Rejection and Acceptance
27th January, 2011
When we think about and reflect upon the many ways that we can feel rejected, we seldom think about how we reject others, although the reality is that we are capable of rejecting other individuals on quite limited, or even very limited criteria.
We may be totally at ease with rejecting people for the shoes they wear, or their interest in football or Shakespeare or EastEnders. We might have a deal-breaking 'forget it... no way' list.
We could walk into a crowded function or our local supermarket and, probably, we won't be particularly attracted to anybody we meet or see there, perhaps automatically ticking the boxes on our 'no way' list. But if we were to overhear someone make a disparaging comment about the way we looked or were dressed we might well feel affected and perhaps even rejected by it. So while we 'happily' reject others on a wholesale and often unconscious basis, we may find it extremely difficult to accept even limited criticism of ourselves. Very relevant when we're single.
It can be more constructive to bear in mind that if you don't like the shoes that someone is wearing they can be changed. Or if they happen to have an interest in sport or soap operas then this can be accepted as being not the totality of who they are but merely one aspect of their personality. And, you never know, their enthusiasm for, say, Shakespeare could be infectious. You could end up liking him too!
Getting to know somebody's character and values is a more useful measure of who they are because, after all, it is those qualities that you will be living with in a relationship.
It can be a good idea to have a Three Date rule. So, rather than just meeting someone and going out together once and then concluding that you know all there is to know about them, good and bad, from that single date, you go out with them three times and so give yourself the chance to get to know them better.
Many people have had the experience of meeting someone they think is great to look at but after speaking to them for a while it becomes clear there is nothing really between you. The opposite can also happen. We might meet someone for the first time and feel that there is little or no physical chemistry. But, gradually, we can become attracted to them as we get to know them more. Often people from quite disparate backgrounds, who would never normally meet or associate, can fall for each other over time.
Perhaps we are looking for the perfect person according to a strict set of rules and a tick-box list. And of course, the more rules there are and the longer the list, the fewer people we'll meet and get to know. This can be such a limiting way of meeting new partners.
The idea is not that you settle for less than you want in your partners or relationships or that you 'accept the unacceptable'. Just maybe slow down a little, take more time to get to know someone and you may find that there are more nice people out there than you thought.
Related articles from our experts
- Couple relationships and microfrictions: what is it, what can be done about it?
Graeme Armstrong MBACP13th October, 2017
- Are there benefits of having an affair?
Gill Sanders: Psychotherapist and Couples Counsellor, COSRT: BACP: UKCP:11th October, 2017
- Differentiation – balancing the need for togetherness and separation
Angela Dierks, BA (Hons), MStud (Oxon), MA Integrative Counselling, MBACP (Acc)7th October, 2017
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.