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Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us: Saying No with Kindness and Grace

Does Rejecting People Have to Hurt?

by Cassendre Xavier

I the dating world, it is common for wimmin to receive four times or more in response from men than the other way around. Whether it's online personals or in real life, we are just approached much more often than men are approached by wimmin.

This means we have many more opportunities to say no.

I realized recently that it would behoove me to step up my rejection skills and up my game in that department, if you will. (As it were!)

It isn't that I thought every single one of the men I had actual phone conversations with deserved my kindness and emotionally
intelligent approach (some did). It was that I believed they were all worthy of that, spiritually.

I believe it to be my duty as a spiritual persun to always meet people at, and as, their best.

It is also highly enjoyable to me to meet the challenge of writing or saying the rejection in the most clear, honest, direct, and final way.

Saying "no" can be an exercise in beautiful self-expression and boundaries. Done well, it can leave even the rejected party feeling more esteemed and content than before.

I remember years ago I attended the Behind Our Masks: Queer Writers Conference in
Boston, Massachusetts.

I went to a workshop about spirituality. One of my mentors, Barbara Carrellas (author of Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for this Twenty-First Century), was among the panelists, along with an exciting last minute fill-in, her partner Kate Bornstein, gender activist and artist.

Barbara shared a touching and poignant story of when she had worked on Broadway. There was a youth-casted show which featured all male actors. Over the years, when a boy began puberty, he had to be excused from the show, as he was now too old advanced in age for his role.

Television actors often talk about how difficult it is when they are no longer working on a show. It is very sad for, and hard for them, because they are used to seeing the same few people every weekday, for several years. The other actors, and crew all become like family. What makes it harder is that they know that despite saying they will stay in touch with one another, they most often don't. They know this because they see it, in other shows, with other casts and crews. They know it's over, and it's very painful. (I would imagine some of them probably go into therapy to help them deal with that difficult transition and grief of loss. Or, if they are like me and already go to therapy regularly for maintenance and support, they just make it a topic to be discussed in therapy.)

If leaving a show can be this upsetting for adults, can you image the potential trauma for children?

Well, Barbara was faced with the task of firing one of the boys in the Broadway show. He had grown too old to play the part.

Being a loving and dedicated persun, Barbara was challenged to create a way to tell this dear child that this wonderful part of his life was over. How would she go about it? To paraphrase, and from my memory:

"...the time has come for your character to continue to be portrayed as, and played by, a little boy, instead of a young man."

Isn't that amazing?

Barbara's face lit up as she mimicked what she said was the actor's expression when the final two words were said. He was a young man now, and possibly for the first time, stood straighter and prouder than before. Now he was becoming a man. What boy (or male-identified persun) wouldn't want to hear that?

This story has remained with me as a powerful example of how love can be imbued or applied in any situation.

That goes with letting someone down easy.

I am learning to say no in the best ways. I tailor each rejection accordingly, to save not only their hurt feelings, but also my own stress level (often times just clicking "Block" is the kindest, most gentle way to shove someone off!).

For instance, I have decided to say no to someone who has been trying to hook up with me. From the beginning I have not felt a connection, but there were other features I was open to, such as his attentiveness. So I had a phone conversation with him. I loved his voice but eight of ten of my other "boxes" of needs would not be checked.

After the hour and forty-five minute mostly pleasant conversation, I knew about his family, his dog, and his town of residence, but I didn't know how we would be healthily relating even two years from now, or whether I would even wish to.

I expressed my hesitations from the beginning and even several times during ours conversation.

The instant I hung up, I knew I was done.

I composed my good-bye note to him in my mind, planning to send it after I had lunch.

It reads:

Thank you for your time and lovely conversation today. As I mentioned before, you do have some qualities I find appealing. However, I decided I am not willing to add another long distance relationship at this time. This decision is final.
As far as ongoing contact, I am fine with you enjoying my content (pics, writings, videos, etc.). But only click "Love" and kindly refrain from writing any comments. Also I would like no further messages from you except in confirming your receipt of, and agreement to, this message.
Thank you again and I look forward to hearing from you.

I decided to write this essay in honor of Barbara Carrellas, who inspired me to share it.

May we all enjoy the abundance of pleasure (or as Barbara calls it, "ecstasy"), and may we continue to be kind wherever possible, beginning with ourselves.

Cassendre Xavier has been writing the "Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us" series at Wisdom Magazine's online edition since 2011. She is the author of the forthcoming book Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us: Dating & Relationships for the Poly, Recovering, Survivor & Tantric, and has presented her workshop of the same title at Sisterspace Weekend in Darlington, Maryland (September 2014) and the 10th & 11th Annual Poly Living Conference in Philadelphia (February 2015 & 2016, respectively). Cassendre was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at age 23. She has been a member of Philadelphia's LGBT, polyamorous, and New Age/ancient wisdom spiritual communities since 1991, and from 1996-1999 facilitated Sisters Healing Together, a peer support group for women survivors of incest with a special focus on compulsive overeating, which she also founded, at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia. Under her self-assigned spiritual name Amethyste Rah, Cassendre released the popular Affirmations for Survivors guided meditation audio series (“Self-Love” and “Spirituality” in 2007, and “Sexuality” and “Life Skills” are forthcoming). For more information, please visit https://cassendrexavier.wordpress.com/

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