"Even if you realize that it wasn't you that was the problem, it still just hurts," psychotherapist Sharon Martin said.
If I have to remove one sentence from the English language, it would be this, "It's not you, it's me." But, I do not have that power, so here I am writing an article on rejection. The bitter sting of rejection never fails to hurt. It could hit us in any sphere of our lives, a job, a date, or a friend. Can we do anything to avoid rejection? No. Rejection comes with most endeavors that we plan to pursue in life.
What we can avoid is the aftermath of any rejection, the self-loathing, "maybe, I am not smart enough or pretty enough or successful enough, basically not good enough." To know how to avoid rejection, we should also know why it hurts so much. This comes from our evolutionary past. There was shame for not belonging to a tribe, as it affected our survival. Today, when we are rejected, our brain feels the same primal pain, as per New York Times.
Maybe, we were not even rejected and there was a communication gap. It would be beneficial to explore other possibilities before reaching a conclusion. But, if we are sure, we have been rejected, here are some ways to cope with this pain:
As Sharon Martin, LCSW and psychotherapist told TODAY, "Whether it's time to self-reflect or allow yourself to cry or to journal about it, talk to a friend or a therapist. Give yourself the ability to process that experience." We should also keep in mind that grieving looks different for everybody and we should find what works best for us.
Once we have acknowledged the loss, take some time to reflect on what really happened along with the narrative one is attaching to the situation. "Being able to look at it and see if that's actually fair and accurate, or whether you're being too hard on yourself," Martin said. "Even if you realize that it wasn't you that was the problem, it still just hurts."
Some kinds of rejection are invisible to human eyes. While our friends might know the end of our relationship, we might have to ask for support for other kinds of rejections like being passed over for a promotion or not getting a job we applied for.
"Sometimes we don't get as much support from friends and family around those kinds of things because they can't really see it," Martin said. "The people around you don't necessarily recognize that loss in the same way or understand that it's hurting as much as it does."
While it might make us vulnerable, it can also make us learn from each rejection. Jia Jiang, speaker, author, and founder of Rejection Therapy recommended saying, "I would love to have some feedback for my own benefit, so I can improve on my end."
If it is a personal relationship, Jiang suggested saying, "I would really like to know what happened, it would make me feel much better about moving on and not holding it in."
"The world is so much bigger than just one person, one job, or one relationship,” Jiang said. "It's so much bigger."
These few steps can help us grieve the rejection that plagues us and even emerge better out of it.
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images