You meet someone special, someone, who makes your heart flutter and makes you feel like the sky looks ordinary in comparison to them. You have never felt this way before. You even want to be a better person for them. Just then, your fantasy crumbles. You realise that they don’t feel the same way for you.
Rejection in any form has the capacity to affect us deeply. Of all the rejections, romantic rejections have a profoundly intense sting and have the potential of bringing a significant change in a person’s life. In the simplest terms, romantic rejection is when a person rejects a proposal from another to be anything more than friends, basically to be something more intimate. Romantic rejection occurs when only one side of the party loves the other. This may happen because one loves the other platonically (love which isn’t sexual or romantic), although the second person loves the first romantically. Whatever the reason may be, rejection in love hurts.
Table of Contents
- 1. Why Does It Hurt?
- 2. Why Is It That Some People Hurt More Than The Others?
- 3. Biological Answers To The Pain We Feel
- 4. How Then Do We Heal Ourselves?
- 5. Conclusion
Why Does It Hurt?
It’s actually quite easy to figure out why it hurts to be rejected by someone you love. Rejection hurts because it crushes our ego. When we like someone we often build a fantasy around them, we idealise them and put them on a pedestal. When they reject us we are faced with the annihilation of that fantasy, as well as a soul-crushing wound to our ego by the very person who we adored. Breakdown of our Ego means we come face to face with our truth – which often includes stuff that we do not want to see. For instance, after a rejection, we may start noticing our flaws more – that we are balding, that we are not confident, that we are perhaps not as likeable as we thought we were.
Another theory suggests that being disliked hurts because during the stone age humans often lived together in tribes and had one person making all the decisions and if this person didn’t accept someone that person would be thrown out of the tribe or even killed. Hence, as a response to this humans would change themselves to be more likeable in turn adopting fear of rejection.
Rejection makes us feel like we are “not good enough”. Instead of healing our own wounds, we inflict more pain upon them by sometimes opening old ones. After being rejected in love, we remember all the times we’ve been rejected in turn highlighting an inferiority complex.
Why Is It That Some People Hurt More Than The Others?
There are several factors that make some people hurt from romantic rejection more than others.
Some people are simply just more sensitive, but it’s more than just that. The way a child has been brought up affects their actions and reactions immensely. Children of critical or narcissistic parents are often more sensitive to rejection.
In Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, a part of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), a major part of this community is sensitive to what people think about them. These people would rather change something about themselves that they love in order to make 2 people like them. They are sensitive to rejection and have many filters on. Research says about 99% of the people who struggle with ADHD believe that fear of rejection is the hardest part of ADHD. High Rejection sensitivity is also seen in people suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissism etc.
- Low Self-esteem – A person who is brought up with validation and had parents who gave them a sense of security may not even care if they were rejected as it simply won’t occur to them that they could be the problem. Whereas a person who has low self-esteemwill try to point out every flaw in themselves or even invent new ones. Low self-esteem may or may not be a result of unhealthy parenting. Low-self esteem could even be a function of more recent events like loss of a job, weight gain etc.
- Unhealthy relationships – unhealthy relationships with previous partners who invalidate their feelings and emotionally abuse them might induce fear of romantic rejection.
“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” -Marcus Aureliu
- Unresolved Trauma – Painful breakup of 1st relationship or unrequited love can often result in painful feelings. If these feelings are not felt and processed, they may make one extremely fearful of romantic rejection.
- Perfectionism – Perfectionists are often excessively self-critical and often feel that others too are as critical of them as they are of themselves.
Biological Answers To The Pain We Feel
- Research shows that pain felt after getting rejected (emotional stress) and physical pain light up the same parts of the brain when observed in an MRI scan. Hence, heartbreak inflicts the same pain that you feel when you get into an accident.
- Rejection from a loved one may cause emotional distress which can cause broken heart syndrome. Extremely stressful emotional events which disturb the mental health of people cause them to get extreme acute pain in their chest which occurs because the left ventricle stops pumping blood due to a surge of heavy emotions.
How Then Do We Heal Ourselves?
Stop Criticising Yourself
Every time a person gets rejected the first thing they think about is “Is there something wrong with me?” Or “If I change something about me will they like me romantically?”. This is wrong, furthermore, it is self-harming. You should come to terms with the fact that someone rejecting you does not mean something is wrong with you. People have different preferences and you simply may not be one of them. Hence, instead of finding flaws in yourself, accept people like different things and move on
Face Your Fears
Honestly, this is the most important part. Simply get used to rejection. This does not mean that you should expect to get rejected by everyone but keep in mind that rejection is a part of our life and it’s gonna happen. Rejection doesn’t make you any less than what you are, it simply gives you more space to improve and be a better version of yourself.
Yoga or just getting your body moving every day will not only help your mental health but will also make you feel better about yourself. Working out, going to the gym, or simply just going on a walk every day will boost your serotonin and dopamine in turn making you look younger and happier than usual. Having healthy food will not only make your body composition better but will also help detox and fuel your body. Have that slice of cake if you want, but just make sure you have a slice not the whole cake for dinner instead have some mushrooms and avocados
After being rejected many people tend to lose their sleep in turn highlighting their dark circles making them look like sad ghosts. It’s alright if you can’t sleep but if you attempt to sleep, don’t just binge watch, instead read a book or listen to audios on our app “infiheal”. You’ll eventually get sleep.
Mindfulness helps reduce the sting of rejection. It helps you regulate your emotions better so what may have felt terrifying earlier will cease to be so once you start to meditate regularly. Mindfulness creates awareness. It is a gentle method of creating awareness in your thoughts and actions. Meditating the first thing in the morning or going on a walk all of these steps will help you gain mindfulness.
Acceptance of Life and Its Challenges
Those who flow with the flow of life and accept life for what it is found it easier to deal with rejection. As mentioned in the second point, some things are just best when you accept them as they are. Life will become easier once you start accepting.
Surround yourself with a healthy and accepting friend circle, pursue the hobbies that help you feel good about yourself, try out positive affirmations like “I am worthy”, “I accept myself unconditionally.” etc. When you surround yourself with people who have similar goals and mindsets it helps you reach your goal faster and more efficiently, not only will those people help you gain confidence in yourself but support you along the way.
Participate in activities like dancing, karaoke etc that will reduce self-consciousness and just help you be in the moment. If one is just focused on living rather than planning, it will help one be more open with potential partners. Put yourself out there.
When we reject ourselves, we fear that others will reject us the way we rejected ourselves. To overcome a romantic rejection, embrace yourself, your true nature, and your flaws. When you do that, when you accept yourself truly, you will find it easy to accept life as it comes – be it romantic rejection or heartbreak