which has nothing to do with how attractive you are. It’s just that you’re not their type. It may be that they’re looking for something superficial, purely. It might be that they are still hung up on their ex. It might be that they’re hungry. It might be that they weren’t hugged enough as a child. There are so many reasons why someone might have rejected us that have nothing to do with our true value. But what we do in those moments is our ego takes our biggest insecurity, the way that we are terrified that we are deficient and it makes the rejection about that.

“Of course, they didn’t like me because I’m not pretty. I’m not interesting, I’m boring, just as I had suspected. They don’t like me because I’m too old.” We take our biggest insecurity and we make that the entire story. Even as you’re listening to this, there will be some people who are going, “But that is the story.” That’s what our insecurity does. That is the story. Let’s just play a thought experiment for a moment. If someone decides that you are not for them because of your age, that to me, isn’t even as simple as you got rejected because of your age. That person has a story in their head about age. There are so many factors that have been leading up to this moment for them that have created a story about age that make them your wrong person.

If someone decides to reject you based on a physical feature that they don’t like, and you think, oh, see, I’m not pretty enough, you’re dealing with a complex story there. You’re dealing with a person operating on a certain level of, the person that I fall in love with has to look exactly like this. Therefore, we’re dealing with all sorts of issues of what that person is open to, the ways that person has constrained themselves in their love life, the way they have a very one dimensional view of what attractive is. This is still a complex issue even when they’ve told themselves it’s about this very specific thing. So don’t just take your thoughts less seriously, take their thoughts and judgments less seriously too.

Number two, root your value in your character. When we are rooting our value in these superficial factors that we ultimately don’t control, we are always going to feel vulnerable. I have come to believe so much in my life, in the value of doing things every day that contribute to your character, your integrity, the kind of person you want to be. Make moves every day that bring you closer into alignment with the values that you want to practice in life. The antidote to the person who thinks they have no value whatsoever and the person who thinks all their value is in something superficial, like their looks, is to do something today that makes them genuinely proud of themselves. If we make ourselves proud for being the human that we want to be, not for having the impressive thing we want to have, but for being the human, being the person we want to be, we will start to worry less about whether someone else likes us, because the more proud we make ourselves, the more we will come to like ourselves. And we won’t look to the outside world to validate us in that way.

I know that in the last few years of my life, I’ve gone through several different major challenges. My having dealt with those challenges and the way that I’ve shown up in my life and the loving person that I’ve been to people in my life and the ways that I’ve been strong and resilient have built an immense amount of pride in myself. And it doesn’t mean that I have absolutely zero sensitivity to rejection. It just means that there’s only so much that someone, especially someone who doesn’t know me that well, there’s only so much they can do to get through because I’m really proud of myself. No one can take that away from me. I’m really proud of the person that I am.

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