Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Facing rejection head on
Fresh out of college, I was absolutely enamored with the man I was dating. He could do no wrong. We communicated well, had many of the same values and made each other laugh. Walking by the jewelry store in a local mall, I remember stopping in and looking at rings -- you know, just in case. Then, on a cold winter day, I was DUMPED. Kicked to the curb. Poked in the eye with Cupid's arrow. For days, I lay in bed, watching "Little House on the Prairie" and crying. I was angry. I wondered what I had done wrong and what I could do to win him back.

Rejection. From playground pettiness to pink slips, it happens in a variety of ways. "There is virtually no one who doesn't experience rejection," says Mark Leary, a psychology professor at Duke University. And it hits us harder than it did our great-grandparents, he says. A hundred years ago, says Leary, "Life was not as fraught with rejection." Communities served as safety nets. Extended families lived nearby and the people you grew up with were often the people you grew old with. "Today people move from one town to another," says Leary. "We are constantly in a position where we have to constantly prove ourselves."

Rejection is not just emotional -- it is physical as well. One study found that rejection activates the same area of the brain that causes the same reaction to physical pain. "The thought is being separated from caregivers can be just as dangerous as the things that cause physical pain," says Naomi Eisenberger, a professor in the biology department at UCLA. She set up an experiment in which she asked participants to play a game of catch with virtual players on the Internet. The computer players stopped tossing the ball, replicating the feeling of rejection. Eisenberger believes the system that experiences rejection may have "piggybacked" on to the physical pain system at some point as humans evolved.

Feelings of rejection actually protect us, says Leary, much like when you learn the hard way what happens when you stub your toe. If we didn't have an emotional reaction to all rejection, says Leary, we may miss some big signs that could put us in danger.

Now today, in most cases, rejection won't kill us, but it still hurts. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with rejection.

EVERYONE FEELS REJECTED AT SOME POINT

As Leary points out, rejection is just part of life. Sometimes people just won't like us and other times rejection is the result of an innocent oversight.

PUT IT IN PERPECTIVE

Leary says you should step back and ask in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter that the cashier didn't smile at you? Does it hurt more because your ego was bruised or does it really have concrete consequences for your life? (We will get to that in a second.)

DON'T OVERREACT

When we dwell on minor rejection, we often just make it worse. Leary says, "We can become so concerned about rejection that we become so sensitive that others are turned away." It is often best to just let it go and not try to "repair" the situation.

YEAH, BUT...

What if it is a serious case of rejection, like a divorce or you get fired? Leary says the worst thing you can do is run away. "It is a lot like grief," he says. "It's important to acknowledge that." Learn from rejection, he says, but don't let it consume the rest of your life. Keep it in perspective. "Ask yourself," says Leary, "in this VERY moment, is there anything really wrong? Yes some things may have changed, but overall your day will be relatively the same." Focus on the good things going on and whatever you do, don't isolate yourself from others. Now it's your turn. What works for you when dealing with rejection?
Try being rejected anonymously while playing a very fun dating game. The Internet Dating Game is a new game that gives people in the home Internet audience a chance to win a date with a studio contestant. The basis of the game is compatibility.
http://www.InternetDatingGame.NET
There is no cure for a broken heart.Thirty years have past since the love of my life died, I think of him everyday, talk to him and tell him I love him.Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been different had he not been killed.
Like grief, he says. Yes, I'd say it is a lot like grief. And yes, deal with it. If you don't deal with it (rejection OR grief) it can tear you apart from the inside, and make you bitter, angry, and unhappy.

I'd say another unfortunate part of this is that your own personal story was about love. The statistical length of "I'm in love" is apparently two years or less. Then you have to realize that to continue to love is a choice, not something based on a feeling. A lot of people run away- or, like you said, DUMP you. Rejection... yeah, it's a wonderful thing. I personally think it can make you into a better person, or break you. It all depends on how you handle it.
The best way to deal with any situation is expecting the worse first. I've walked into every relationship after my first ready to walk out at anytime. By no means am I uncaring or cold. I just always want to remind myself that "rejection" could be waiting for me around the corner. It sounds sad that I think this way but it is in my opinion the best thing to do. I try to never get too attached to anything beyond the point that it's out of my control.
"Always expect the worse and hope for the best." It's how I look at almost every situation whether it's a relationship, game, job interview, etc...
The best way to deal with "rejection" is to be prepared for it. Only kids should be idealistic, anyone else are fools if they are.
I always tell my kids when they get rejected, usually by their peers...Jesus was the nicest guy on the planet, yet people spit in his face, whipped him, and shoved thorns on his head and then killed him. He didn't deserve any of that. So if he could take it, we can take it. it hurts, but we're not alone. Everyone faces rejection, even the most innocent among us.
I'm going to be rejected tonight. I've had an affair with a guy who is my soulmate. He got cold feet and we have kept it going as an online affair, but he won't tell me he loves me anymore - the thing that is most important to me. I love him so much and I have never changed my feelings, even though he started the whole thing. We enjoy ourselves so much when talking, but every night he doesn't tell me he loves me when I tell him is another knife in my heart. I think I need to break it off and take the big pain instead of the pain every night. I hope I can do it.
'Rejection,' the word itself implies an action: to reject. When you have been rejected, someone who's opinion matters to you has decided your's doesn't matter to them. But you are not the one who performed the action, merely the recipient of its consequences. Even though someone has rejected you, you don't need to reject them. I still tell her 'Goodnight, Beautiful' whenever we part.
to the person who expects the worst right away, that has to be the most negative, unhealthy way to live. You're going to turn people off! I'd get help right away, if I were you.
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