Write your blooming story!
Rejection is a really big Ouch in the soul; in the brain too.
FMRI studies have shown that the areas of the brain that are activated by physical pain are the same areas activated by rejection. This pretty much mean that rejection really hurts! Literally that is. If you have felt romantic rejection recently, I know you can say amen to that!
Rejection is the feeling of not being fully accepted or accepted at all. This can then result in feelings of shame, sadness and grief.
When we are rejected we tend to devalue ourselves and develop critical inner voices which can border on abusive. This is why it is crucial to heal from the rejection wound. When we do not heal, we tend to experience everything through our "I am deserving of rejection" filters and often end up with faulty conclusions.
A rejection wound can come from early childhood experiences with our parents and nurturing figures. Read my blog post "Healing is the Children's Bread" for more on childhood wounds in general.
A parent may bond differently with a sibling than they do with you. This can feel like a non-acceptance of you and a preference for them; a rejection. This can linger in our souls and self-concepts as truth, even if it is not an objective reality.
Of course for many of us, experiences in later life can leave rejection wounds also. This can look like having a romantic partner break-up with us. Let’s be honest, when that partner moves on with someone else immediately, the hurt can be even deeper. Though experiencing a breakup will hurt almost anyone who values attachment, it can have be near devastating for persons who have pre-existing rejection wounds.
There are many ways in which we can experience rejection in romantic relationships. This can be true even there is no rejection meant.
This can be felt when:
-Our partners are not very communicative
-Our partners take a longer than usual time to respond to us by text or phone
-Our partner’s body language changes. This can be as subtle as turning the head or a shoulder
-A partner chooses to spend time with other loved ones such friends or family members
-Our partners are not affectionate or the level of affection changes
-A partner is not in the mood for sex or otherwise declines sexual activity
-A partner gives criticism
-We feel like our partners are not “owning” us in public. In the social media culture we live in, some couples argue about “posting” their woman or man online. It’s real!
- A partner sides with someone else in an argument. I’ve heard some people admit that they are not secure enough to have their partner disagree with them in public (not disrespect, just disagree).
In instances when we feel non-acceptance we may act in these ways:
-Shut down communication. When was the last time you dished out the ultimate protest behaviour: the silent treatment? Be honest.
-Act in aggressive and violent ways. This may lead to physical, verbal or emotional abuse.
-Overcompensating by acting like we are super-independent or hyper-secure as if to communicate “I don’t need you anyway!”
-Reject them before they reject you. The more deeply we feel rejected is the more is the more we reject ourselves and other people in our lives. This is one of the deadly injuries in intimate relationships.
This blog series focuses on healing (not just awareness) and so it would be remiss of me to gloss over the root causes. Let me share some practical steps to healing:
-Reflect on where this wound came from. When do you remember feeling rejection most strongly?
- Start to distance your identity from how someone may have treated you. You are not your experience.
- Create an intentional practice of affirming yourself. This helps to heal the self-concept and self-esteem. This means telling yourself good things…on a regular.
-Cut off the Critic in your Cranium. Stop yourself when you feel the need to constantly list all your flaws.
-Practice making yourself a priority. Do this with your boundaries, choices and your self-love practices.
-Work with a therapist or coach to help you on the journey.
My loving reminder to you, my tribe, is that healing is not always comfortable. It can be messy work, but you are oh, so worth it!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on IG @whitelotusblooms.
Kamala P. McWhinney is God's Idea. I am academic, I am creative,I am dreamer. My name is Hindu for Lotus. Given the beautiful symbolism of the Lotus Flower I have embraced it as a metaphor for my evolving, my surviving and my thriving.