Let’s do a little experiment.
When I went to the Dallas Cowboys – Washington Redskins football game, there were a whole bunch of people there to have fun. Let’s pretend that you were there with me.
Got that fixed in your mind?
Now let’s pretend that one of these people in the stands didn’t want to be your friend and flat out rejected you.
Are you feeling it?
Okay, what are you feeling?
Not much, right?
Why aren’t you devastated at being rejected by one of the people in the stands at the Dallas Cowboys – Washington Redskins football game?
That’s right! You don’t feel like you’re falling into the black abyss of pain and rejection because it only hurts when it matters. If something or someone doesn’t matter to you, it won’t break your heart. The opinion of a total stranger at a football game doesn’t really matter, so you don’t really feel very rejected or rejected at all.
I’ve written several posts about the very powerful emotions associated with being rejected:
- I like Fear And Rejection Hold Hands To Double Their Emotional Strength because it has a good meaty explanation of rejection.
- Loneliness And A Lonely Rose Needing To Be Held provides an insight into being lonely and the way it can feel like rejection.
- At Least I Got The Apartment goes where most of us have been…unrequited love.
- Finally, the ultimate in unrequited love is after a divorce and in My Wedding Ring And Lessons Learned, I share one of those painful times in my life.
Clear Rejection Or Fake Promise
“A clear rejection is always better than a fake promise.” ~ Unknown ~
Honesty and dishonesty are often mingled in with rejection. I’ll give you an example. Sophia loves Mark far more than what has been good for her and the children. If Mark had been honest with Sophia, she would have been spared many years of unhappiness, pain and rejection. Mark’s continual lies kept Sophia hoping for a better tomorrow which in turn caused her to choose to remain in the relationship with him for a very long time.
One aspect of rejection that I really haven’t touched on is the wisdom expressed in the statement, “A clear rejection is always better than a fake promise.”
At first glance “a clear rejection is always better” looks, sounds and feels totally wrong. That’s because all the emotions you felt when you have been rejected come clamoring to the surface again. No one wants to feel rejected, so how can there be any goodness in it? The latter part of that sentence really puts everything into better perspective. What can “a fake promise” give you except eventual pain and heartache?
I stare derisively at the words, “A fake promise” and like you, I also feel all kinds of unpleasant emotions associated with painful experiences as they bubble to the surface of my memory. Right off the top of my head I can tell you several instances from my own life where I was given a fake promise when honesty would have completely altered my choices and future…
- “We’re a team. You’re here for me and when you need me, I’ll be there for you.”
- “That’s four months away. You are not going to be laid off. Why don’t you go buy that new bed you wanted because I promise you will still have a job.”
- “It doesn’t matter to me.”
- “You are my fiance and I don’t have any other girlfriends. You’re it.”
- “All you have to do is call and I’ll help you get it done.”
- “I need some time to myself to sort things out, but I do find you desirable! I love you and only want you.”
Sure it would cause me pain if they had been honest, but in the end I suffered twice as much pain because they didn’t tell me the truth from the beginning. They were selfish. Completely selfish. They had me believe the fake promise which eventually led to all my feelings of rejection when the truth came out. Because of their actions/choices, they saw my purpose as someone to add happiness/ease/value to their life at that moment. When they no longer needed/wanted me, I was rejected.
You know how rejection feels. I’m sure you can pop up a fast list just like I did because the same type of things have happened to you too. You were hurt so badly. When you finally fell asleep that first night after being rejected, you awoke in the morning expecting the world to have stopped for your pain. Instead, you found that the sun still rose and people were happily bustling around contented in their own lives.
“Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer.” ~ Unknown ~
Rejection Feels Like…
Rejection feels like all the color is sucked out of your world.
Nothing feels right.
Nothing smells right.
Nothing sounds right.
Nothing looks right.
Nothing works out right.
Rejection hurts when it matters and when it matters, rejection hurts an awful lot.
So what is a rejected person supposed to do with all that pain of not being needed or wanted?
Your feelings are valid. You wouldn’t feel rejected if you’re not being rejected. Other people’s actions speak louder than their words and that is your reality. Your feelings are part of your own mental, emotional and physical response to the rejection. There are many reactions that can occur when you are overwhelmed by feeling rejected:
- Faint and dizzy
- Break out in a cold sweat
- Instant headache
- Pounding heart
- Nauseated to the point of vomiting
- Foggy brain
- Angry at everything
- No appetite
- Can’t sleep
- Only want to sleep
- Voracious appetite
- Want to run away
The first thing you have to do is believe that it’s okay for you to have or feel any of those reactions to your rejection. When someone tells you to just “get over it,” ignore them.
You read that right. When someone tells you to just “get over it,” IGNORE THEM.
You need to have “time to process” what has happened. Some people would say they need to “wrap their mind around it” or “cope with it,” but no matter what description you use, give yourself a break. It’s okay to grieve. You’ve suffered a loss, so have compassion for yourself.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…
and unspeakable love.”
~ Washington Irving ~
How To Get Past Being Rejected
Getting over being rejected is no small feat and it is something you will have do many times throughout your life. Here are a few suggestions that might help in your time of pain:
- Have compassion for yourself.
- Accept that it is okay to grieve.
- Process, wrap your mind around it, or cope with the rejection in your own way.
- Talk to people that care about you and will help buoy your self-esteem.
- Work to build up your self-esteem and confidence.
- Do small things that help you feel more accomplished and successful.
- Practice positive self-talk.
- Believe that your perception and perspective matter because it is your life that has been turned upside down and your heart that is broken.
- Write down some short term and long term goals.
- Take care of your physical body so that your mental and emotional body can cope with the pain (eat, sleep, exercise).
- Do something new so that you can meet new people who won’t reject you or change jobs to a company that will appreciate your skills and talents.
- Distance yourself from the “rejectors” because if you aren’t wanted now, you can’t make them want you later.
It may take a long time to get readjusted to life again after a devastating rejection. If you find that you are totally isolating yourself and having thoughts of suicide, get professional help as fast as you can dial the suicide hotline phone number.
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432) (Spanish)
1-800-273-8255 Veteran’s Crisis Hotline
National Suicide Prevention Website
Otherwise, be patient with your heart, mind, body and life. You’re still valuable, needed and wanted even though one person doesn’t love you and want to hold you or one company doesn’t want to have you as an employee. Eventually you will heal and the rejection wound won’t be so raw. You will get past this experience and everything will be okay. Just keep taking it one day at a time and if needed, one minute at a time. It may not feel like it now because you’re hurting so badly, but the bold and beautiful colors of life will eventually return one day.
“Things will get better. It may be stormy now, but it never rains forever.”