When someone rejects us, our minds go into overdrive. We desperately search for all of the reasons we’ve found ourselves on the losing end of love, and we try to figure out what we could have done differently to prevent this from happening.
If we don’t have a clear understanding of the true meaning of rejection, we’ll inevitably think it’s our fault. That we’re the problem. That we’re the reason the people we wanted to be with didn’t want to be with us anymore.
This is when rejection is its most painful -- when we internalize it as a statement about who we are as people (our worth, desirability, or value), and use it as proof that we’re unlovable.
It’s no wonder this drives us a little crazy.
Thankfully this is only one way to experience rejection.
Because it doesn’t have to mean what we so often make it mean. In these moments we can instead remind ourselves of certain simple truths about rejection that will help us not feel so crushed by it.
1. You are worthy of aligned love.
You are worthy of the love you dream about. Love that makes you feel good. That supports you. That’s ready for the kind of relationship you’re ready for. Love that chooses you with an enthusiastic and unequivocal “YES!”. That’s open to receiving all of what you have to offer, and that gives all of this back to you in its own way. Love that understands, honors, and appreciates who you are and accepts that person, unconditionally, as enough. As more than enough. As exactly the kind of person they’ve always dreamed of ending up with. Someone they’re so immensely grateful to have found that they would never consider letting them go.
2. It’s okay to feel sad during life’s sad moments.
Losing someone you care about or who you saw a lot of potential with is an objectively sad moment. It’s okay -- necessary even -- to feel the way you’re naturally going to feel when things like this happen, no matter how intense those feelings might be. You don’t have to ignore the fact that you’re saying goodbye to someone you thought you had a future with, and who you thought you could depend on. You can allow yourself to grieve a loss worth grieving.
3. The pain you feel is a direct reflection of the pure desire in your heart.
The intensity of the pain you feel when you’re rejected mirrors the intensity of the joy you’re capable of feeling. It’s the clearest evidence there is that someone meant a great deal to you, and that you pursued them with an open heart. Instead of thinking rejection is proof there’s something wrong with you, let it serve as confirmation you’re capable of loving deeply and dreaming your wildest dreams.
4. Your worth does not depend on someone else’s ability to recognize it.
Just because someone doesn’t appreciate all of what you have to offer doesn’t mean those qualities don’t have value. Instead of going to another person for approval, you can learn to affirm those qualities yourself. Because if you truly cherish those aspects of who you are, it won’t matter what anyone else thinks of them -- even if it’s someone whose opinion you hold in high regard.
5. If they’re not choosing you, they’re not for you.
Okay, here’s a sober truth. Are you ready?
If someone’s not choosing to be with you, they’re not the one for you.
No matter how compatible you think you are, no matter how good they make you feel, no matter how desperately you want to be with them, the fundamental premise of a relationship is that both parties agree to be together.
If someone rejects you, they’re simply not the perfect partner you thought they were.
They’re not because they’re not.
6. The specific cause for someone’s rejection says as much about them as it does about you.
When someone rejects you, their reason for doing so reveals something undeniable about who they are -- their preferences, prejudices, insecurities, abilities, dreams, and desires. In this light, rejection is not so much a verdict on your lovability as it is a demonstration of their inability to love you in the way you deserve to be loved.
7. You can use the feedback that might actually have some truth to it.
Sometimes the reason someone rejects you has value. Maybe it calls out something that you really do need to work on, especially when it comes to creating the kinds of intimate relationships you truly desire. You can therefore interpret the fact that someone brought it to your attention as a kindness (even if they didn’t do so in a compassionate way). Because if you can get over the sting you feel that this particular quality was the reason you were rejected, you can start to actually improve it -- for your sake, and for the sake of your future relationships.
8. If someone doesn’t value what you have to offer, they don’t actually see you very well.
If someone chooses to focus only on your shortcomings and not celebrate all of what makes you great, they’re ignoring your best qualities. And if they harbor distorted perceptions of you that you know aren’t true, they’re making you out to be someone you’re not. In either case, they don’t actually see you very well.
If you’re being honest with yourself, do you really want to be with someone who looks at you the way that they do? And more importantly, why would you give someone with such a skewed perspective the authority over how you feel about yourself?
9. Losing a relationship is a great opportunity to be more honest with yourself about it.
When you’re caught up in the wonderful parts of a relationship it can be difficult to admit its flaws -- that something that makes you feel so good also disappoints, confuses, or upsets you. While it’s only natural to filter your experience like this, being rejected is one of the best chances you have to take a more honest inventory. You have nothing left to lose. Maybe you can admit that the other person wasn’t actually the perfect partner you thought they were, or that the relationship wasn’t as wonderful as you wanted it to be. Allowing yourself to look at the whole picture can make it easier to let the relationship go because you might actually agree that it’s for the best things didn’t work out.
10. A choice that’s the best for someone else’s health and happiness is always the best for yours too, even if you can’t see exactly how yet.
If someone else is making a choice they feel is best for them, who are you to say otherwise? Insisting they continue the relationship asks them to deny what’s true for them about it -- that it doesn’t make them happy, and that it’s not what they want anymore. As difficult as it might be to accept this, and regardless of what potential you might still be able to see with them, you truly wouldn’t be happy in the long run with someone who’s not content staying with you.
11. Rejection is redirection.
As you come to accept the simple truths about rejection described above, you’ll uncover the most basic truth of all: that rejection is a redirection.
Because when you’re no longer investing your time, energy, and attention in a relationship that’s not aligned with your deepest desires, you’re open to receiving the one that is.
Not only that, but rejection is actually the single most effective gesture there is to speed you toward this new experience.
It’s a kindness, a blessing. A joy even.
Because the sooner you stop fixing your gaze on the love you think you’ve lost forever, the sooner you’ll find yourself standing before the person who can give you exactly the kind of love you’re looking for.