Rejection is an integral part of life. It can be a traumatizing and life-changing experience. Whether your feelings for a romantic interest are not met, a friend has turned their back on you, or a family loved one is canceling your emotions, rejection sucks.
Depending on how you process being rejected by someone you love, this experience can be stigmatizing or fuel positive change and evolution.
You can close your heart to new possibilities or transform your heartache into an opportunity for learning and growing.
Do you want to learn how to process being rejected by someone you love healthily? Would you like to turn your pain into the potential for more openness, connection, and love? Let’s discover how.
Why Does It Hurt To Be Rejected By Someone You Love?
In psychological terms, rejection can be defined as the emotional experience and response that occurs when an individual perceives denial of love, attention, interest, or approval. This experience can trigger negative emotions that resemble those of actual physical pain.
So, the next time you think being rejected by someone you love is no biggy, and you should be able to get over it in no time, think again. Neuroimaging studies have shown that the brain regions activated in response to physical pain can also be activated when experiencing social rejection.
Why is this happening? Maybe, by understanding the reasons behind our emotional response to rejection, we can process them more effectively.
We can trace the origins of our response to rejection back to the ages of the first human communities. Back then, being part of a social group was directly linked to your potential for survival.
Therefore, being excluded from this group could physically harm you, hence the overlapping reaction to physical and social pain.
How Does Your Brain Process Rejection
Having a loved one walk out of your life is undeniably a great loss. Even if that person is still alive and well, you might perceive their rejection as death. Even if that sounds dramatic, rejection is an abrupt end to a relationship you held close to your heart.
You need time to process and mourn what has been lost. That is why the process of dealing with rejection may resemble the five stages of grief. In her book “On Death and Dying,” psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced a model for processing imminent death.
When being rejected by someone you love, your first reaction might be to deny the whole thing. Refusing to see the truth or underestimating the situation is a coping mechanism, protecting you from shock and negative emotions.
After the reality of rejection has sunk in, anger may bubble up. This frustration may be directed toward the person that left you behind. How could they not see your worth? Why did they betray you?
This anger may well be directed inwards. Blaming yourself for the situation and tearing apart your own worth.
At this point, you will believe that you might be able to turn things around and win that person over again. You may begin theorizing about the reasons you have been rejected and assuring yourself that you can undo what has been done.
When the initial vigilance dials down, the realization of the loss of a loved one surfaces. Deep sadness and difficult-to-process emotions arise. Falling again back to denial is going to insert you in an infinite loop of reliving the grief of being rejected by someone you love.
The only way to move to the next step is to live through these harsh feelings, process them, and then let them go.
When you have embodied the grieving emotions, you finally come to terms with the rejection. In this step, logic can be your guide. Now, you are able to go back to the events with a clear mind and evaluate them, draw conclusions, identify your mistakes, and move forward.
How To Deal With Being Rejected By Someone You Love
No matter how painful being rejected by someone you love can be, now you know that there is a way through it. Even though it may seem impossible, the overwhelming situation you are in will resolve with time.
However, there are steps to take to manage rejection in a self-protective way and turn it into potential for self-improvement:
Acknowledge The Way You Feel
Negative emotions can be like a hot potato; you want to get rid of them as soon as they land in your arms. This can lead you to brush the situation off like it is no biggy.
You may believe that you can get over it and move on in no time. But rushing yourself like this does you more harm than you think.
Don’t take things lightly. Avoid underestimating the situation and belittling your emotions. Something major happened to you, and you have every right to take your time and process how you feel.
Refresh Your Sense Of Self-Worth
Modern society has conditioned us to believe that our self-worth is determined by how others accept and perceive us. Therefore, being rejected by someone you love can deliver a major blow to your self-appreciation.
Teach yourself that you are worthy regardless of others’ opinions of you. Redefine your self-worth by reminding yourself of who you are.
You deserve love just because you are, and one person’s rejection does not define your right to be held in acceptance.
Shift Your Mindset
We build our reality by the way we perceive the things that happen to us. Make a mindset shift to consider rejection as someone admitting that they cannot love you in the way you want to be loved at the moment.
We cannot hold people in our life against their will. We do not deserve to remain in situations that do not serve our well-being.
Sometimes, the greatest act of love we can receive from someone is them walking away. This way, they make space for new acquaintances and better relationships.
Surround Yourself With Comfort People
You do not have to go through heartache alone. Being rejected by someone you love can leave you feeling worthless and unlovable. Remind yourself that you still have people rooting for you by being around them more often.
Love Yourself More Than Ever Before
Now is not the time to punish yourself for all the things you did wrong. Judging our mistakes when we simultaneously process harsh emotions can lead to devastating self-talk and shattering of our self-worth.
Accept yourself fully with your wrong-doings and focus on tending to your emotional and physical needs during these hard times.
Channel Your Negative Emotions
Have you noticed that after a challenging heartbreak, many people fall back to unhealthy habits, like binge eating, drinking, or going out too late? All this is a fight-or-flight reaction to rejection in an effort to process or numb the negative emotions.
Instead of this, find creative and healthy ways to steam and express negative emotions. You can try therapy, ecstatic dancing, art classes, doing a sport, or anything that helps you out.
Lean On Your Routine
Routines are things we habitually do without much thinking. In other words, our routines help our brains take time off, which is perfect when dealing with tough situations.
They also allow us to continue with our life even when traumatic things happen. When being rejected by someone you love, it’s easy to feel sidetracked and lost. Having a routine to fall back on can help you stay healthy and on your feet.
Be Alone For As Much Time As You Need
Especially when you are turned down by the person you are romantically interested in, you may turn to other potential lovers to get the validation you lack. However, when hurt, we may prioritize attention over honest care.
Therefore, we may not make the best decisions and settle for people that don’t deserve us. Adequate alone time is necessary to step back into your shoes and redefine yourself, your needs, and your priorities.
Don’t Close Your Heart
Being rejected by someone you love can be a traumatizing experience, leading many people to avoid putting themselves out there for fear of being hurt again. But heartbreak is part of the process.
Sure, if you don’t make yourself available for deep connection again, you will probably not have an unexpected turn of events. But you will also strip yourself of the chance to experience true love, joy, and partnership.
Receive Rejection As A Chance To Evolve
When you have processed all the difficult emotions that come with being rejected by someone you love, you are ready to go back and evaluate the situation. With a clear mind and no bias, you can think about your actions, spot your mistakes, and identify room for improvement.
When you realize where things went wrong, you are able to navigate new relationships without repeating the mistakes of the past.
Conclusion On How To Deal With Being Rejected By Someone You Love
Being rejected by someone you love can be a painful and life-changing experience. However, it’s important to remember that rejection is a natural part of life and can be an opportunity for growth and positive change.
By acknowledging and processing your emotions, refreshing your sense of self-worth, shifting your mindset, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and practicing self-care, you can turn heartache into an opportunity for learning and evolution.
Remember to be kind to yourself, channel your negative emotions in healthy ways, lean on your routine, and take adequate alone time to redefine yourself and your priorities.
Most importantly, don’t close your heart to new possibilities and receive rejection as a chance to evolve and navigate new relationships with a clear mind.