How to Deal with Feelings of Rejection

One of the hardest (and most long-lasting) challenges to deal with after a break-up is undoubtedly the feeling of rejection. Maybe you were cheated on, maybe you were broken up with out of the blue, maybe they said they didn't love you anymore. Well it's obvious isn't it? You weren't good enough.

Well no, this is quite wrong. The thing is, we get so used to perceiving things not working out in the way we hoped as 'being rejected' that it becomes instilled in us. We didn't get the job because we weren't as clever as the successful candidate, we weren't let into the popular crowd at school because we weren't pretty enough…..The thing to understand is that it isn't a direct response to us being good or not good enough. It's more about where the other person is at, what they need/are looking for at the time or it can just be the situation. Not a direct attack on us and our worth.

Whatever though, we still feel it. I know in a relationship that I was in I was consumed by the idea that I wasn't good enough. This was never really the case at all - it was just a story I was telling myself. I was just reacting to the way the other person was behaving and convinced myself that he was acting that way because I wasn't good enough. The truth is, that's just the way he was in a relationship. It wasn't always fair on me or right but it wasn't because he didn't think I was good enough for him. And if you are feeling like this in a relationship it's really important to get a grasp on why that is. Are you feeling unnecessarily insecure or paranoid about the other person? In which case you'll be giving off that vibe which will put pressure on the relationship and might actually end in your partner wanting to finish it. So maybe you just need to relax into it more and focus on the things in your life that make you feel great outside of the relationship so you're not obsessing purely on that. Think about whether the feeling of rejection is actually coming from something in you rather than as a result of what the other person is doing/not doing. Or are you being made to feel rejected because you're being treated badly? In which case, take control. It's not because you're not good enough, it's because your boyfriend/girlfriend is probably just a (insert your choice of word here ;) )

If after a break-up you're still consumed by these feelings of rejection, it can be useful to sit down and really think about it logically and realistically. Write down exactly why you are feeling rejected and what actual evidence there is to support that. Here are some thoughts that might then change your mindset a little when doing this. Even if you were broken up with, that doesn't mean you weren't 'good enough'. It means that the relationship wasn't right in whatever way that is for the other person. Relationships are dynamic and life has so many twists and turns and we often don't communicate enough. We're not always on the same bus as our partner. Sometimes a relationship for one person has just run its course or they feel they can't offer you what you need. That's not because of you being less than them though. They're just in a different place to where you are and they want or need something else. And although it's really painful now, them ending it is much better than continuing because they don't want to hurt you or would prefer to stay in a relationship that they're not happy with just because that’s easier than the alternative.

If you were cheated on or betrayed in some way, this is awful to deal with. But it says far more about them than you. You probably desperately love them still and are torturing yourself about whether it was because you weren't attractive enough or not to their standards or whatever you think the reason behind it was. The harsh truth is if someone can betray you in that way, they're not a good fit for you. Don't obsess about why they ran off with the other person. It's hard to do but a completely negative use of emotional time. What you need to do is amp up how you feel about yourself and take a step outside of those negative obsessive thoughts. It's unrealistic to just say 'forget about it and move on' though so try committing for 1 week. Try putting these thoughts aside as much as you can. Place putting yourself first and doing things to make yourself feel good as a priority for 7 little days - do something every day no matter how small it is and then see if that feeling of rejection has lifted, even a little by the end of the week. See if your view on it has changed.

The more we obsess over thoughts of rejection the more we immerse ourselves in them, build them up and the more real they seem. We then accept them as so and don't do any of the work to change how we feel which then ends up in feelings of rejection lasting for months or even years. What we often fail to see if that it's actually more about the other person or the circumstances and far less about us. Think to a time when you ended a relationship or decided against dating someone. I bet it was because they or the relationship didn't match what you wanted at that time rather than because they weren't good enough or that you saw them as less than you. The thought of them wallowing in rejection because of that would probably seem nuts to you?! It's also handy to remember that sometimes we don't know how to express our own wants and needs to someone else in this type of situation. It's always awkward knowing the best way to tell someone which can often result in us unintentionally doing it the wrong way (brushing them off or ignoring them for example which of course, doesn't make the other person feel great!) instead of just being honest and possibly avoiding the other person taking it so personally and feeling like we've rejected them.

Also, if you were broken up with because of a specific behaviour you displayed or a build up of behaviours that were addressed but didn't change and led to your ex ending the relationship, don't take this as rejection either. It's just a wake up call that you probably need to work on what this issue is to prevent it happening again. Don't stew in rejection if it's something you can be proactive about changing.

Feelings of rejection can be incredibly tough to deal with and is such a complex topic that I'd love to expand more on. But I hope this might help anyone who is struggling as a starting point.