Rejection is going to hurt. No matter how subtle, slow, and passive it is – it will hurt. Be it over a job interview, on a proposal you put forth or approaching someone you like…if you have encountered a ‘no’, it won’t be easy to take it.
It can crush your ego and self-esteem. It might create a setback that would take a while for you to recover from. However, facing rejection from a girl you ‘love’, someone who calls to your emotions like no one else ever has, can be a challenge of quite a dire nature.
‘Oh another instance that proves that I am worthless’ – the thought might take over your brain and heart. It might hate as bad as any physical pain ever has. There might be days where you would seize to function. There would be instances where you would find yourself drowning in despair and hopelessness.
But here, a more important question arises – why does it hurt so unusually and so much?
You would find yourself asking questions like:
- Why won’t she date me?
- Am I not good enough?
- Am I lacking something?
- Do I deserve this?
- I treated her nicely, why is she doing that in return?
Rather than letting it define your self-worth, think about it this way. You would finally be letting go of something that you cannot change or influence. You have achieved the freedom by finally coming at the face with the harsh fact and now you no longer would be holding onto something that does not belong to you.
One of the prime reasons why rejection hurts so much is because when we come at the face with it, we start asking questions that hurt our self-esteem more. So you just basically keep wounding what is already wounded by stabbing it more.
However, all these significant aspects of why rejection hurts so much cannot be addressed unless we talk about the following very important questions. To understand and then cater to the hurt caused by rejection, we first need to understand the underlying reasons of why it affects like that.
Why does it happen?
Well, an interesting scientific experiment revealed it all. When scientists placed people in a functional MRI machine, asking them to recall a recent rejection – they got to know an extraordinary fact. The same areas of the brain were activated which are mobilized when you experience physical pain.
Why is it so hard to deal with it?
Psychologists and mental health experts believed that this composite relate back to when humans survived off hunting. That ancient time gave birth to a very interesting arrangement – tribes. Humans, though evolved through times, cannot let go of the tribal nature. They have one direst fear, which is being ostracized. The rejection or the fear of being left alone is what affects them most because since the early times, we have developed an alert mechanism and a fear of being left alone.
The need to belong:
The emotional impact of rejection is multi-dimensional. Following it, you might also experience sudden bursts of anger and hurt. You may feel you are blowing out of proportion on minor issues and that is okay.
Ever wondered why is it so? It is because rejection destabilizes our need to ‘belong’. The most damaging impact is, of course, self-inflicted. We become extremely self-critical, call ourselves names and give us labels that we, for sure, do not deserve. Being deprived of the feeling of ownership and the need of belonging is what defines our behavior pattern following rejection.
Being social animals, humans crave social connections. Hence rejection leaves us feeling untethered and destabilized. Therefore, to feel accepted and wanted, we also crave acceptability and being embraced. But you have to numb it for yourself. She said no…so what? Rather than taking it as a hit at your self-esteem, welcome her decision with an open heart.
Tell yourself that it is absolutely OKAY that she could not see what you had to offer. Or maybe she had different expectations in life. In all the meanings, you were privileged enough to know an honest answer and not many people get to experience that honesty. It is far better than being lingered on, only to be stuck in a situation where you find that there is no way out.
While both physical and emotional pain bear a lot of similar characteristics as both activate the similar parts of the brain, they have one distinct characteristic: the revival is not similarly inflicting. If you have incurred a physical wound, thinking about it when the pain is gone won’t really hurt. But thinking about it even in the future might trigger the same emotions.
BUT – IT IS NOT END OF THE WORLD
Always remember that there is more for you in the future. The person, whose priorities do not align with you, cannot add much value to your life anyways. Coming at a face with rejection means you are getting a chance to know new people. People who might be like you. Those whose company you truly cherish and accept you just as you are.
You deserve acknowledgment and you will find the companionship of that nature. It does get better, eventually and certainly. Only if you let yourself feel it. Allow yourself to hurt and then allow yourself to heal. Always, always keep your priorities straight and that should be you – yourself. If there is anything that must be on your mind, it is to protect yourself against any mental damage.
You deserve the best. You are worthy. You should be treated as an utmost priority. You deserve the company that makes you feel important and wanted. Hence never settle for anything less. This rejection might be the best thing that has ever happened to you because you now can explore people who are most compatible with you.
Love is beautiful. And it must remain like that. Be it your love for someone else or your love for yourself.
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