Do you remember a time in your life when you felt rejected?
We all do.
That’s because rejection hurts—a lot. The mere trauma of it gets burned into our memory bank.
When we were kids, for example, we may still remember the times we were rejected— ridiculed, bullied, or picked last for a team. We may not recall what we did on summer vacation when we were 8, but we sure do remember that snotty little kid in third grade who called us “fat,” “stupid,” or “ugly.”
Rejection doesn’t end when you’re an adult, either. It hurts just as much, too. Your stomach contracts, your heart skips a beat, and your face burns with embarrassment, when:
Your beloved ignores your advances to be intimate for the third time in a week.
The person you’ve been seeing for several weeks suddenly “ghosts” you.
Your best friend gets angry at something you say and hangs up on you.
Someone you’re attracted to tells you that you’re not their “type.”
You “kill it” at a job interview, but are told they picked someone else for the job.
Your boss gives the promotion to someone who’s less experienced.
You create something from the heart, and someone tells you it’s ugly.
Because it’s so painful to feel rejection, we’ll do anything to avoid it.
We’ll shut our hearts down and pretend we don’t care, when in fact we want so much to connect.
We’ll avoid applying for a job that we’d love because we think we’re not 100% qualified.
We’ll stop creating, writing, trying—because we’ve been burned too many times by criticism and thoughtless comments.
Without knowing we’re doing it, we make our lives smaller, contract our hearts, and numb ourselves with food and substances in order to avoid feeling the pain and heartbreak of rejection.
Rejection can literally alter our lives, and NOT for the better.
But what if I told you that feeling rejected is optional? That you don’t need to take anything anyone says to you personally. It’s true!
In this article, I’ll explain what I mean by that, and reveal a way you can feel inwardly loved, no matter how nasty, brutal, or mean of an adversary you’re facing.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make me feel inferior without my consent. No one can reject me without my consent.”
Wise lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. However, her statement is one that many people feel confused about.
What exactly does this mean, “No one can reject me without my consent”?
Let’s imagine that you and a friend get into a conflict and your friend angrily walks away and decides to end the friendship. Isn’t your friend rejecting you without your consent?
Actually, no. What your friend is doing is getting angry and withdrawing. Whether or not you feel rejected by this is about what you tell yourself rather than about what your friend is doing.
In other words, you are being hurt because you’re taking the situation personally, and internalizing your friend’s words and behavior as a reflection of your worth.
Some of the possible things you might tell yourself that make you feel rejected…
These are not statements that are coming from your friend.
That’s right, the person that is rejecting you…is you. More precisely, it’s your wounded self.
What is your wounded self?
It is that part of you from childhood that was abandoned or rejected in some way by your parents, caregivers, teachers, or peers, and formed many false beliefs about what that means about you, and about what you 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.
While that rejection was a long time ago, that part of your psyche that was hurt has no concept of time. Internally, you’re reacting to something as if you are still 2, or 5, or 12 years old, when that incident took place.
And most of us have hundreds of these hurtful incidents in our childhood.
Like when your mom told you to “hush” and stop bothering her, when you wanted to tell her about something you thought was important.
Or when your best friend from kindergarten said they didn’t like you anymore.
Or when your father called you names because he was angry at you.
Now that you’re an adult, your wounded self wants to believe that you caused your friend to end the friendship—that you are in control of your friend’s choices.
Because you think you are in control of your friend’s choices, you think it’s your fault that your friend got angry.
This false belief is what’s causing your pain, not your friend’s actions.
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 unworthy of love. That you’re not good enough, and nothing you do is ever good enough. That you’re fat, stupid, mean, or ugly.
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 make yourself immune to the pain of rejection?
The first way to make yourself immune to the pain of rejection is simply to shift the negative internal dialogue from that hurtful thought saying “it’s my fault and I did something wrong” to thoughts that are more neutral and rational.
To thoughts that are more loving to yourself.
Ask yourself, “What are the other possible reasons my friend walked away?” Maybe it’s because:
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 the friendship is over, or sorrow over your friend’s lack of self love, or even regret over your own behavior, you will not feel rejected because you are not taking your friend’s behavior personally.
You know that they are rejecting their own inner child (true self) rather than rejecting you, so there is no reason to feel rejected.
That’s one way to make yourself more immune to the pain of rejection.
The second way is even more effective and more important, because it involves 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 in the case of being slighted by someone, soothing ourselves with self-righteousness.
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.