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:
I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT MEN. NOTHING
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.
PEOPLE ARE LOVELY
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.
SMILING GETS YOU EVERYWHERE
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…)
PRETEND YOU’RE ON HOLIDAY
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.
DON’T ASK INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES FOR FREE COFFEE
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.
WE REJECT OURSELVES
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.
FOR ANYONE WHO’D LIKE TO SWOT UP AHEAD OF NEXT WEEK CHECK OUT: thefuckitlife.com