Do you remember how it felt in school when PT classes were divided into two teams for a particular sport? And how, one by one, if you saw yourself being left out, you PRAYED not to be picked last or worse, not at all by either of the captains? All you wished, at that brief moment, was to be chosen by somebody. It didn't matter who did or on what basis. You would have done anything in your power to escape that low, sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that made you feel hurt, unloved and unvalued. 'Cause that's exactly how rejection felt - and still does!
I'm sure we've all faced rejection sometime in our lives - and maybe, more than just once. Whether it is being picked last for a sports team, cut out from your gang of friends, declined for a job interview or replaced by someone you loved - rejection always had the same, negative impact. No matter how many times we face it, it feels just as lousy as it did the first time around.
Sucks, doesn't it? The way someone else's actions play such a big role in your life without giving you absolutely no control over it? But wait. Do you *really* think we can't control our emotions? And why do you think it hurts THIS much? Read on to find out why rejection has such power over us!
Ever wondered why it hurts so much when we get rejected? Well, studies reveal that rejection triggers the same brain pathways which are activated when we experience any form of physical pain. When we go through rejection, our brain's mu-opioid receptor system releases certain natural painkillers, known as opioids. These are released from the exact same part of the brain in the face of physical pain as well. Hence, when it comes to a broken heart, the amount of emotional pain dealt throughout this phase is equivalent to the physical pain one deals with when any other part of the body is broken. Ouch!
Furthermore, it has been proved that when people get rejected, repeatedly, they worry about it ceaselessly and tend to become super sensitive, which eventually leads to something called 'self-rejection'. They sense a form of rejection coming their way even before it takes place. Dr Guy Winch, a renowned psychologist explains that "We start with this high volume of negative self-talk and criticism that takes the rejection to another level." While rejection does only 50% of the damage, the rest of it is done by us. So, next time, think twice before you decide to 'be prepared for the worst'.
Research points out that people with low self-esteem will experience more painful rejections and take longer time to heal than those who are confident. He notes that those who are more sensitive to rejections will eventually fall into certain patterns of behaviour such as those of social exclusion, isolation or self-protectiveness. So, how do you know if you're rejection-sensitive?
If you're having a conversation with somebody and all of a sudden, you see/hear something that makes you feel even the slightest bit rejected, you would stop paying attention to the rest of the interaction and keep thinking about the rejection consistently. You would start thinking of ways to get yourself out of situations that demand social interaction and begin avoiding people due to the fear of rejection. So, if this feels relatable, then deep down, you too, have dealt with the same fear.
However, not everyone deals with rejection in the same way. While some are used to taking things personally, too quickly and end up wanting to ignore everybody as a result, the others may try harder to "fit in" wherever they feel a sense of belonging. With every possibility of further connections, they try their best to be more likeable, conforming and people-pleasing. But if someone likes to assert their control over everything and everyone, they may even lash out or be aggressive enough to seek attention. This would then, push them further away from others!
This is because social rejection or a fear of rejection heightens negative emotions such as anger, depression, anxiety, sadness and jealousy in people. And for those who feel excluded most of the time, this also lowers their intellectual performance at work, leads to poor sleep quality and weakening of their immune system as compared to those with strong social connections. So, dear one - don't you think it's time to overcome all that pain in your heart before it starts affecting your life?
I agree. It's not easy to deal with any kind of rejection. And honestly, there's no right or wrong way to handle it anyway. We're complex beings and so is the process of overcoming the pain of rejection. We don't have the ability to delete anything from our minds (oh how I wish we could!) so we're obviously never forgetting anything for a while. But we do have the ability to pause, rewind and refresh! With time, we can train our minds into seeing the silver lining and learning something good from every rejection.
Mind you, this won't be yet, another self-help guide that would make you sound like a cribber and the process, "far easier than it sounds." I get it. It's not at all easy. It will take lots of time, patience and strength to get over it. So, my tips on coping with rejection aren't going to include any magical secrets to move on quickly. It will include all that a 23-year-old learnt through her personal experiences of facing rejection. Basically, giving you advice will be like speaking to myself - things I wish I had never done and things I wish I did (which I learnt later). So are you ready? Breathe, read and take one day at a time.
Growing up, we've all had crushes on cute guys (still do) and become infatuated with people from time to time. It may either last for a while or maybe, just for a few days. But as much as we hate to deny it, the realisation of seeing your crush *like* someone else REALLY breaks your heart a little. Doesn't it?
Don't Force Anything
I know this sounds harsh but there's NOTHING you can do to make someone like you. No matter how much you try to make it happen or change certain things about yourself - if it's not meant to happen, it won't. Simple. But that doesn't mean there's something fundamentally wrong with you or that you're not likeable. As humans, we literally, cannot force our feelings towards anyone. We all look for certain qualities in other people which appeals to us more than others.
If you find yourself stalking his social media profile again and again or reaching out to him DESPITE being rejected, its time to pull yourself back, girlfriend. The more you think about him, the more it's going to hurt. It's time to put him in an 'out of sight and out of mind' mode ASAP. So, go out with your friends, spend time with your family and do something constructive or that which brings you happiness.
Don't Engage In Self Pity
We're all the same. As soon as someone rejects us - especially if that 'someone' is pretty important - we indulge in negative thoughts. "If only I was prettier, if only I was smarter or if I could do this or that" - well, I'm here to tell you that its all crap. Why do WE need to change ourselves for someone else? Is someone else's approval that important? You don't need to mould yourself to make someone like you. You deserve someone who loves you even when YOU find it hard to love yourself. And yes, before you doubt my statement, that does happen.
Stay Hopeful & Move On
Just because you couldn't get the desired response from someone doesn't mean you wouldn't get it from anyone else. Blocking people from your life or showing no interest in others because of ONE person doesn't make sense. You'll be the only one suffering whilst your crush is out there, enjoying himself. So, take it slow but at least, be open to the idea of new people in your life. There's plenty of fish in the sea, my darling. Find the one who's worth the wait and don't settle for less.
It's one thing to be dumped by someone you love and another to feel 'rejected' in a relationship. If it's the former, you've got no choice but to move on, slowly and steadily. But if its the latter, you might still have the power to make things better.
Don't Become Bitter
Did he ignore your calls when he was out with his friends? Does it feel like he's not giving you enough attention anymore? Well, it's very easy to get carried away by negative emotions and react immediately when you feel hurt. But it takes more strength to maintain a cool head and trying to understand things from others' perspective. Instead of getting angry and saying mean things to him - relax and see things from his point of view, as well. Maybe he's going through something personal or maybe, it was bad timing. Give him a chance to explain himself!
Don't Suffer In Silence
It's okay to want your space, every now and then but that doesn't mean you should go into an 'incognito mode' every time you feel the slightest inconvenience with your partner. If you don't tell him about the things that affect you and continue to keep it buried inside, one day it's going to blow out of proportion and ruin your relationship. If you're unable to decide whether you're overreacting or should talk about it, give yourself a few hours. Sleep it off for a while. If you wake up the next day and feel just as bothered about that topic, then its time you talk about it.
Be Respectful Of The Differences
If most of your rejection stems from him NOT agreeing with you or disliking your choices, then you need to hear this out. The theory of 'do jism, aek jaan' sounds really nice but only in movies and soap operas. In reality, you both are two completely different individuals who need to ACCEPT each other's differences. You may, sometimes, do things for each other in love that you may not have liked doing before but that doesn't mean it's compulsory. You can't force your partner to like something or someone just because YOU do. It's okay for him to have different opinions and make different choices. That doesn't mean he doesn't love you. It means that he still wants to remain the same guy you fell in love with.
Realise What's Bothering You
The only way to deal with something is to accept the situation and find out the reason. Accept what you're feeling instead of pushing it away. It's good to adjust and compromise for your partner, every now and then but that doesn't mean you ignore all the red signs. If you think that despite making him aware of your feelings, he still does things that make you feel rejected and unimportant, then its time to take a closer look. You deserve to feel special and loved. And if he doesn't make you feel wanted anymore, you need to get yourself out of that relationship.
Having good friends is like having a support system that you can rely on. They will always be there for you and never let you feel alone. Well, at least that's how it should be. But sometimes, even our favourite people surprise us and as much as we want, some friendships just don't last forever.
Don't Go For 'Tit For Tat'
As bad as it sounds, sometimes, you do feel like taking revenge and doing the same things to your friends as they did to you. 'Cause that's the only way you want to show them how much it affected you. If your friend ditched you at the last moment of some plan, it doesn't mean you HAVE to bail out on her the next time you both decide to meet or if she hasn't been staying in touch with you, it doesn't mean you have to ignore her until she begins to feel lonely. Friendships are too precious to be destroyed through such petty demeanours. Stay calm and don't do something that you'll regret later!
Don't Jump To Conclusions
If you begin to feel a difference in the tone of your friends or a change in their behaviour, it doesn't ALWAYS mean that they've changed or stopped caring about you. It also doesn't mean that they've found better friends and replaced you. Before you start making such assumptions which might fuel your hatred towards them or make you feel depressed, it's important to vent. Get them aside and find out what's wrong. What if they're mad at you for something that you don't even remember? What if there's been a change in your behaviour which has been affecting them lately? Communication saves a lot of relations from breaking, unnecessarily. So, talk it out and solve it out.
Engage In Some *ME* Time
A friends' day out is supposed to make you feel happy and relieve all your stress. But if you've been feeling exactly the opposite lately, irrespective of the reason, its time to take a step back. Distance yourself for a while and engage in some 'me time'. Your mental health should always come first. Don't force yourself to do something that you don't feel like doing. Want to skip a party and stay at home on a Saturday night? Do it. Want to go shopping alone? Go for it. Want to get a hair massage? Get it. Pamper and love yourself before anybody else. Friends may come and go, but be your OWN best friend, first.
Don't Be Dependant On ANYONE
It's true. We, humans, are always in search of happiness wherever we go. So, when we come across people who make us feel happy, we hold on to them as tightly as possible. Maybe, that's why we end up ignoring the glaring signs when our gut tries to warn us. It's okay to love others and rely on them - but not to such a point that we let them take us for granted. Everybody changes with time. So do you. But some change for good and some don't. So, when you don't feel happy anymore, learn to let go of them. Enjoy your own company for a while or make new friends. There's never a dearth of good people out there in this world!
Landing a good job is tough as hell. It doesn't matter how many companies you apply, resumes you send or interviews you go for. Until you hear the word "Congratulations" and receive a positive email - you continue to remain restless.
Don't Take It Personally
A lot of us make the mistake of taking every job rejection to our heart. Why are we so quick to assume that we did something wrong? Why does there have to be something unlikable about us? There are a bunch of reasons why companies reject candidates. Maybe, our experience or qualifications don't match their criteria or maybe, they decided to let that position remain vacant for a while. All we need to do is shift our perspective to a positive one instead of letting it impact us emotionally and mentally.
Get Comfortable With 'No'
When you're applying for a job, you've got to start being comfortable with rejections. I'm not saying that it's obvious that you won't end up finding a job soon. But according to me, the more you get rejected, the more it turns into practice. And doesn't 'practice make a man perfect'? You'll need to be prepared for rejections and take them as a pinch of salt. And not let it deter your confidence! In fact, each time I messed up in an interview or fumbled on some questions, I found myself working on the same areas even harder and acing it in all the future interactions. Wouldn't you want that?
Learn From Your Mistakes
You can either crib, cry or hate yourself (and your fate) OR you can actually do something about it. If you're tired of sending resumes and getting rejected from countless interviews, it's time you indulge in some self-reflection for a while. There has to be something that you're not doing right and you need to change it instead of beating yourself about it. Get back to those who took your interviews and ask for feedback. Find out why they didn't hire you. Did you come across as arrogant or maybe, not confident enough? Was it the way you spoke too soon or not soon enough? You can also take the help of a career counsellor to have a look at your resume or guide you better. Each response will be deemed valuable!
Don't Stop Trying. EVER
If there's one thing I learnt from numerous job rejections - is the fact that every time I felt like giving up, I was one step closer to getting a call from my dream job. When I look back on all the companies I wanted to join at that time, I'm actually, glad that I didn't. For the ones who accepted me, gave me exactly the kind of experience that I needed to get closer to my dreams. And just because things would have been different, doesn't mean they would have been better. So, I know y'all must have heard this a million times already but it's only after facing job rejections that you'll realise how true it is - because when "one door closes..." say it with me? "Two doors open!"
Till then, stay strong and hold on tight, kid. This too shall pass - I promise!
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