“There’s not a lot of money in revenge” – Inigo Montoya
Either directly or indirectly, I talk a lot about rejection here. Usually this is due to rejection, and the fear of it, being the root cause of so very many mental schemas, behaviors, rationales, etc. for guys. My thread Buffers outlines many of these rationales or conventions used to deaden the effect of rejection, but it’s rejection and how one accepts it that makes for a healthy or unhealthy response to it.
Recently I’ve been considering the principle of rejection and I think the, now proverbial, Pook had it right – Rejection is Better than Regret. However, for all the wisdom in that simple truth, applying it, learning from rejections and accepting rejection is what primarily trips men up.
I use men exclusively in this context because, as a Man, based on gender alone, you will experience rejection far more than any woman ever will. If that sounds like a bold statement let me clarify that, you should experience rejection more than any woman. In sports, in career, in education, in personal relations, and with the opposite sex, you will statistically experience more rejection than a woman. That understanding isn’t intended to wave the male power banner, or make Men the champions of virtue. Neither is it to presume women don’t experience rejection themselves; it is a simple observance of fact that rejection is an integral aspect of being male. Get used to it.
So, rejection is preferable to regret, we get that. What we don’t get is how to accept and deal with that rejection. I’m not going to type away here and pretend that I have it figured out yet, however I can tell you how men, boys, AFCs, Symps, and even PUAs will refuse to accept and/or deal with that rejection. Go look at Buffers, Buffers are how men prevent rejection not how they deal with it once they’re experiencing it. But just as men (and women) employ rationales and conventions to prevent or blunt a potential rejection, so too have they developed coping strategies, rationales and techniques that afford them the least amount of discomfort when they have been rejected – or in the case of women, when they are delivering that rejection.
Remember, rejection isn’t limited to just inter-gender instances. In fact that’s almost a more interesting aspect; your reaction to being rejected for a potential job will be far more measured than if you were rejected for intimacy with a woman. One reason we go to such great lengths to buffer ourselves against rejection is the fear of having to experience it, but often the fear of it is more debilitating than the actual experience.
I mention this in particular because it’s easily the most common, and potentially the most damaging reaction men have with rejection. This can be from enacting something petty and annoying to the actual murder of the rejecting woman. This is the “how can I get back at her” response, and while it may seem satisfying to ‘teach her a lesson’ trust that this lesson will never be taught by revenge, no matter how justified or deserving she is.
Indifference speaks volumes. The very consideration of revenge is a waste of your time, a waste of your effort, that would be better spent learning and bettering yourself from that rejection. I can personally relate a story of a young man who was just released from prison. He killed the boyfriend who his ‘soulmate’ replaced him with when he was 16 by stabbing him 32 times. That was his revenge. If he’d been 2 years older he would’ve been put to death or served a life sentence. You may not be that extreme in pursuing a course of revenge, but the consequences are similar. For so long as you consider revenge, no matter how petty, you’ll still be attached to the emotions of that rejection. Accept the rejection, move on, rejection is better than regret – literally in this case.
Men aren’t being prepared, aren’t being raised to be Men. We constantly belabor this to the point that we make it a matter of personal pride and duty to instruct our fellow men less fortunate to realize it. Dealing with rejection is the lynchpin to this. When I read posts from Men I’d otherwise consider enlightened (to the Matrix or what have you) contemplate how best to enact their ‘revenge’ upon a woman who refused his approach, or in retaliation to a woman’s infidelity, I wonder if they are as enlightened as I gave them credit. In facing rejection, you have no choice but to accept it. How you’ll do so is a matter of your character. It’s important to cultivate an almost third-person approach to accepting rejection. For a lot of people, particularly those unaccustomed or new to deep personal rejection this is a tough order. We get emotionally invested and that’s never conducive to making good decisions, particularly for men who’d do better to rely on rationality and pragmatism. We’re particularly susceptible when we’re adolescents and young adults.
It’s part of the human condition to desire what we think is justice. It’s our nature to make comparisons, and in the instance of inequality, to see them corrected. And although we rarely consider the ultimate consequences of our actions, this isn’t the reason we should temper a desire for revenge. The thing we ought to consider is the overall efforts and resources necessary in order to exact revenge and weigh them against the things we might achieve for our own betterment by redirecting them to our own purposes. Even the efforts required for a slight revenge are better spent with concerns of our own.
This might seem like a longwinded way of saying “Living well is the best revenge”, and to a degree I think that’s true, but beware the ‘Well-lived’ life spent in pursuit of revenge. Revenge should never be the motivation for success. Even the time and mental effort needed to consider some appropriate way of making her aware of how she made you feel are resources better spent on meeting new prospective women who will reciprocate your interest. The root of confidence is developing, recognizing and acknowledging as many personal options as possible. Any effort you’d expend on revenge is a wasted opportunity to better yourself. Indifference to detractors and personal success are a far better revenge than any one sided injury you could inflict on them in return.
Law 36: Disdain Things You Cannot Have: Ignoring Them is the Best Revenge
By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It is sometimes best to leave things alone. If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.
One of my favorite ways of helping young men understand how unimportant their immediate concerns are over rejection is to put things into a larger perspective. When you’re in the moment and unable to see the forest for the trees, rejections seems so crushing. It’s when you look at things in terms of how they play out in the course of time you realize that instead of some horrible soul-destroying rejection you really dodged a bullet that would’ve radically altered the progression of the better person you become.
When I was 15 or 16 I was in total love (teenage lust) with this girl named Sarah. I did everything in the AFC handbook to get with this girl – played friend after a LJBF rejection, wrote to her, called her all the time, etc. I got “I’m not ready for a relationship now” line right before she got the hot monkey sex from one of my best friends. He was the Alpha Bad Boy and she couldn’t get enough of him even after he’d dumped her, and I of course played right along. Flash forward to when I was 22. I had gotten my shit together, I was in the gym religiously, I played in a very popular band in the area and I was walking through the outdoor halls of the college I attended when I hear some girl’s voice say “Rollo, hey!” I looked around and literally looked right past her at first wondering who was calling for me. Then she says, “Hey it’s me Sarah.” I look down, and sitting on this bench is this 300+lbs land monster with the barely recognizable face of this girl I’d obsessed over about 6 years earlier. I was floored. Apparently she’d gone through rehab for cocaine and ballooned after it because she replaced the drug with food. For the first time in my life I was speechless.
My second story was about this one girl Bridgette who I also had a major AFC crush on in high school and I lacked even the confidence to really approach – I self-rejected. Again, flash forward to about 22 and I pull this exact same girl in a club (who actually still looked pretty good), only now I can’t keep her off of me. I ended up turning her into a fantastic booty call. This girl would literally knock on my window and climb in through it to fuck me in the morning before I left for class. However, it got to the point where I dumped her, because she insisted on never taking birth control while assuring me she was and I had a close call with her, and I was tapping 4 or 5 other girls at the time that I thought were better plates to spin (even though I didn’t know what plate theory was then). What I couldn’t get in high school ended up my left-overs just 5 years later.
Lastly, I had my first ‘real’ girlfriend look me up online once. This was the girl I first had sex with at 17 and I ended up moving to the college town she was enrolling into so I could keep fucking her. I basically altered the course of my life for 2 years to accommodate her life decisions, only to have her cheat on me and break up with me after I’d moved. She was my ‘first’ so naturally I assumed she was the ONE and the better I “supported” her the more she’d appreciate me (i.e. fuck me), so I took it pretty hard. I had still tapped her once or twice after all this, but she dropped off my world over 20 years ago. I get this email from her and I guess she’d looked me up. I checked out pictures of her on a vanity site she has (not FaceBook), and I can’t say time has been kind to her. At 37 she looks about 55, makes about $32K tutoring kids how to read (after that terrific degree I moved to ‘help’ her get), she’s “married” to another woman (an open marriage so to speak). It was kind of an eerie feeling just barely being able to make out the girl I’d known at 17, now at 37.
In all of these situation, but particularly this one (after 20 years), it’s hard not to feel more than a little self-satisfied and think karma’s a bitch, but I wonder how many women I’d been rejected by who are doing better now after the years. I’d also like to think that men tend to do better with age, but I know this isn’t always the case. Though I’m aware that living well is the best revenge, I think that living well in order to exact that revenge is misguided. Thing’s like this will happen regardless so long as you put the emphasis on your own betterment.