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Getting rejected on purpose was a 'unique' way to start 2023

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The Crown Publishing Group
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Part of the cover from the book "Rejection Proof" by Jia Jiang.

I carry a congealed and sometimes dangerous emotion: shame. That’s why I started the new year by asking for a haircut at PetSmart.

It wasn't for a prank or to entertain a retail employee. It was to get over my fear of embarrassment by doing rejection therapy. This social experiment started as a self-help game created by Jason Comely in which being rejected is the sole purpose. But it was perfected by Jia Jiang, who developed a 100-day challenge to desensitize himself.

I decided to take that challenge — although only for a week — and check off a few dares from Jiang’s list to see if I could overcome my avoidance tendencies. Spoiler alert: I completed the challenges and ended up feeling like a failure because I did fail. Multiple times.

Looking at it from the perspective of the new year, do we set ourselves up for failure when we reflect and set intentions for the 12 months ahead? For this episode of Uniquely Milwaukee, I spoke with Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, senior psychologist at UW Health, to get a better handle on the underlying feelings within the “New Year, New You” mindset.

I also take you on the journey that was my crash course in rejection therapy and the complicated feeling that even though I completed my mission, I still felt like I failed.

Audio Storyteller | Radio Milwaukee