Cathy: So how do you soothe yourself when you perceived disappointment or you’re feeling disappointed from something someone said? This is Dr. Liz from Sex-Positive Psych.

Liz: This is Cathy Vartuli from The Intimacy Dojo.

Cathy: And it can be really hard if someone tells you no or they promised something and they had let you down. It can be hard to be – like I will feel disappointed. And I think our society has taught us to kind of like use that against the other person. We now point against them because they’ve harmed you in some way.

And it’s – well that can be cliché in a non-authentic, non-vulnerable relationship, the kind of relationships we talk about for me are much more free, and yes, someone could be held in account and need to apologize and make redemption if they need. But that doesn’t mean that we get to use our emotions to manipulate each other.

Liz: Well, I think part of what that does when we use it as a weapon is it’s taking the hurt and putting it on the outside rather than forcing us to feel it on the inside.

Cathy: And it never goes away unless we actually feel it.

Liz: Yeah.

Cathy: So, if we can actually handle our own emotions, that doesn’t mean we can’t hold people accountable.

Liz: Right.

Cathy: It doesn’t mean that we can’t be disappointed or set boundaries like, “Wow! You’ve let me down three times now. If this happens again, I’m going to have to not play ahead with you,” or whatever that is.

Liz: Yeah.

Cathy: But when we say it where it blew in ourselves and owning our own feelings and being responsible for ourselves rather than, “You’ve done this horrible thing. You’ve wounded me and I’m a small child and you must take care of me now.” That forms a different kind of connection.

Liz: And I think it has different success rates as well. I think that when you are coming from that place of making someone else responsible for your feelings, it’s not going to be as clean a boundary, as clear a boundary. They’re less likely to receive that conversation as well as if you handle those emotions in yourself and then are moving towards those actions.

Cathy: Absolutely. And I think part of it depends on what kind of relationship you want to form. And admittedly, there’s a lot of people out there that have had trauma or been raised in an environment where their tanks are very empty and it feels like any way to get that fed is worth using because you’re scraping the bottom of the tank.

So if you can find ways to get your tanks filled, there are lots but we don’t have to get them filled through a primer relationship or romantic relationship. We can start getting them filled through friends which I know there’s a lot of resistance. I feel it sometimes. I’ve worked with clients that are like, “No, no, no. I want that prince charming. He’s supposed to ride on a horse.”

Liz: I have plenty of friends. It’s not the same.

Cathy: Yeah. That doesn’t mean they can’t help pour some cups of water into the tank so you’re not scraping the bottom.

Liz: Yeah.

Cathy: And I recommend to a lot of people like if you’re going on a date, get a massage beforehand, go to a cuddle party, masturbate, so you’re not feeling like into them.

Liz: Yeah. Something that I do with a lot of my clients who are doing dating work with me, is we’ll come up with like little cards that they could keep in their pocket that have things that they tell themselves if they get rejected. So when I’m working with a client who is trying to go meet people at bars or meet people at clubs, that’s a very difficult environment. You will get a lot of nos.

So before you go, what can you tell yourself to help you find the courage that you need to go ask? And then if you get a no, what can you remind yourself? Think about when you told people no. What was that no about? It usually wasn’t that person is a terrible person or they’re the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.

Cathy: Yeah.

Liz: It’s usually, it’s a no for me. Just not the right fit.

Cathy: Especially if the person asking isn’t saying, “Oh, if you say no, my whole world is going to crash in.” If it’s like, “Hey, I’m curious about this.” And there’s not a lot of pressure.

And one way I encourage people at play parties and at cuddle parties is to go out and try to get three to five nos. Ask for something you genuinely want to that’s a little outside your comfort zone like to ask for it and look for the nos. You’re trying to get nos and that kind of plays the truth game on its head a little bit.

Liz: Yeah. Figure out what your goal is. If you’re going out and your goal is to find the love of your life, you are bound to be let down.

Cathy: It’s unlikely to happen on a Friday night at the bar.

Liz: Right. It can. But it’s not particularly likely.

Cathy: You might want to buy lottery tickets too.

Liz: Yeah. I mean lottery can totally work for you all and every time. But if what your goal is, is to go out and experiment new behaviors, figure out, “What are different ways I can start a conversation with someone? What are different ways that feel authentic for me that I could walk up to someone? What are different ways that I can ask those questions?” And if you treat that as you experiment and that is your goal then getting the nos doesn’t feel like it’s addressing your goal. The nos are just ancillary to that process.

Cathy: I like to have a buddy too like I love to have a buddy with me, a wing person. But I know it’s not always possible. I’ll often arrange instead like my bestfriend. I’m like, “Hey, I’m going out tonight. I’m probably be home around 11. Are you available for me to call and decompress and celebrate and just like ahh!” And that’s really to know that I have that lined up ahead of time.

Liz: Yeah.

Cathy: So like if I started with the nos, I’m like, “I’m not in this alone. I have a buddy.” And I can also opt out like, “My tank is empty now.”

Liz: Right. And celebrate the successes you do have. Going up and asking someone is a success whether they say yes or no. So find that space in yourself to celebrate those successes and it will help you feel much better about the things that you’re doing and help ease that disappointment.

Cathy: I really encourage you to watch your self-talk too. If someone says no and you’re like, “Yup, I told you you’re stupid, fat, and ugly. Why did you even bother coming out tonight? You shouldn’t exist.” Like I have had talk like that in the past that I’ve learned to …

Liz: There’s a great song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend about that self-talk.

Cathy: Oh really?

Liz: Yes. It’s hilarious. The chorus is, “You ruined everything you stupid bitch.” Like you listen to that song and it’s funny and oh, it hits.

Cathy: Yeah.

Liz: Yeah.

Cathy: So if you can watch your self-talk, that’s really useful. And realize that most emotions if we can just genuinely feel them, they will pass. When we’re fighting them or trying to push them away, they stick around a long time.

Liz: Yeah.

Cathy: And if you have a big reservoir of disappointment of anger or frustration about that, find a therapist or a coach to work through it because if you’re approaching with someone like, “You’re a bitch and I know you’re going to say no and prove that I’m not worthy …”

Liz: Or like if you’re going up to someone like, “Oh, of course they’re going to say no to me.” It’s, “Do you want to cuddle?”

Cathy: No.

Liz: Right. It feels sticky. It feels problematic.

Cathy: Yeah. Versus, “Hey, you seem pretty cool. Would you be interested in cuddling?”

Liz: Yeah, totally want to cuddle.

Cathy: So just realize that the energy is part of the dialogue and how you’re talking to yourself, how you’re carrying yourself and what you’re telling yourself about it is huge. So, if you can work through some of the old stuff, I love EFT, emotional freedom techniques, for clearing stuff or find a coach or a therapist that can help you work through it. And just practice in a fun way if you can.

Liz: Yeah.

Cathy: Look for the nos.

Liz: Find a game. Find a way that makes it fun and entertaining for you. And remember, it’s just a no, right? Like at the end of the day, it can be hurtful. It can be disappointing. But there are what? Seven billion people on this planet. Eventually, one of them is going to say yes.

Cathy: Yes. And it helps if you go approach them with a lighthearted energy if you can.

Liz: If you can.

Cathy: Yeah. We’d love to know what you think. I know this is a really tough subject.

Liz: It is. Rejection is such a tough subject for everyone.

Cathy: So let us know what you think. We’d love to know.