We usually come across these commonly used statements like “You’ll get someone better”; “I’m sorry I have to focus on my career for now”; “I’m already engaged”; “I’m sorry but I like you as a friend and nothing more than that”. These sentences prick more than anything else to the one who is at the receiving end.
Rejection has evidently deeper connections with the attachment styles as given in the Attachment theory developed by psychologist Mary Ainsworth and psychiatrist John Bowlby in the 1950s. The feeling of being in love is beautiful but it is equally hurting to digest the rejection in it.
Rejection makes one raise questions about self-efficacy and eventually hampers self-confidence. The melancholic feelings are natural to emerge but they need to be dealt with in an effective manner, if not, they’re either suppressed or projected inappropriately harming a different area of life.
Once we find the link between our thoughts, emotions and approach towards this situation it is easier for us to deal with it and try to avoid the discomfort.
Here are some guidelines about how to handle rejection in love:
- Acknowledgement of your own feelings – When we say we got hurt, we feel pain in reference with emotions, we usually do not exactly know what we feel. Similarly, once we know we have been rejected, there might be a mixture of emotions in the mind and it can be chaotic. To avoid all the mental commotion, it is necessary to acknowledge the feelings. Whether it is sadness, anger or embarrassment or all at the same time, we should be well aware of it. This acknowledgement will help one not only accept themselves and the situation but also pave a way for choosing the right coping mechanism.
- Acceptance of self – When we get rejected especially by someone we have our feelings invested in, we usually tend to doubt ourselves as a person. The fault-finding mode switches on and is activated in full swing raising questions regarding self-efficacy, demeaning our self-image and degrading our self-confidence. This naturally happens because we feel that we lack behind in something and that’s why the rejection. It is normal to have these thoughts but it is not okay to let these thoughts dwell in our minds. Accepting our natural self, the conditions we live in and the way we are on all the respective backgrounds is a must. This acceptance gives us the closure we need and also helps us understand that we did not get rejected because we are flawed, but just because the other person is seeking for something else. Acceptance restores the self-confidence and helps the self-love to overpower the mind and the thoughts of “lacking somewhere” are not entertained.
- Manifestations and statements to self – When we instruct ourselves is when we are in control of ourselves. After acknowledging and accepting the situation, feelings and the state of self, it is time to console ourselves and start healing the part that has been hurting. In the sentence that says, ‘I was rejected because the person is looking for someone better’, the word better must be replaced with different. In this manner, one gets accustomed to the fact that the reason for rejection does not lie in the way you are but in the other person’s expectation. Telling ourselves that each and everyone’s demands, expectations and wishes differ and that everyone has the right to choose, will help us sort our emotions and the thoughts associated with it.
- Rebooting this aspect of life – The feeling of rejection from a loved one is generally followed by a huge void. The feelings of hopelessness and emptiness kick in. It blurs out the direction and it becomes difficult to be in the present and channelize our thoughts. These overwhelming feelings can make one think like nothing makes sense anymore or something on the similar lines. At this stage, one should remember that this is an experience in life and this does not define your life or you as a being. You are beyond these thoughts and this incident. This is something that happened on the personal front of life, and there are other areas that actively contribute to your personality and being. Considering this as one of the downs in life, and moving ahead in this journey will help you explore and learn more about yourself and eventually assign a meaning and reframe this area of life as well. This will also help you refresh and reboot yourself .
- Practicing gratitude – It is a natural human tendency to complaint more and appreciate less. The expression of discomfort is always more in intensity compared to that of content. But the more we are grateful for something the more satisfied we feel. When we have a list of goals or plans to be accomplished, we usually forget to be grateful towards the ones that we achieve, in the hustle of jumping on to the next one. If we start being grateful for what we have, we will be able to celebrate it and feel the immense joy that lies within. Hence, when we get rejected by one person, it is important for us to be grateful towards the other people we have who genuinely love us, accept us, and want us. The rejection in the romantic space of life, does not mean define your other interpersonal relationships. Being thankful for having caring parents, supportive mentors/teachers or boss, helpful friends and peers is very important. Cherishing the bonds one already has, makes one regain the belief in relationships.
- Reaching out – Any form of pain always requires enough amount of expression and a firm tank to be let out into. This can mean talking to friends or parents regarding the incidence and just verbalizing your thoughts about it. Interacting with others comes with a set of inputs and suggestions which can be helpful and calming or sometimes aggravating the feelings. If the feelings are intensified, one should seek professional help which means talking to a counselor. It helps one handle the situation systematically without further emotional damage.
It takes a lot of guts for one to be on the receiving end of rejection in love. To process this feeling one needs to help himself and rise above that particular incident. If one is willing to work on it and learn the lesson, there is nothing that can stop him/her from being back to their life and becoming a more advanced version of himself/herself. If one avoids acting on the pain and continues living in discomfort it might lead to emotional vulnerability and build grounds for risky behavior for coping. Taking help from time to time does not make anyone weak and the one who does it grows better efficiently. Knowing that this is not the end, there is always more to life is the comforting reality at every step in life.
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