I reject myself

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Hello! hello! It’s Friday, it’s sunny and REJECTION THERAPY IS OVER. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah.

I’d like to say it’s been a triumphant month but it hasn’t. It was so un-triumphant I stretched it over two months and even then I bombed. Oh well, such is life…

When I started it,  I’d planned to do all sorts of wacky things – audition for a show! Go to Claridge’s and ask them to let me take a nap (thank you Victoria for that idea), phone up Buckingham Palace and ask if I could come to their garden party (again, thank you Victoria).

But as it turned out, I could not make myself do any of this.

At first I put it down to laziness/cowardice/tiredness – and I really beat myself up for being so rubbish. Every morning I’d wake up and think ‘Right, today I should do something crazy – for this to be interesting to anyone, I must make it larger than life’ but then I didn’t and I felt like a failure. I started to get down and then I got sick. I wondered what the hell I was doing with any of this. I started drinking much too much wine.

Fortunately my friends were great. They told me, over said wine, that the point of this project isn’t for me to be a kind of crazed performing monkey, doing nutty stuff. It’s to face the real fears/anxieties/habits that hold me back – that hold us all back, I guess.

So in the end, my rejection therapy has been made up of small moments – and actually I think that’s OK.

Here’s what I’ve learned:


The day I went up to the Greek in the coffee shop was life changing. I know that sounds dramatic but it really really was. I’ve spent my life certain that men will reject me but I’m now starting to think that maybe that is in my head. Not that rejection therapy has miraculously transformed me into a super confident man-eater but I am less inclined to see a man I like and start to mentally list all the reasons he would not be interested in me (a fun game I used to play with myself). I am open to the possibility that they might actually, maybe, possibly, like me. Maybe. And there’s only one way to find out – smile, talk, interact – just do something.


The guys who let me play tennis with them, the bass player who handed over his instrument, the basketball teens who gave me man advice… maybe I have been lucky but absolutely everybody I’ve approached with a weird request has been lovely. Really, really lovely. And happy to get involved. We are all so locked in our own world of fear and insecurities, and we think it’s other people who are cold and unapproachable, but actually they’re just a reflection of us. The change starts with us, or the man in the mirror, or some other Michael Jackson lyric.


When did we all get so weird about smiling? Certainly in London it seems like smiling is the most uncool thing you can do, and any smile has to be delivered in a kind of half-I’m-not-really-smiling-ironic-way but SOD IT! I’ve been doing it non-stop. It’s hard to smile at stony faces but this month I’ve had great conversations with strangers which have all started with a simple smile. Even if they don’t respond,  it’s fun freaking people out. Last night in the park I smiled at a couple and I could hear the wife say ‘Do you know her?’ with a very accusing voice to her husband. Ha! I started a marital.

(Also the Greek said that he would go up to a girl who smiled at him three times – very specific, I know – but smiling definitely seems to be the first step with men. Stop worrying about the size of your arse and just flash a smile instead. You never know what might happen…)


Everybody I know says that when they’re abroad they smile and chat to people. So let’s pretend we’re travelling while at home. You can also use that logic as an excuse to drink at lunch so basically it’s a win, win.


I felt bad about asking for that free coffee. I spoke to a friend who regularly asks for discounts but he only does it in big shops and chains. I’m surprised that the staff in those shops even in a position to give discounts but he says they are and that he would never feel right taking money from a small, struggling, independent business. Ditto.


Back to the deep stuff.

Last weekend I read a brilliant book called Choose Yourself by James Altucher (or at least I thought it was great, some people hate it, which is all grist to the mill to Altucher, who wrote a funny blog post about his bad reviews). Anyway, he’s an eccentric character who has made it all and lost it all doing a load of different things – business, technology, television, writing etc… in his book he talks about all the hundreds of times he’s been rejected in his life – and reading it I felt sad.

I realise that for all my fear of rejection I’ve hardly ever ACTUALLY been rejected because I’ve gone out of my way to avoid it.  At work I’ve anticipated rejection at every turn and have not gone for the things I’ve wanted. In my social life I’ve done the same. As for my love life – well, I’ve think you’ve got the gist on that one…

Anyway – turns out that THE PERSON WHO HAS BEEN REJECTING ME THE MOST OVER THE YEARS IS ME AND THAT HAS TO STOP. It’s just too pathetic a way to live your life.

I came across this quote from JK Rowling. It’s about failure rather than rejection but actually they’re pretty much the same thing a lot of the time.

Here it is: ‘It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously you might not have lived at all. In which cause you have failed by default.’

I have been failing by default, rejecting myself by default.

To live life to the full you have to face and experience rejection and realise that even if one person – or twenty people – reject you, you’re still OK. Better than OK even.

And how do you believe that? Well, that’s a work in progress…

Susan Jeffers would tell us to repeat affirmations every day to make us feel positive, James Altucher says that rest, diet and exercise make a huge difference to our ability to cope with the world.

Maybe saying F**K IT! will help. We’ll find out next week.

Until then, have fun, and thanks, as ever for reading. You’re the very best and don’t let anyone tell you different. Now go smile, chat and ask for discounts before we start getting all sweary.





18 thoughts on “I reject myself

  1. she

    i think even though rejection therapy has been your least favorite it seems to have opened your eyes the most and had the biggest impact. very proud of you x

  2. Adrian Vincent

    On the subject of smiling, I remember going out in Romford one night (I know – Essex – the shame of it!) and listening to several discrete sets of guys who were all using exactly the same chat-up one-liner: “Give us a smile luv!” The really sad thing was that it seemed to work!!! It got them past the initial problem of having to find something intelligent to say and got them straight into the smile zone.

  3. Adrian Vincent

    On the subject of rejection, as I said before, I am a salesman, so I get rejected several times a day every day! There are several phases to go through in dealing with one’s emotional responses to that consistent source of rejection. At first it was tough, then one ceases to be bothered by the rejections, then it turns into responding with incredulity: ‘How dare they reject me! They clearly need educating some more!” Then comes the mature realisation that it’s just par for the course. The focus then simply becomes the game and challenge of increasing the percentage hit rate of yeses. That’s when you become a true sales professional.

  4. Rattlin

    Couple of years back I started saying “Good Morning” to everyone on a Sunday morning. Two years later 70% of the originals say hello whenever they see me. The rest still think I’m a weirdo and cross the road but I haven’t given up. Was interesting the looks and reactions it gets though.

    Great Blog and good luck with your endeavours

  5. Emma

    Adrian makes a good point about the link between sales and rejection.
    Think of yourself as a product you are selling, when someone says no to it it’s not simply that they don’t want it, it is that they don’t know enough about it to say yes YET so it’s up to you to educate them about it so that they understand the benefits and then when they understand how good it is then that is the point at which they say yes. When I sell my service I come from the viewpoint that if the other person understood how good my service was they would be a customer right away and it’s down to me to show and tell so they really understand the proposition. Many times when they say NO it’s just that they don’t understand or they don’t have the authority to make the decision or that they are scared of doing something different as the outcome is not what they are used to ( even if it might be more beneficial ) !

  6. Emma

    I am surprised you didn’t really excel more in the last task as you have definitely mastered how to create interest with flattery! Lol
    Sometimes we credit other people and events with more meaning and intelligence than is actually present when the truth is often more boring in that people are often just a bit scared of change. But sometimes a coincidence just breaks through the boredom and takes us by surprise, did you drive that blue Merc at Slades?

  7. Andrew

    Marianne, your recent posts about rejection are so like me it’s frightening! I could pick a whole list of examples, but to narrow it down to just the most important one your point above about only rarely having been really rejected due to avoiding situations where rejection is a risk is 100% me. And yet, as you rightly go on to say, even that policy contains a huge amount of rejection, as it means you’re rejecting yourself all the time. I suppose this then means that you never get used to rejection because you never experience it and so your attitude towards it becomes almost like a kind of phobia, in that you view rejection as this overwhelmingly scary and horrible thing, when if only we “practised” more often we’d see that it’s not like that at all. But of course the fear of it stops you practising so you never get to see it’s not so bad and go on thinking it is, so therefore keep avoiding and so on.

    Overall though, that’s what I love about this blog, as it articulates what so many of us secretly feel but rarely publicly admit to, ie we’re all insecure underneath! This has the potential to be a really empowering message but it only works if a lot of people follow suit. If just one person stands up and says “I’m scared of rejection” but no one else does then it could look to them that “it is just me then; God, I must be weird as I think I am”, but the more join in the more every individual can see that there are plenty just like them and so the world becomes a much less scary place. After all, how much easier would it be to approach people if you somehow KNEW for sure that they are actually just as insecure as you and so very unlikely to reject you in the harsh way your imagination suggests they will? And yet, this is the whole problem as everyone keeping their insecurities to themselves means that everyone thinks they’re completely alone with them and strange or inadequate for having them at all. If only people knew that wasn’t true, things would be very different!

    1. Marianne Power

      Andrew, sorry for the slow reply to this brilliant comment. So much good stuff here, don’t know where to start. Absolutely agree that I never got used to rejection because I haven’t experienced it much and so it is like a phobia… yes, also to the idea that it would be great if we all wore our insecurities on our sleeves a little bit more. But think a blog spilling my guts is doing that bit! Good luck to you doing the same in whatever way works? What kind of rejection are you most scared of?

  8. Andrew

    Marianne, thanks for replying, as I did wonder if I was pushing my luck a bit in commenting on a topic that was already nearly a week old!

    In answer to your question, I suppose it’s rejection that carries some sort of emotional weight that is the scariest for me, as it seems to cut so much deeper. For example, I was pretty good at exams back at school and uni (a number of years ago now!), but if I did slip up on the odd occasion I would always resolve to do better the next time and wouldn’t get too upset, as I guess it was a non-emotional type of rejection (unsuccessful job interviews are much the same now) which was quite easy to deal with in a similarly practical way.

    But anything emotional such as romantic rejection, which I’ve deliberately not experienced as often as I might for this very reason, is completely different and seems a rejection of my entire worth as a person and so feels horribly unpleasant in comparison.

  9. Ally

    I love this post – the idea of rejecting yourself before anyone else can really resonates with me. It also reminds me of this quote (which I’ve just discovered was written by someone much younger, yet so much smarter than myself, it seems!).

    “You’re far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way”

    1. Marianne Power

      Hi Ally! Thanks very much! I really like that quote – it’s true. We are always our own worst enemies but it’s in our power to stop that. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to write. Where are you from?


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