Letters to a young man 21

Hello my friend.

From my travels I have learned much. There are many things I wish to tell you. But first I must answer your question. You’ve asked me about how you may deal with rejection. In particular, you’ve asked me how you may deal with the rejection of some girl that you fancy. A girl you have decided you must have. And you tell me that you feel the sting of rejection when you are friendly to passers-by and they ignore you.

First I want to tell you something about rejection:

Rejection is neither something to be feared, nor encouraged.

I tell you that you are doing both, and you have given this girl the power to harm you, even if she has no idea that she does so. She has only the power over you that you place in her hands. The same goes for the passers-by. Why do so? I realize you cannot help it, and I see that clearly, so I wish to help you to see it:

You have placed yourself in a box. The box has walls that are so tall that you cannot get out. All day you peek over the walls and see people walking by. They look down at you as you sit in the box. You hope every day that someone will put a rope down and help you out. At the very least, you’re hoping for something to eat, to get you through to the next day. Some stop and look in. Some say hello, but continue on. At the end of each day, you are alone, in your box, and feel rejected.

How do you imagine you will solve this problem?

Think on it well my friend, and tell me your mind. I will speak further on it next time.

Stoic Living for the Modern Soul

My book on stoicism.