Charlotte Bridge, 16.11.2016

Dealing with rejection: How to stop the pain of being rebuffed

Break ups are difficult, as is being turned down by someone before you've even begun. EliteSingles Psychologist Salama Marine considers how to get over a broken heart by focusing on the psychology behind those bruised feelings. Learn how to stop feeling hurt, angry and sad and how to start dealing with rejection.

Dealing with rejection is never easy, whether it be post break-up or even pre-relationship. The ensuring hurt can damage people’s egos, leaving individuals feeling insecure with low self confidence. However, if you're feeling the sting, there are actions you can take to mitigate the hurt. We asked EliteSingles psychologist Salama Marine for her insights:

Why does rejection hurt so much?

In simpler times, humans would live in tribal communities for safety as there was little chance of survival alone in the wild. As a result, our brains instilled a warning system informing us of the dangers of being rejected by a community. This explains why the negative feeling of rejection is still prominent in society today: it’s our brains making a case for survival.

With modern relationships in our modern world, the meeting of this ancient warning system with new technologies can cause interesting results. For, at the same time as the brain is holding on to this primal need to please the community, technology (and specifically social networks) are making that community wider than ever before, making it impossible to please everyone. What's more, the instant nature of modern communication ensures that any reactions (such as missing the person) can be felt with immediate effect. 

How social media forces us to deal with rejection

This need to deal with rejection-via-social-media also can hit us on a more personal level. The ever increasing use of social media networks and dating apps mean that everyone is constantly connected through a range of sources, and therefore able to see when someone is online and not instantly replying to a message

This makes people feel hurt, rejected and ignored. What's more, it’s hard in these cases not to take it personally because society is overly aware of what everyone is doing online - it's only too easy to compare the messages others get with your own inbox, and to then feel like you're missing out.

This accumulation of rejection from a range of different networks could be considered one of the downsides of contemporary life, and certainly it directly impacts on individuals, leaving them feeling sensitive and vulnerable. Whichever form it takes, rejection hurts and is one of the biggest hurdles for singles to have to overcome. But there are ways to successfully deal with rejection.

How to get over a broken heart

It is really difficult to accept rejection from someone you loved, liked, and appreciated, whether it's them saying no after you ask them out, them breaking it off after a few dates, or them leaving after a longer relationship. It is, however, important to remember that when a break up takes place – be it romantically, socially or professionally – it is often due to circumstances you can’t change. Sometimes it's because the object of your affection is emotionally unavailable; sometimes it's due to some upset that you're not privy to, sometimes it doesn’t even go that far; it’s just as simple as the other person not feeling the same way.

Don’t bother wasting your time and energy questioning why it didn’t work, because ultimately it’s very unlikely that you’ll get the closure you’re looking for. It’s better to just accept it start dealing with rejection so that you can begin to move forward. That's how to move on.

Dealing with rejection means knowing your worth

Obviously no one enjoys the experience of being rejected, be it by a partner or from society. However, that said, we have all experienced rejection at one point or another and succeeded in overcoming it. While it may be tempting to continue to chase the person who has rejected you, in order to deal with rejection, you need to regain confidence and boost your ego.

Start by championing yourself: do as psychologist Guy Winch advises and ‘make a list of your positive attributes. By writing them down on paper, you’ll realise all the great qualities you have to offer to another person. This will help you to come to terms with the fact that even if it didn’t work in the past, you have great qualities that will be appreciated by someone else. Many individuals going through a break up think they’re no longer worth anything to anyone. It is therefore essential to realise your value and attributes during the post break up stage’.

It is also wise to turn to those who care about you to help you through the pain. Whoever you turn to, be it family, friends, or even colleagues, their support will greatly benefit your acceptance of the situation and help you move on. This will help you focus on the people who appreciate you for who you are and gradually your self esteem will return. And, as a result, you will once again be open to the idea of love and ready to let someone into your life who loves you right back.

EliteSingles editorial November 2016

If you have any questions (or any tips!) for dealing with rejection, please let us know. You can comment below or contact us at editorial@elitesingles.co.nz

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