Rejection...Is It Really “Rejection”?Nov 24, 2020
Rejection can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes - from a job interview, a breakup, an audition, applying for a loan, asking for a promotion or raise. Opportunities to be rejected are presented all the time. For today, though, let’s focus on romantic relationships. Regardless of your current “status,” I’m sure that most people will be able to relate.
Let’s take a look at a handful of different relationship scenarios.
You have been in a committed relationship for a couple years now. You’re feeling safe, secure and loved. The daily interactions feel completely comfortable and natural. You believe with every fiber of your being that you have found the one you’ve been searching for.
Then, without warning, the bomb is dropped. It’s over.
Maybe you are experiencing - or have experienced - repeated, recurring rejection within a relationship where things are not going as you would like. For example, you get turned down when you ask for affection. Or they belittle you when you express your feelings. Or they consistently flake on date nights.
On your journey looking for a significant other…
- You are turned down for the date.
- You feel like the first date went really well, but you never hear from them again.
- You’re texting with someone you’re interested in. Things seem to be going well but they suddenly stop responding.
- You’re on a first date and suddenly they get the call that dear Aunt Sally has fallen ill. They need to leave immediately…and you never hear from them again.
- You’re about to go in for the first kiss at the end of a great first date and end up getting a firm handshake instead.
- You are a month or two into what you feel has some serious potential to be the relationship you’ve been looking for, and then they suddenly let you know they aren’t ready for a relationship.
- You’ve found someone who you love being with – your best friend…only to be bumped back to the friends-zone.
Your reaction to any of these “rejections” will vary based on countless variables - how blindsided you feel, how deep your feelings were for the person, how many rejections you’ve been dealing with recently, and so on. Sometimes you might shrug and move one. But sometimes you might end up saying things like, “I’m going to be single all of my life” or “Women (men) suck” or “I’m never going to trust anyone again” or “I’m done dating.”
Are any of those statements really true? No.
I know firsthand about a number of these scenarios – a couple recently! I’ve felt the devastation of being broken up with completely out of the blue when I thought we’d go the distance. I’ve been “not the one” and had him move on to marry his next girlfriend. I’ve been ghosted (Seriously, why anyone would do this?! Have the decency to say something to end it!) I’ve been relegated to the friend-zone, too.
For each and every one of the breakups and rejections that I’ve experienced, I now say “Phew! Thank goodness it didn’t work out.” In the more serious situations, in the moment I had that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, and felt hopeless and unlovable for varying time periods afterwards. I’m not going to minimize or trivialize that part of the experience and process.
However, I can say that I am genuinely happy that none of those relationships continued longer than they did because they weren’t meant to be at that time. I’m not going to say that I don’t still secretly pine for and grieve one of them, but I know that there was a lesson, message, opportunity in every single one of those relationships. Maybe I got it, maybe I didn’t. I’m still happy I had the experience and have been able to move on with my life, hurt feelings and all.
If you’re struggling or unhappy in your current relationship, or dealing with feelings of rejection (whether it be from a casual date or a long-term relationship), perhaps the following activities will help you through the process. Spend some time journaling. Use the questions to get you started:
- What did you get from this relationship? The positives? The negatives?
- What would you have liked to have been different?
- What qualities did she/he have that you want in your next relationship?
- What qualities did she/he have that you don’t want in your next relationship?
- How have you changed, positively & negatively, during this relationship?
- What can you take with you to your next relationship?
I’d also like to challenge you to reconsider using the word “rejected.” It has so many negative connotations - “inadequate” is even one of the common definitions! And no one wants to feel inadequate.
Instead of focusing on that, take a look at the larger picture. People make choices based on what they’re looking for in life. Different life choices and desires can cause natural splits in relationships - and that is okay and oftentimes for the best! Relationships can delay a person from going after what they want, but eventually they will take steps towards what they are looking for.
For example, one woman dreamed of traveling around the world. Her boyfriend wasn’t interested in traveling and preferred to stay closer to home. When they met, she had her travel plans set but she set those aside for a couple years because she enjoyed spending time with him so much. But eventually, she got to the point where she needed to make her travel dream come true and the relationship came to an end because he didn’t want to share these important life experiences with her.
In this situation it’s very clear that she was leaving to pursue something that’s deeply important to her, something that she needed to feel fulfilled in life. In this case it truly is about her, not HIM.
But in his shoes… it’s easy to see how he could feel rejected - you aren’t what she’s looking for, she doesn’t want to be with you, you weren’t enough to keep her happy, you’re wrong for not wanting to travel… But where does that victim mentality really get you?
Again, I’m not going to minimize the sickening feelings that can accompany a breakup, but I am going to challenge you to think beyond yourself. Think of a situation where you struggled with feeling rejected. Grab your journal again and dig even deeper by exploring these questions:
- Is it possible that they are showing you that they simply aren’t ready for the incredible relationship that you’re looking for and deserve?
- Is it possible that you and this person were never in alignment to begin with?
- Is it possible that the universe presented this relationship or situation to you so that you could learn or resolve something that you’ve need to for a while now?
- Is it possible that you each have a calling beyond or outside of this relationship?
- Is it possible that the love of your life, your dream relationship and partner, are about to show up?
- How can you reframe the situation?
There is another very important thing for you to consider. It is so very important to FEEL your emotions and to process through the situation that triggered them, so please don’t try to cover them up or distract yourself from feeling them. Don’t mask things with alcohol, food, building ships in bottles or knitting extra-long scarves for everyone you come in contact with. Feel it. Even if it’s hard and uncomfortable and makes you bawl your eyes out.
As you’re processing through the feelings, work on shifting your feelings and perspective to one of empowerment by using the time that has freed up in your schedule to take care of yourself! A couple suggestions:
- Get in touch with people you may have fallen out of touch with. (Who knows – some may even be feeling a bit rejected by you if you’ve been giving all your time to this relationship.)
- Enroll in online classes to start/restart your degree program or learn a new skill you’ve always been curious to learn.
- Take some virtual dance lessons.
- Try a new online fitness class or find a walking buddy.
No matter your relationship status, know that you ARE worthy of love. Know that you deserve to have a significant other in your life who supports you and wants to be with you. When someone tells you “no” or says nothing at all, it’s a sign that they aren’t the one for you.
Why would you want them in your life if they don’t want to spend time with you or be with you?! Remember that your time, emotions and energy are precious and can be better spent on the people who DO want to be in your life!
If you are feeling heartbroken, frustrated and overwhelmed about the unraveling of another relationship, and unsure how to let go of the past and uncover the path to move forward – full of courage, confidence, joy – then check out our upcoming Heart Restart Retreat for a heart-soothing, soul-quenching beach retreat adventure in sun-filled Samara, Costa Rica. Click here for complete details.
Much love to you. xo
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