Rejection, as most people can attest to, is a painful thing.
It is a painful thing to get rejected, no cap.
And rejection can look like a lot of things, from not being wanted by your parent(s), to not getting picked to pair with someone in school, to being bullied, to getting rejected in a romantic relationship. And all of these can bear the same weight of hurt.
Do you remember the first time you experienced rejection? Was it when you were younger or later in life? Do you remember what it felt like? Do you remember what you did to deal with it?
In our culture, topics like dealing with rejection are not really talked about. Which should be revised because all of us will encounter rejection at one point or the other. It could be something that someone else considers small but to you, it could cause a rejection wound. And these are very important to deal with, because they do show up later in life in completely different circumstances.
Now that we’ve established rejection is something that we’ll all face, let’s talk about unhealthy coping mechanisms when that happens. Negative coping habits can look like:
- Taking alcohol
- Doing drugs
- Reckless sex
- Habouring bitterness and anger
- Bad mouthing the perpetrator
- Investing time and energy in unproductive activities
- Allowing the rejection to make you question your worth
- Negotiating. This just prolongs your pain
- Anger and Aggression
However, there are healthy ways that one can deal with rejection. Some of these ways include:
- Acknowledging your emotions. Don’t deny or avoid what you are feeling. Allow yourself to feel your emotions.
- Accept those emotions, and yourself. It’s part of the process. Treat yourself with compassion through it.
- Refuse to let the rejection define you. Separate yourself from the rejection. Rejection has no correlation with your worth. You have to believe that.
- Say no to your inner critic. Getting rejected is not all about you.
- Meditate on your strengths. Remind yourself what they are.
- Focus on what you still have.
- Do something you enjoy doing. A little distraction may prove helpful. Apply this with wisdom.
- Talk to a friend you trust. A problem shared is a problem half-solved. Emoting is a good way to release.
- Going for therapy is also connected to this. It can be extremely therapeutic to go for counselling.
- Consider praying about it and taking it to God.
Finally, an excerpt from Psych Alive:
The Powerful Seduction of Rejection
All I want is him. He’s the only one that I will ever love, that I will ever feel this way with. What went wrong? Why did he stop loving me? Stop wanting me? How can I get him to love me again? If I could just figure it out. If I get in better shape, wear the clothes he likes, try to look my best, do his laundry, make him food, will he love me then? What is it? What’s wrong with me? He wanted me, and he loved me, and now it’s gone. This is making me crazy. I have to figure it out. I have to fix it: I need to get his love back.
Only I can’t. He’s done. He’s changed, his passion, his wanting me, it’s gone away. He lost it. Who knows why. Really he stopped wanting me several years ago; he started to repel against me, turn me away when I came towards him, when I wanted him.
But why, why do I want someone who doesn’t want me? What am I yearning for? Why am I so compelled to get this love back? How can a man who doesn’t want me be the object of my whole focus and desire? I realize, suddenly, something is wrong. It’s too much; he’s too much. It’s out of proportion. He doesn’t deserve this level of my need and want and focus. Why? Why am I doing this? And then I understand. I realize his not wanting me, but more than that, his changing…the love being there, and then being gone… that’s what’s so compelling.
Fixing this, getting the love back… I am back home. I’m 4 years old, in a house with a mother who doesn’t want me, who has no love for me, and a father who can only show his feelings for me when she is out of sight. I’m so confused. I had my father’s love and attention, and then, it went away. He had nothing for me; he was protecting her. Maybe I could have known it wasn’t me – that they were lacking and unable to give me love, consistent, trustworthy, genuine love. But instead, I felt the rejection, the aloneness, and I knew deep down there was something wrong with me. With her, I was too much. With him, I was not enough. There was no way to be that was okay. I lost the love, and in its place, found desperate, lonely self-hate and insecurity.
This is what I’m trying to fix. It’s not about the man in my life today. I can handle that. The reality is, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t getting what I want. I’m a desirable woman. I can have more. It was me, the old me, the child me, hoping and needing to fix myself and get the love, strategizing for love. That’s not what a child should ever have to do. Now I look at him, and he starts to fade. My attention broadens. He is just a man who rejected me. The desperation dulls. Now, he is less often in my thoughts. He is just a person. He is off the pedestal that his rejection of me elevated him to.
I’m done being seduced by rejection. Getting his love is not what I need. Loving myself, knowing who I am, how I was hurt, seeing my parents’ deficiencies back then, instead of taking them on as my own. Not trying to get that reassurance from someone else, not putting my needs on others. I don’t need to fix this old pain to make me okay. I’m okay now, and I was okay then.