Knowing how to deal with rejection and what to do when it happens will help you to cope with rejection and recover more quickly.
Rejection happens to us all in so many ways. It brings with it a whole host of what we’d generally consider to be negative feelings. I know, from personal and professional experience, that it can hurt like a physical pain.
But, I promise - you can learn to handle it, and I’m here to help you find out how. I know you're mentally strong enough to get through this, because you were born with all the skills you need!
So, if you were rejected and you're feeling crappy - hurt, disappointed, perhaps angry and maybe even a failure - hang on in there. These are all normal feelings under the circumstances.
Whatever the form of rejection you suffered, I’ll help you discover new ways of looking at the situation and specific strategies to help you feel better. Stick with me, and together we’ll get you through this difficult time.
For further information on your particular situation, be sure to also follow the relevant link(s) for even more help:
Either way, it’s going to hurt.
If you’ve been feeling rejected for some time, you’ve probably been tying yourself in knots trying to figure out what’s gone wrong. And I’ll bet the strain of it all is making you feel pretty exhausted and low.
Maybe, in your heart of hearts, you’ve known for a little while that your relationship just isn’t right anymore.
Deep down, you might have been expecting a major fall-out. Or perhaps you’ve felt like your partner’s been changing lately. Did you think s/he was just having a rough time… or have you even suspected an affair?
Or are you automatically blaming yourself, and trying to identify what you’ve done wrong?
When you’re in the middle of such a confusing situation, it can be difficult to find the answers on your own. And there’s nothing more reassuring than some trustworthy advice from someone who’s not inside your own head!
So, I encourage you to talk to a trusted friend or family member, to get their take on the situation. Alternatively, you can now very easily connect with an online relationship expert (please note: this is a paid service).
First, though, I’ve got plenty of advice to help you start finding your way through the maze of the feelings you’re going through right now...
I cannot explain it any better than Prof Helen Fisher in this TED talk:
The way you feel will be part of your very personal response to bad news and/or being let down by someone important to you.
In other words, someone else in the same position might have felt worse than you do, or might not have been upset in the slightest. There is no right or wrong reaction here!
Your reaction will depend on your personality, your specific circumstances, your relationship history and the way in which you were rejected.
The following reactions are what I’d generally expect to see in anyone who has just been given bad news:
Most of these symptoms are likely to slowly disappear in the following days, possibly being replaced by a sense of gloom, sadness and lack of interest in anything.
After a couple of weeks you should begin to see some light again. Very slowly, the periods that you feel a little better will become more frequent and last longer.
After 4 - 6 weeks, you’ll be getting on with things again, and feeling like you’re beginning to recover. Good days may still be intermingled with really lousy days, but you can expect to be on the right track.
So, if you’re here today because you’ve suddenly been rejected, my very best advice for you right now is to give yourself time to heal. Don’t expect an overnight recovery, and know that the way you’re feeling is likely to be very, very normal.
And always remember: rejection hurts everyone and you're mentally much stronger than you think you are. The pain you experience does NOT say anything about your strength of character!
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As human beings we have a strong need to feel secure. But when you’re rejected, your sense of security is threatened. You may feel abandoned, scared or hopeless.
Depending on the form of rejection and its duration, you can feel anything from temporarily overwhelmed to constantly being at the mercy of low self-esteem.
The reality is, unfortunately, that criticism and rejection are very much part of life.
But you get to decide how it 'makes' you feel!
Will you let it beat you, or will you seize it as an opportunity to grow, develop and become mentally stronger? You can decide how to cope with rejection.
If you’ve felt badly let down in previous relationships - however old you were and for whatever reason - rejection may now ‘prove’ your belief in the fact that you’re not worthy of being loved and cherished.
If that sense of worthlessness doesn’t pass - or indeed grows stronger - promise me that you'll find some professional help.
Read on for further help on how to deal with rejection...
If your partner / spouse is having or has had an affair, it is understandable that you worry about what might be wrong with you. Perhaps the affair has suddenly made you become acutely aware of your perceived 'shortcomings'.
Trust me, I really get that. Each and every one of my clients in your position who came to me to find out how to deal with rejection has gone through the same turmoil.
However, right now I want you to stop focusing on your faults (though of course you play a role in what happens in your relationship) by knowing that:
I have written extensively about infidelity and the best thing you can do now is to discover what to do and what not starting with my article: Surviving Infidelity.
Get over the initial shock first. See yourself through the initial couple of weeks as best you can – ideally with the help of friends and family, and by treating yourself kindly.
When you are over the initial shock the following suggestions may help...
When you’re feeling a little stronger, it’ll be time to take action.
Without judging yourself, aim to discover, face up to and and get a grip on precisely why you’ve been rejected. You may find my article on problem solving strategies helpful for this exercise.
Once you’ve understood and accepted what’s happened, it’s time to start planning your next steps for recovery. Planning will help you look to the future and move forward.
Your plan should include positive things you’ll do every day to move you towards healing the hurt you’re feeling right now. Remember to be specific about exactly what you’re going to do and when. Having clear steps to follow will help you successfully make changes that can lead to a happier you.
I know you might find it hard to believe, but it may actually be a blessing that someone rejected you, let you down, abandoned or replaced you. It can be a huge opportunity for personal growth.
Stick with me!
Perhaps, if you looked deep into your heart, you knew you were in the wrong relationship but you were too scared to leave.
Or maybe you felt that you were gradually losing your real self, no matter how much you loved your (ex)partner. Over time you may have been re-shaping bits of yourself to fit in with whatever you thought you partner wanted from you.
Even if you’re adamant that this is/was the right relationship for you, your partner’s rejection does signal that there’s trouble somewhere along the line.
Three things on this one: firstly, I’d like you to check that you're not in an abusive relationship - read my article: Signs of emotional abuse.
Secondly, if your partner has had (or is having) an affair, it shows that they don’t feel the same way about the relationship as you do. And unless you're both on the same page, or at least in the same chapter, the relationship won’t be healthy and fulfilling.
So what on earth is the opportunity that’s come from this rejection?
Well, staying in a relationship that’s not right for one or both partners is never a recipe for long-term happiness. So, if you choose to look at it from a positive perspective, you’re now in a position to really tackle any relationship problems you knew were already troubling you.
Read my series of articles on how to 'make' your partner love you again to discover how you can become the best version of yourself. That is, without losing yourself! It may do your relationship and your self-esteem the world of good!
If the two of you have broken up then do take the time to heal and figure out what went wrong. You want to learn from this experience to help you avoid the same pitfalls in the future.
Only when you're able to love yourself and be happy by yourself, are you ready for a relationship that is healthy and right for you.
Once you've recovered from the heartbreak, you’ll have learnt that you’re more resilient that you might have previously believed.
You now know a little more about how to deal with rejection.
And remember this: unhappiness is not caused by what happens to you in life but how you react to and deal with what happens to you.
In other words, you’re in control of yourself and your feelings, so take action today to overcome your distress. You won't only survive, you'll thrive! I'm rooting for you.
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