Rejection can be crushing.
It hurts when someone walks out of your life or tells you they don’t want you.
It’s devastating to learn that your partner no longer wants to be in your life.
It stings when your best friend criticizes you or starts avoiding your calls and texts. Or when you apply for the perfect job and told you’re underqualified. Or when you go on a date with someone you think is beautiful inside and out, but they tell you that you’re not their “type”.
It’s a sinking feeling in your stomach and you just want to crawl under the covers and sleep, or stuff your face with junk food until you’re numb.
Rejection can make you feel 10 years-old again, alone and humiliated because the popular kids were snickering and whispering about you behind your back.
It can make you feel 4 years-old again, scared because your mother left you alone to cry in your room when you needed her most.
Or like a teenager, after your secret crush starts dating your best friend.
Because it’s so painful, we’ll do anything to avoid feeling rejection.
We’ll accuse others of being “stupid” or “clueless”.
We’ll pretend we don’t care, when in fact it’s all we can think about.
We’ll decide that we are “perfectly happy” in life and that we don’t need to go back to school, get online to find a mate, get a better job, or finally finish that book we’ve been writing.
Why suffer through more potential rejection when things are okay right now—even comfortable?
We’ll say “no” when we know we should say “yes”. Or say “yes” when we really mean “no”!
We’ll stay in situations that are oppressive and abusive because we dread the unknown rejection that could be waiting for us out there in the world.
Rejection can literally change our lives, and NOT for the better.
But what if I told you that feeling rejected is optional?
That you can stay strong in the face of rejection and be more confident in unfamiliar situations because you’re not worried about what people will think.
And no matter how insulting and hurtful your partner, friend or family member gets with you, you can face them with dignity and walk away knowing that there’s ALWAYS someone who has your back: YOU.
There’s really no reason to feel rejected. Why?
Because feeling rejected is a choice you make.
Let’s imagine that you go out for coffee with someone you just met online. You like them. They make you laugh and they’re attractive. You hope they’ll want to go out with you again.
But shortly after you part ways, you get a text from them:
Hey, I thought I’d better let you know sooner rather than later. It was nice meeting you, but I’m not attracted to you.
Ugh…that sinking feeling again! How can you “choose” not to take this personally? Isn’t this person clearly rejecting you by telling you that you’re not attractive?
Actually, no. What this person is saying is that they aren’t attracted to you, and this has nothing at all to do with your attractiveness or your worth as a person. They were stating something to do with their personal preference.
Whether or not you feel rejected is not about what they said but more about what you tell yourself.
In other words, you feel rejected because you’re taking the situation personally, and internalizing your date’s words as a reflection of your worth as a person.
You may be hearing, “I”m not attracted to you,” but what you’re telling yourself is…
Your date said none of these things. They said nothing of the sort!
There is no reason for you to feel rejected because you can choose to tell yourself things that make you feel bad about yourself, or you can tell yourself things that lift you up and empower you.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t consciously choose to say empowering things to ourselves most of the time. That’s a skill that most of us haven’t learned yet.
That’s because most of the time, our wounded self is activated when someone we care about says something that may be interpreted as rejection.
What is our wounded self?
It is that part of us that was abandoned or rejected in childhood in some way by our parents, caregivers, teachers, or peers. It’s the part that formed many false beliefs about what that means about us, and about what we can or can’t control. (This happens to all of us, in big ways and small.) Our wounded self, or ego, is the part of us that holds all our false beliefs.
Those little and small rejections happened a long time ago, but it doesn’t matter, because the wounded self has no concept of time. Your psyche is reacting to something as if you are still 4, or 10 or 16 years old, when that incident took place.
And most of us have hundreds of these hurtful incidents in our childhood.
When your teacher accused you of cheating on a test, when you had in fact studied more than usual to get that A.
When your father told you that you are fat and stupid because you accidentally scratched the family car while riding your bike.
When your mother told you she didn’t want to hear your whining anymore when you asked her to tell your brother to stop punching you.
Now that you’re an adult, your wounded self wants to believe that you don’t deserve to be loved. That it’s your fault that this person rejected you, because you’re broken somehow.
You think you can control how this person feels about you, if you can only have the perfect appearance or behave the perfect way.
This false belief is what’s causing your pain, not this person’s actions and words.
Your feeling of rejection is letting you know that your wounded self is in charge, and it’s telling you a lie.
It’s telling you that you’re dumpy and stupid and no one would want to love you, so why even bother dating?
Yes…all the false beliefs that you formed as a child when the adults you counted on for love, survival, and acceptance acted in a way that led you to believe you were unsafe, unloved, and abandoned.
So knowing all this, how can you stand tall and feel strong in the face of rejection?
Whenever someone you like or respect says something to you that feels mean or hurtful, the first thing to do is to shift your negative internal dialogue.
Listen to what you’re secretly telling yourself when you hear those hurtful words. Is your internal dialogue centered around how you’re wrong and broken?
Now, shift your thoughts to something more neutral and rational. Thoughts that are more loving to yourself.
Empowering and loving thoughts such as:
When you tell yourself these types of statements, you are coming from your loving adult—in other words, from truth.
While you might feel sad that your hopes for romance were dashed, you will not feel rejected because you are not taking their words personally.
When you develop this skill, you can rise above rejection and feel strong, not by looking to others to be loving to you, but by always being more loving to yourself.
Most of us don’t understand how to be loving to ourselves. We mistake it for being self-indulgent or selfish.
Or when someone says something we perceive as hurtful, we soothe ourselves with self-righteousness and indignant internal dialogue, thinking THAT is being loving to ourselves.
Being loving is none one of those things.
Being loving to yourself means valuing your essence and being devoted to getting to know yourself, and listening to what gives you joy.
When you learn how to be loving to yourself, you will never again take anyone’s rejection personally. That’s because you’ll understand that YOU are responsible for your own feelings, and others are responsible for THEIR feelings.
This is the opposite of how most of us relate in life. We either blame others for our pain or blame ourselves for others’ pain.
That is not loving to ourselves, nor is it loving to others. It disempowers us and it deflects our own emotional pain onto others.
It’s a recipe for all kinds of personal and interpersonal conflicts. And it’s not healthy.
That’s why I’ve spent the last 50+ years teaching a process that helps you take responsibility for your feelings and, counterintuitively, alleviates most of the unnecessary pain and turmoil in life.
This process is called Inner Bonding.
Inner Bonding helps you uncover the origins of your painful feelings and shows you how to heal from the wounds of the past by taking loving care of yourself today.
Teaching this process of Inner Bonding has been the highlight of my career showing clients how to take action with regard to self love by listening to their inner guidance and taking responsibility for their feelings.
Now I’ve partnered with Flourish, so I can extend that help and guidance to as many people as possible, since almost everyone can benefit from learning about how to take action on self love or heal unwanted addictions.
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Life can be full of disappointments, like when we don’t get the job, don’t connect with the person we’re really attracted to, or when you and your loved one don’t see things eye to eye.
But a disappointment doesn’t have to bear the awful sting of rejection. It can be just that…a disappointment.
That’s just life.
We can’t control it, but we certainly don’t have to be crushed by it.