Rejection hurts

I am currently getting educated about the subject of romantic rejection. It sounds like an utterly painful experience to long for a lasting romantic relationship and working one’s way through the maze that online dating appears to be, including all the rejections along the way. 

Why I think the journey is like a maze? Imagine you take up all your courage to step into a maze where you don’t know where you will end up. Your path usually ends somewhere. You have been denied access. You are not welcome here. So you try another path and it takes you somewhere new. You get your hopes up. You’re moving forward. It looks and feels promising, encouraging. And just as you turn the corner, there is a dead end, again. There is rejection all over again. 

The rejection that people experience repeatedly through online dating leaves its mark. The feelings of frustration, shame and grief can last for weeks and months. It impacts our self- confidence, leaving us feeling unworthy, not accepted, not lovable. The consequence is often self-harm, in a mild or not so mild format. 

We all experience some degree of rejection, in the form of being turned down during a jo application or excluded from a social engagement. Some people seem less affected by it than others. And mental strength seems to play a big part in how it affects us. So how do we strengthen our mental well-being to cope with rejection more easily? 

I’d like to offer some basic tools that are applicable across the range in which rejection occurs. 

Acknowledging emotions

Being honest with ourselves and allowing emotions to be present is a healthy exercise. When feeling sad, ashamed, angry or whatever it is you experience as a consequence of being rejected, admit it and allow it to exist. Be curious about it, let it out, perhaps talk it through with your friend. 

Denial of emotions makes them stronger. Acceptance, on the other hand, allow us to process them and move on.  

Distinguishing where rejection comes from

Whenever we get rejected, we usually take it very personally and make it all about ourselves. But reality is, someone else has an opinion that comes with its own baggage. Other people’s (biased) opinion of whether we’re up for a certain promotion or fit their expectation as a romantic partner should not define or impact who we know we are and what we’re capable and worthy of. So getting the distinction right about where the rejection comes from gives us perspective. 

What’s the learning?

Reflecting on the events leading up to the rejection can provide insights. You may discover information about what you hope to find through dating, what you’re looking for in a partner and what your boundaries are. This new awareness can help you navigate the search more easily and minimize opportunities for getting hurt. 

If this content resonates and you would like support with a similar topic, let’s connect and have a chat. 

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