That’s it, that’s the title. If you’re looking to get better or change in any way, shape, or form, you’re going to face resistance and rejection. From your own bad habits, your inner critic, your shadow, and maybe even friends or family. And there’s not really any way around that. But how else do you learn to weather the storm?
So I was on a call with a client the other day, and we were talking about a relationship challenge that he was having with his wife. And he was talking about wanting to make some change within their relationship, have some conversations about the lack of sex that they been having and the sexual disconnection that they had been experiencing.
And he was basically asking me the question “how can I fix this without being rejected? How can I fix this and not deal with the resistance that I feel towards having to have these conversations because they’re uncomfortable?”
And my response to him was you need to start to take your Vitamin R. You need to learn how to metabolize rejection and resistance. These are absolutely crucial pieces. The truth is that we have begun to live in a culture and a society that has told us that things should be easier than they are. And we’ve been indoctrinated into this idea that you can create growth, you can create change, you can transform yourself in this magical, ethereal way without having to face rejection. Without having to experience the deep resistance that comes along with change.
The truth is that if you want to better yourself in any way, shape, or form, you are inevitably at some place along your journey going to experience rejection because you’re going to be stepping out of the known territory of your comfort zone. And with that comes a tremendous amount of resistance. Why? Because our brains are literally wired to do that.
Our brains are designed to do basically two things. One they’re a pattern recognition machine, so our brains are constantly just scanning the environment around us, trying to figure out if we are safe. “Are we safe?” That is one of the biggest things that it’s trying to figure out. Are we safe, can we stay alive, and do we have food? And then if those things are taken care of, can we procreate? But it’s trying to figure out “are we safe?”
And so when we look at creating change in our habits, in our routines, if we’re trying to get up earlier in the morning and get a workout in, or we’re trying to cut five pounds off and gain some muscle mass, or we’re trying to improve our sex life with our partner, like the client I was talking about in the beginning. Those things require change. They require us to step outside of the known. To step outside of the comfort zone that we inhabit.
And as soon as we start to reach the fringe, that the sort of barrier or territory of that comfort zone, we are inevitably going to face resistance. Our brain doesn’t want to step outside to cross that threshold, to go through the portal of entering into the unknown territory.
And so we’re going to face that resistance. But this is the absolute requirement that we have in order to develop self-reliance. In order to develop a deeper sense of being able to trust ourselves. Rejection and resistance are not things to be avoided in growth, in development, in change. They are things to be faced. They’re things to enter into. They are the territory that we need to explore in order to have a better understanding of who shows up in those moments. Because certainly it’s probably the version of you that’s afraid. It’s probably the version of you that has insecurities. It’s probably the part of you that’s just fucking lazy and doesn’t want to do it anyway.
There’s a great Anthony Bordain quote — I’m going to get it wrong, but he basically says something along the lines of there’s a lazy man inside of me that just wants to sit around and playing video games and smoking weed all day. That’s not just an Anthony Bordain thing. I’m pretty sure that everyone watching this video or listening to my voice right now understands that. Has that part of them in inside internally that’s just like, “I don’t want to do anything, and when I start to get outside of my comfort zone is where I feel the most resistance.”
Well, of course it is. Where you feel the most resistance is on the cusp of change; is when you’re starting to stretch yourself away from that gravitational core of comfort, because comfort has its own gravity. It wants to pull you back into it. It wants to pull you back into what’s known, what’s safe, what’s reliable, what you can count on — even if what’s safe and what’s reliable and what you can count on is something that you hate. Even if it’s something that you feel ashamed of. Even if it’s something that you dislike. The relationship that you’re in that’s safe, but you dislike it. You have resentment towards the other person. You know it’s not who you want to. Or, you know that who you are in that relationship is not somebody that you want to be. So the man you’ve become the husband that you’ve become you dislike. But the reality is that in order to create that change, you know it’s going to require effort, and that effort is going to be met with resistance.
And if you’re going to change, there’s a chance that you might be rejected. I spent two and a half years hearing no repeatedly over and over and over again as I tried to convince people to publish me. To publish the book that I wanted to write about men’s work. And I had countless conversations with publishing houses, getting feedback and agents telling me no that they didn’t want to work with me until finally, I learned enough, I experienced enough rejection that it shaped me in a manner in which I realized what I needed to do, how I needed to position it, what was going to land for people. I was relentless, but I was relentless because I actively pursued the resistance towards doing this.
I could have self-published. I could have put the book out there. I could have written the book and just posted it online and went through a self-publishing avenue. I could have done that. But that’s not the way that I knew I was going to learn. That would have been comfortable for me. That would have been that the route and the path of least resistance, and that’s not how I choose to live my life.
Some people might choose that and that’s okay. That’s fine. That might be the avenue that makes the most sense for them. Hell it might even be the path of most resistance for them. But for me, that wasn’t it. For me, it was, “I want to go down this path.” I failed grade 12 English, I had to retake it over again. I’ve had this narrative and this story that I’m not good enough, that that being an author — a published author — seems like a complete impossibility. And so that’s the path of most resistance. That’s the path where I know I’m going to meet obstacles. Where I am going to be broken down and rebuilt over and over and over again.
It’s the path where I know I’m going to face rejection, and yet it’s the path where I know growth is certain. I know expansion and transformation is going to happen, because who I am will be broken apart by that experience. That’s why people want to figure out how to get around rejection. Rejection breaks apart who we think we are. Who our ego has convinced us we are.
And in some ways, it’s “easier”. And “safer” to stay in this comfort zone of, “I know who I am. I know what my strengths are. I know what I’m good at. And I don’t have to go outside of that.” But for most of us, we feel this pull to push out our edges. To live a little bit every day at that edge. Because at our edges is where we meet our fears. It’s where we meet our greatness. It’s where we meet our strengths. It’s where we meet the parts of us that we kind of have known are in there, but have struggled to actualize. And it’s these parts that we crave.
We want to press out our creative endeavors, our physical capacities. We want to explore those parts. We have a deep craving to feel alive within our lives. And that requires rejection. That requires that we begin to put ourselves actively into situations where we might face rejection. And to learn from that rejection. To welcome it in a sense, and to feel the resistance. I see so many men trying to figure out like, “how do I get better at approaching women? How do I have this conversation? Or how do I get my wife to have more sex with me? I don’t want to have the uncomfortable conversation. I don’t want to do those things.”
Well, those things are the requirement. So either you get on the bus and you do the work and you face the hard things. You put yourself in rejection therapy actively, and you find situations that are going to help you develop you. That are gonna help you develop the parts of yourself that you know are craving to come alive. Or, you back down. You let the fear of rejection and the fear of the resistance that you feel — not wanting to even experience it — constrict your life and close in on you.
Because the reality is, is that we can either succumb to the rejection and the resistance, and we can live a life in accordance to avoiding those things. Or we can teach ourselves the skill of being able to weather those storms. Of being able to metabolize the pain and the shame and the hurt of being rejected, the loneliness that sometimes comes along with it, the doubt and the questioning that comes along with it.
It’s very real to say that rejection is one of the hardest things for us to experience as a human being, especially when we’ve grown up with abuse, with neglect, with abandonment, with being told that we’re not good enough, with being told that we’re stupid, with being told that we’ll never amount to anything.
The thing that we then want to avoid — the strongest of course, is any more of that rejection. And so it’s completely understandable that most of us don’t want to experience rejection. Most of us want to avoid the resistance that we feel, and most of us want to stay in that comfort zone.
But my challenge for you, my encouragement for you is to spend the next week learning how to metabolize learning. Actively take in your Vitamin R. Learning how to actively pursue areas, opportunities, and challenges where you might get rejected. In fact, where you know you will probably get rejected.
I knew when I was putting my book out two and a half years ago that I was probably going to get rejected. The likelihood was very high. But I put myself out there anyways, because I was committed to a goal. So begin to put yourself into places and spaces where you’re going to feel resistance. Start to have the conversations where you feel the resistance, notice what you learn, notice what you learn about yourself. Pay attention to what you begin to come in contact with, and see maybe, just maybe, if you can find a little bit of joy. If you can find a little bit of liveliness and thriving and vibrancy living outside of the comfort zone. Living at that edge, facing the fears, being able to break down that rejection and learn from it and turn it into something generative and nourishing in your life rather than something constrictive and life-sucking. So thank you so much for tuning in. This is Connor Beaton, the ManTalks series. I hope that you share this with somebody that you know will enjoy it. Until next week, I’ll see you then.
Did you enjoy the podcast? If so, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Podchaser. It helps us get into the ears of new listeners, expand the ManTalks Community, and help others find the self-leadership they’re looking for.
Are you looking to find purpose, navigate transition, or fix your relationships, all with a powerful group of men from around the world? Check out The Alliance and join me today.
Editing & Mixing by: Aaron The Tech
See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.