Unsubscribe – The Myth of Rejection

The question is – ‘What’s a healthy way to navigate rejection?’

At some point everyone gets rejected. A client or business partner may suddenly stop working with you, a lover might end your relationship, or maybe a new acquaintance won’t accept your friend request. Some refusals we shake off easily, others can ruin a day, and then there are those that can haunt us for years if not put in the proper perspective.

How do we continue to put ourselves out there and not get wounded or jaded from feeling as if we’re brushed aside? Anger and revenge don’t solve anything. Those emotions simply perpetuate negative energy and hurt us again and again.

Freedom from rejection begins with realizing that fulfillment and happiness comes from within and not from the opinion and validation of others.

Not too long ago a successful actress I work with came in for a session and after a short while, she suddenly broke down sobbing. When I asked her why she was so upset she said – “Everyone hates me. ” This statement was made despite the fact that she has been working on great projects, made millions of dollars the year before, was on the covers of magazines and had tons of adoring fans. She had gone online and read some nonsense and decided to believe the negativity, all while ignoring the good things said about her.

She was lost. Running herself ragged, amped up on Red Bull, obsessing over results, outer successes and validation from others. She had even gotten her teeth fixed not because she wanted to, but because she had read on the internet that people didn’t like her teeth. She was far from the grounded, authentic girl I knew only a few years before. She had little self-love.

It’s important to remember that if we please everyone, we abandon our true selves.
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What she really needed in my opinion was time away to think and get back in touch with herself, i.e. read a good book, hang with a close friend, go to yoga, write in a journal, volunteer, anything where she could treat herself with value.

Isn’t it true that we give people the power to shame or hurt us? Rejection itself is simply neutral. Think about it – if you look back, how many “negative rejections” turned out to be turning points that took us in a better direction? The truth is we’ve survived the past and are here and better because of all we’ve been through.

So the next time you get rejected, know that it could be just what you need.

Remember, external happiness from things that happen or don’t happen is only temporary. This can be hard to remember in a world that measures happiness in terms of shiny things and big bank accounts. Inner joy is much more important and it comes from treating yourself well and realizing that you’re whole and wonderful as you are. It’s important that we remind ourselves of this constantly.

Can we learn from rejection? Absolutely. Maybe the refusal was to show us that our approach was off or that we have more to learn in that area. Always ask yourself “What lesson can I take from all of this?” Often times there’s real wisdom that helps us become better human beings when the next opportunity comes along. Of course, there are many times when the rejection is not about you at all. This person is almost always dealing with their own fears and insecurities and are in fact rejecting a part of themselves through your situation. Try this – after you’re ‘rejected’, write down all of your great qualities. Remind yourself how the person rejecting you is missing out. Not in an egotistical manner, but in a nurturing way like a best friend would. Then ask yourself “How can I build my inner strength/self love?” Lastly, whenever possible forgive the person who rejected you and most importantly forgive yourself. People are only doing the best they can with the tools they have, so put it behind you. Yes sometimes you need to cry about it and let the pain happen in its varying degrees, but hopefully it doesn’t last too long.

If you’re facing rejection from a person you had a romantic relationship with, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. It happens to all of us at one time or another. The hard truth is that rejection is unavoidable and braving it is the price of admission if you want to have love in your life. If you’ve lost romantic love recently, allow yourself the time to mourn it and then do your best to move on. Don’t hold your breath and wait for that person to change their mind, or try to manipulate them into realizing how great you are. Doing so is an act of insecurity, and even if you’re temporarily ‘successful’, it’s not fully authentic and it doesn’t stick. After all, we’re more attractive when we put our energies into self-love and care.

Some people say that time heals all wounds. I’m not sure that I agree with that. Time is not responsible for our healing, we are.

We have to be dedicated to looking at our wounds, granting forgiveness and letting things go. One more thing, If you’re holding on to rejection and hurt, don’t be afraid to seek professional help there’s no shame in doing what you have to do to heal yourself.

Lastly in the words of Khalil Gibran “You are far greater than you know and all is well.”

Michael Woolson has become one of the most prominent and respected acting coaches in Los Angeles. He is recognized for his unique ability to cultivate depth and authenticity from his students in an environment that is nurturing and inspiring. Woolson has worked with thousands of actors from talented up-and-comers to award-winning celebrities. He is the author of The Work of an Actor and Emotion on Demand: An Actor’s Workbook for Mastering Emotional Triggers.

For more, follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter.

You Can’t Argue with Crazy
You Can’t Argue with Crazy

“Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
Mark Twain

When does a healthy debate become an unhealthy one? When does your need to be right or your attempt to try to change someone make you just as insane as the person you’ve labeled “crazy?”

There’s no doubt that allowing yourself to be around someone who is negative or crazy, when you have a choice not to be, is a quick way to sabotage your happiness and quality of life. The question is: Are there boundaries you need to define or enforce with someone? Are there ways you unnecessarily add to the drama in terms of how you react or interact with them? Our ego loves to paint us as the always rational, responsible, heroic ones, but that’s a major trap for our own growth and the growth of everyone we have relationships.

The path of least resistance is to distance yourself from people and conversations that are unproductive and toxic, but we can’t live in a bubble, and so it’s crucial that we learn how we can remain grounded when we don’t have that choice.

Certain family members, spouses, and co-workers are good examples that invite us to find peace despite emotional triggers and circumstances that are out of our control. In fact, they can be our greatest teachers at times.

Whatever your philosophical views may be, here are some ideas to help you be proactive with all of this.

The first step is to call it like it is. Whenever you are spinning your wheels when arguing with someone, ask yourself whether it’s better to end the conversation or if there’s a way to change your approach. Of course, do your best to avoid chronic patterns, either with the same people or different ones. An easy example would be to skip talking about politics (or religion) if you find you get too worked up over the topic. Remember, rarely is someone with an opposing or radical view going to suddenly stop in the middle of an argument and say, “You’re right!”

Next, stop being surprised by the behavior of people you think are crazy or act crazy. We’ve all seen it or even found ourselves dealing with the same annoyances for months, years, even decades, and, somehow, we can continuously be shocked by the same results. “Did you hear what so and so did this time? You’re not going to believe what he said to me…” Why would we expect things to be different from what we have experienced from this person in the past? If they have consistently been rude, disrespectful, dismissive, controlling, immature, selfish, mean, or unloving, acknowledge whom you are dealing with and accept them as they are. By taking away the unrealistic expectations we’ve attached to this person, our energy is no longer wasted trying to change what cannot be changed. Believe me, YOU will NOT change them. That’s their job, whether they choose to take responsibility or not. So feel what you feel about it but don’t argue with what is. That, for me, is the most important step. Of course, people do grow and trust can be built or rebuilt over time. Just pay attention to your gut and the history there so you can get off the emotional rollercoaster ride and increase your chances of a healthy relationship instead of a depleting one.

I also find it extremely helpful to see the vulnerability behind the frustrating or destructive behavior. “Crazy people” are often living in a world without solid coping or communication tools. They have deep wounds or experiences that have shaped their viewpoint and approach to life and others. If you can see beyond their behavior and arguments to recognize the hurt, then it’s easier to have compassion. Let’s not forget that truth, like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder. If we are really honest, aren’t we all a little crazy when faced with life every now and again? No matter how evolved or conscious we may strive to be, I can guarantee you that others think we’re crazy at times.

Lastly, find the humor whenever possible. I don’t mean laughing in order to provoke a person but to find healthy humor in how you approach the situation and how you talk about it with others. Humor can be our savior when dealing with crazy people and situations. So, do your best to find the funny. It’s far better than the alternative of tearing yourself up with anger, stress, and disappointment.

Now, of course, there are people that are actually mentally ill and some that are truly dangerous. That is a whole other topic, but I will say that we, as a society, need to work together to provide easily accessible resources for people who need psychological and nutritional support so that we can end the cycle of domestic violence, tragic shootings, and the unacceptable rates of homelessness.

To sum things up, here are the steps you can take to add a little more peace to your life and the rest of the world:

1. Instead of being immediately triggered or stressed by crazy, instead expect the behavior. Crazy is as crazy does.

2. See the vulnerability or hurt behind the behavior. This will help bring a bit of compassion to the table.

3. If at all possible, have a sense of humor about the person or situation—not to provoke them but for your own sanity and perspective. It’s better to see the funny.

4. Ask yourself if there is a lesson in any of this. What can be learned through this person or situation?

5. Find any piece of positive behavior or trait that you can focus on that helps you feel less triggered by this person’s behavior and attitude.

6. If at all possible, consider spending less time with anyone that depletes you.

Note: This article was written by Michael Woolson and his wife Rachel Avalon.

Michael Woolson has become one of the most prominent and respected acting coaches in Los Angeles. He is recognized for his unique ability to cultivate depth and authenticity from his students in an environment that is nurturing and inspiring. Woolson has worked with thousands of actors from talented up-and-comers to award-winning celebrities. He is the author of The Work of an Actor and Emotion on Demand: An Actor’s Workbook for Mastering Emotional Triggers.

For more, follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter.

Advice on Advice: The Credibility Factor
Photo Credit: Kristy Morrow 2013 All Rights Reserved

Would you hire an auto mechanic to give you advice about open-heart surgery? Of course not, you’d likely go to a cardiologist. Hopefully, you’d seek out the best one you could afford. The idea of finding expert help may seem obvious in this extreme case, but how often do we seek expert advice in day-to-day matters? Let’s face it, on issues that we deal with daily, many people are willing to take shoddy advice from family, friends, or even strangers. Think about it, how many times have you received relationship advice from friends who have never had a great, long-term relationship? How about financial advice from someone who is typically broke or even professional advice from someone whose career is less than inspiring?

It’s not just bad advice that we take from others that can get us into trouble; it’s also our own poorly informed advice to ourselves.

After all, we aren’t experts in everything. How can we be sure that we get perfect advice every time? The answer is we can’t, but we have much better odds if we simply listen to those who are experts in the area we need help.

Years ago while taking a self-improvement course, I learned a bit of wisdom that would change my life indefinitely. In the course, we would present a problem to the group and receive feedback from the teacher as well as the fellow students. Some of this peer feedback was not helpful, while other times, it was extremely helpful. The teacher then pointed out the obvious lesson:

“Don’t take advice from someone who doesn’t have credibility in the area that you need help.” Said another way, “Don’t take advice from people who don’t have the specific results you are looking for yourself.”

This means when you are at the gym and some dude gives you advice on how to get the “perfect body,” you first look his body and ask yourself, “Is this the body I want? Does this guy have credibility?” If the answer is “yes,” listen to what he has to say and consider doing it. If the answer is “no,” politely thank him and go find someone that embodies the answers you’re looking for.

Let’s say a friend gives you relationship advice. Do his relationships seem loving and passionate? Do you admire this individual’s life in that area? If so, by all means, model your behavior after his and see if you get those same positive results. If not, be cautious. Your life equates to the sum total of your decisions, both good and bad.

Of course, I think it’s also important to mention that this goes for our own advice to others as well. Do you dispense advice in areas you don’t have credibility? If you do, I would advise for you to stop. I am not a stockbroker, and, personally, I know very little about the machinations of the market and how stocks work, but I once gave advice to a friend to buy a stock that had gone up significantly every year since the day I bought it. I just wanted my close friend to benefit as I had. Well, I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but wouldn’t you know the day I told him, he went out and invested his whole savings on hundreds of shares of this one stock. To both of our surprise, after rocketing for over five years, the stock split and began to sink for the first time.

I felt horrible and wished that I could take back that advice. My friend lost more than half his savings, and because he never got expert advice, sold the stock and lost a good deal of money. Yes, this was his choice that he ultimately made, but it hurt our relationship nonetheless.

To make matters worse, as soon as he sold the stock, it then rebounded and did quite well. I tell you this not because it’s a unique story, but because this is an example of advice (with good intentions) gone horribly wrong.

No expert was ever called upon in this case. So as much as it wasn’t my fault (ultimately people make their own choices), I still felt guilty and somewhat responsible. Had my friend understood how to seek credible advice, this likely would have never taken place or, at the very least, moderated his losses. Looking back at this now as I have more knowledge of investments, a professional likely would have given him the advice to diversify (put his investment into a few different areas, not just one stock) in the beginning or advised him to hold the stock a bit longer, knowing that it would go back up with the economy as it did.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. It is possible to get great advice from people without the necessary experience you are looking for—whether it’s your own instinct, a good friend, or someone with a lot of education in a particular area. My whole point is to pause and ask yourself this question before proceeding: Does this source have credibility? Doing so will often save you time, money, and unnecessary anguish.

It feels good to give others advice. After all, we are taking on the role of an expert. It strokes our ego and makes us feel smart and well rounded, but, in the end, this can be dangerous. Yes, people can still get burned with experts, but it’s much less likely over the long haul.

So, lets go over the key questions you might consider when dispensing your wisdom or deciding from whom you might take advice:

1. Do you or this person have the positive results in the area you are giving advice?

2. Do you or this person have a good amount of education in the area in question?

3. Have you or this person made good life decisions in this area?

4. Is the advice you’re willing to offer good enough so that you aren’t unnecessarily risking a personal or business relationship?

So, the next time you need advice or give advice, ask yourself if this person has credibility.

This is my advice to share with you. Do I have credibility? Well, that is for you to decide. :-)

Michael Woolson has become one of the most prominent and respected acting coaches in Los Angeles. He is recognized for his unique ability to cultivate depth and authenticity from his students in an environment that is nurturing and inspiring. Woolson has worked with thousands of actors from talented up-and-comers to award-winning celebrities. He is the author of The Work of an Actor and Emotion on Demand: An Actor’s Workbook for Mastering Emotional Triggers.

For more, follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter.

*Photo Credit: See El Photo via Compfight cc