I have many clients who fear rejection. In fact, I just had a situation where this came up in my own dating life. I had just begun seeing a gentleman who was sweet and caring. He has a great sense of humor and an ease of telling stories and jokes. He also is a mental health professional. The only problem I had was that he wanted so much time for affection, always wanting to be close to my body. He had a need to constantly be touching me. It was to the point that there was no time for me to enjoy the other aspects of his wonderful personality or all the other activities that he claimed he enjoyed. When I brought this up he felt rejected. I told him that he was taking my message in the opposite way that it was meant based on his being rejected before. I wanted more of him – all of his great story telling and joke telling gifts. To be able to spend time with him out in the world doing things. To have that we needed to be able to do more than fulfill his physical needs even if he thought he was “pleasing me.” He thought about this for a moment and understood that it was his own “neediness and whining” that was the problem. I asked him to ask himself what he would do with a patient of his who had this problem? He said he needed some time to think about this one. He never did get back to me with an answer to that question so I let the relationship go.
It was because of this gentleman’s behavior that I made the decision to let this relationship go. So the learnings we can all take away from this situation are:
1. Take responsibility for the results of your social interactions with other people since they are responding to how you are behaving toward them.
2. Do an honest objective assessment of what you have to offer someone.
3. If you are interested in a particular person, do an honest assessment of whether what you have to offer is what they are looking for in a relationship.
4. Do an an honest assessment of whether what this person has to offer you is what you are looking for in a relationship.
The message here is simple. Is it you who is being rejected or is it you who is not being capable of giving of yourself in an inviting manner? Does this person you are with fulfill your needs in a way that allows you to feel good about your interactions? Remember, there are two people in any relationship that need to be taken in to consideration. The more we are able to be aware of this fact, the more fulfilling our relationships with others will be allowing feelings of rejection to disappear.
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