How To Deal With Romantic Rejection
We’ve all been the rejector or rejectee at some point in our lives, but some of us take being rejected like a trooper whereas others swear they’re never going to ask someone out ever again. The good news is there are ways in which you can learn to be better at dealing with rejection.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s not personal, it’s about your compatibility. It’s not a personal attack on your character, but how well your character complements someone else’s. Think back to the time you had to let someone down gently, it was purely down to you not being suitable for each other. Not because they were the worst person in the world.
Jessica Alderson, CEO and Co-founder at So Syncd, tells us the ins and outs of dealing with rejection, as well as the positives (believe it or not) that come from it.
1. Accept Your Emotions
“The first step when dealing with rejection is to accept your emotions,” says Alderson. Even though you know it’s not personal, rejection can still hurt, especially if it’s someone you really didn’t want to be rejected by. “Burying your feelings can be a quick short-term fix, but it’s not healthy in the long run. It’s ok to experience sadness, anger, disappointment, or whatever else you might be feeling.”
Whatever you feel, you’re allowed to. Whether you got shut down for a first date or left by a long-term partner, your feelings are valid and don’t need to be justified by the amount of time you’ve known someone.
Alderson explains that emotions are our body’s way of telling us to take action. There have been numerous studies that show ignoring our emotions can have negative impacts on our physical and mental health. So if you want to take up kickboxing or pig out and indulge in a takeaway (or two) – you have our support. There’s no right or wrong way to heal, just whatever works for you.
2. Don’t Let Rejection Define You
This is one many of us are guilty of. Remember when we said don’t take it personally? “Just because you’ve been rejected, it doesn’t mean that there’s something innately wrong with you. It just means that you aren’t right for that specific person at that time,” says Alderson.
Experiencing rejection doesn’t mean you are unlovable or undatable. You won’t be a perfect match for everyone, no one is. None of us walk down the street and think every single person we make eye contact with is the one (unless you take love at first sight literally).
Alderson reminds us that there are billions of people in the world and your self-worth should never depend on a single person’s opinion. The right person will appreciate you for exactly who you are, so don’t let it define you and make you stray from the path you’re meant to be on to meet your person.
3. Learn From Rejection
Rejection doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Everything in life is neutral – it is what it is. But it’s the way we feel about it that makes it good or bad. So dig deep and think about what being rejected can teach you. If you can’t think of anything, you’re not digging deep enough.
“There’s something to learn from every experience we have in life, particularly when it comes to dating,” says Alderson. “Take a step back and ask yourself what learnings you can take with you going forward. Perhaps whoever you were dating opened your eyes to fresh perspectives or they introduced you to a new hobby.”
Try to turn rejection on its head and make it into a positive. Rejection can be a way of building resilience. In fact, sometimes rejection is a blessing in disguise and it’s simply that they could see something missing that you didn’t realize. Maybe looking back you missed a bunch of red flags that ultimately would’ve made you drift apart anyway, or you weren’t quite ready for a relationship at that stage in your life – everything happens for a reason, even if you don’t know it yet.
4. Be Kind To Yourself
“Try to resist the urge to write negative stories about yourself,” she says. There’s no denying that rejection is uncomfortable. “In fact, a University of Michigan study showed that it activates the same areas of the brain as physical pain.” Ouch. It isn’t helpful to add to the pain by beating yourself up and creating a negative narrative about yourself.
Thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not attractive enough” can be seriously damaging explains Alderson. Don’t let your inner critic win. Instead, replace these narratives with positive mantras – reasons why the right person won’t reject you.
Repeat these to yourself on a regular basis so they remain at the forefront of your brain. The more you say them, the more you’ll begin to believe them.
5. Use Rejection as an Opportunity for Personal Growth
As well as being kind to yourself, you also need to be honest with yourself. “You don’t want to bury your head in the sand and not accept responsibility when you should,” she says. “Perhaps there were specific situations that you could have handled better or certain aspects of yourself that you’d like to work on.”
These can be tough pills to swallow but you can turn rejection into an opportunity for personal growth. While most of the time rejection has nothing to do with us, sometimes it can be brought on from our own actions.
Did you treat them unfairly? Did you approach them in a disrespectful manner? Sometimes we can take things personally when we don’t understand them, but if you look at the situation from a different perspective, it could help you to gain a better understanding and even justify the rejection making it less painful.
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6. Recognize That There’s No One-Size-Fits-All
When it comes to dating, there’s no one-size-fits-all. “While one person might be attracted to the logical mysterious type, someone else might fall head-over-heels for the bubbly party animal,” she says. And thank god, or we’d all be fighting over the same type. It’s important to remember that everyone finds different traits attractive and nobody is perfect.
You can be perfect for someone, but no one is perfect. Your quirks that someone you dated found annoying might be adored by the next person. “Reminding yourself of this can help you deal with rejection. On So Syncd, our personality-based dating app, there is an ideal personality match for everyone.”
7. Don’t Dwell on Rejection
It’s important not to dwell on rejection. You can quickly end up in a spiral of negative thoughts if you overthink things. If you’re too busy dwelling on someone who said “no,” you could be missing out on someone that’d say “hell yes!” There’s a balance, explains Alderson.
You need to accept your emotions and think about the situation long enough to learn from it. But at the same time, you want to avoid ruminating. So what’s the difference? Emotional processing results in new ways of thinking and new behaviors while ruminating involves negative thought patterns that are all-consuming and repetitive.
8. Accept That Rejection Is Part of Life
Rejection happens to everyone. And I mean everyone. “From Megan Fox to the Ryan Gosling look-alike you pass on your way to work in the morning, everyone faces rejection,” says Alderson. “It can be liberating to realize that it’s part of life and you’re not the only one going through it.”
Viewing rejection as part of the process rather than the outcome can help you shift into a more constructive and future-focused mindset. The moment you get comfortable with it and no longer fear rejection is the moment you start living your best life, whether it’s finally asking your crush out or going after a new job you won’t be attached to the outcome.
9. Use It as an Opportunity To Re-evaluate Your Life
You can use rejection as a chance to re-evaluate your life, recommends Alderson. We often get caught up in day-to-day tasks and forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. “What does your ideal partner look like? Which kinds of personalities do you get on best with? Are you over your ex?
Rejection can give us the opportunity to reassess what we truly want and if we’re pursuing the right path.” Rejection is often a form of redirection. If things didn’t work out, it’s time to think about why that may be.
10. Don’t Let Rejection Hold You Back
“Last but not least, don’t let rejection hold you back,” she says. “Rejection can be so powerful that it can prevent us from doing things in case we get hurt again.” But don’t let it. Just because you got rejected once doesn’t mean you will every time – the only thing guaranteed by not going after what you truly want is not having it at all.
And isn’t that worse than being rejected? Sometimes you take a risk and it doesn’t work out. Sometimes you take a risk and you strike gold. To live a fulfilling and rewarding life, you have to take chances. You can’t change the past but you can change the future, so give it your best shot.
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