Rejection of any kind hurts but romantic rejection hurts deeply. The pain of being told by someone you love that they don’t love you back or can’t be with you any longer is better imagined than experienced. You suddenly feel as if the whole world is crumbling on your head as you try to make sense of what happened to you.
The rejection people feel when their partners leave them for someone else can be daunting. It hurts down to the soul. Not only do they feel the loss, the hurt and the emptiness, they have to deal with the knowledge that they have been replaced. No matter how nicely the rejection message was passed, it still feels like the rejected person is no longer good enough and have been replaced with someone better. That hurts!
Emotional pain is only one of the ways rejection impact people’s well being. It also damages their mood, self-esteem and elicit swells of anger and aggression. Being rejected destabilizes someone’s need to belong and feel loved. Unfortunately, the greatest damage rejection causes is self-inflicted. People who get rejected start feeling sorry for themselves for not meeting the standards of their partners.
Even those who know their self-worth and try not to take things personally have to face the fact that, when rejection occurs, their expectations and reality landed nowhere near each other. Having a romantic prospect say, “You’re not for me” can sting quite a bit. And if there are any issues of low self-esteem there, it’s very difficult not to take rejection personally.
In those cases, rejection can even be triggering, causing someone to engage in destructive behaviour as a way of seeking an outlet for the pain. This is why you see someone drinking excessively or impulsively begging to be taken back because they can’t handle a romantic rejection. It’s common because people want to escape the uncomfortable emotions that come with rejection.
However, if you can switch your mindset regarding rejection, you can actually find that rejection provides an opportunity to learn and grow. It would be great if you didn’t even use the word rejection because it conjures images of someone desperately seeking approval of someone else. In reality, rejection can simply occur when two adults see if they are right for each other, and one or both identify that they are not. And, honestly, even if one person comes to the conclusion first, the other will have to do the same eventually. But there is a lot of pride when it comes to who cuts the cord first and pride can cause the rejected person to behave in negative ways.
This is why some Nigerian men resort to insults, threats and slut shaming of women who rejected them. They try to hurt these women back by telling them that there’s nothing special about them. We all know that’s a lie, that’s the pain of rejection speaking. If there was nothing special about these women, why did these men approach them for romantic relationships in the first place? Even though it hurts to be rejected by a romantic interest, insulting them doesn’t speak well of you. People should know how to deal with their emotions and turn rejection to a learning process.
Feelings are not facts. Rejection is a feeling and your feelings are valid but your feelings are not facts. The problem with labeling it as rejection is that then that shame fog happens. Feeling rejected creates shame and then you start blaming yourself for daring to love and express your feelings. Then you start feeling not good enough. You think you were rejected because you lack something and that fuels your anger.
While some people try to find the lesson after rejection, others can turn it inward, and seek more to blame themselves than find a constructive truth. The reality is when your relationship ends you were a participant in that. There are lessons to learn. But if you’re stuck on this feeling of being rejected, you won’t learn the right lesson. You’ll think ‘Oh it’s because of your body, or because you lack money or because you didn’t meet the other person’s standards. You should learn to move on when love is no longer served. Life goes on.
People should know that rejection doesn’t hang on one small thing. Maybe the real lesson to learn was that you were willing to pursue someone who never showed he or she was emotionally available for a relationship. That’s how shame clouds your judgment. That’s what happens when you label things as rejection. You focus on the wrong thing. It’s not about you not being good enough. It’s about you understanding the choices that you made.
If you must learn from your experience, look for patterns not isolated incidents. Relationships are an incredible teacher for us of what our triggers are, where we are in our self-love journey, and what we believe about love. It’s a very powerful thing to look at your past relationships or your past situationships or the people you have gone out with and start to see the patterns. You are the common denominator in all of your patterns. There is something to learn there. Learn to do better when it comes to choosing love interests.
You need to stop judging yourself for being rejected, assess the situation instead. When you ask yourself why you keep dating a particular kind of person, it comes from a place of compassionate curiosity not judgment. Then you can start to see the lessons. Then you can start to see more clearly that maybe you have to take responsibility for the fact that you are so focused on getting someone to love you that you don’t show up as your true self when you are dating people.
When it comes to dealing with a romantic rejection, you need to ask yourself if you sabotage yourself in relationships. You may not know it but your attitude may be putting off your partners. Maybe you have to come to terms with the fact that you have so much insecurity that when somebody tries to give you the love and affection that you want, you can’t receive it, and self-sabotage. Maybe that’s been a pattern and that is what is causing your relationships to end. Some of the people you feel rejected you because you are not good enough may have broken up with you because you are not emotionally available enough and you love drama more than peace.
If you are going through rejection, use the time to heal. Just going through that process of writing it out and reflecting on that can give you incredible information about what you need to do and help you to reveal a pattern. Then your next step is to figure out what the pattern is all about. You must be curious about your experience so that you can start to heal and change things. But you have to be gentle with yourself otherwise you won’t get the right answers.
Talking to someone can help you heal from the pain of being rejected. If you are someone who has never really learned how to self-reflect and to tap into what your real emotions are – how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way – then therapy is fantastic. If you’re a person who is dealing with a lot of trauma, and so stuck in the shame fog that you don’t have the tools to move past it or move out of it on your own, then therapy can be a really amazing resource. Talk to a professional about your feelings so that you can heal and not hurt the next person you will date.