Am I Good Enough? Handling a NO in today’s world- Part I

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Am I Good Enough? Handling a NO in today’s world- Part I

Rejections can be extremely hard to deal with and can leave scars in our hearts for a lifetime.

Facing Rejection in  today's world

What is Rejection?

Rejections can be extremely hard to deal with and can leave scars in our hearts for a lifetime. Even though a rejection in any aspect of our lives may leave an individual lamenting- “I am the only one”, it is much more common than we think. In fact, each one of us, at some stage of our lives face rejection in some form or the other.

Rejection comes when we set a certain expectation from someone or something and fail to achieve the expected outcome. It is more common or impactful in cases of emotional relations, however rejection can also have many other faces such as familial rejection, workplace rejection, rejection in relationships, social rejection and even self-rejection.

Rejection and its effects on physical and mental health:

With rejection comes its side effects. The pain at times surpasses mental pain and finds expression through physical gateways. Mentally, it may be expressed through a feeling of shame, sadness, grief or guilt which over time, if not taken care of culminate through

  • Depression: The pain of rejection makes the brain release lesser amounts of opioids thus making an individual prone to depression.
  • Trauma: Rejection in any form can lead to lingering trauma in an individual, especially children. Children who are continuously exposed to rejection may grow up with a suppressed sense of trauma which might cause adverse emotional problems in his/her adult life.
  • Anxiety: Rejection may manifest in an individual through anxiety at different levels. It might add to someone’s pre-existing anxiety disorders and intensify it, while in some it may bring upon a continuous feeling of nervousness, worthlessness, jitters and rapid heart rates scaled up out of nowhere. Other symptoms may include increased sweating, heaviness in the head, jealousy, and a feeling of not being enough.
  • Stress: Stress usually occurs when the body has to adjust with changes that were uncalled for or unexpected. It usually consists of emotional or physical tension. Rejection may cause increased amounts of negative stress in an individual.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder: People with BPD dread being rejected or abandoned. These issues often pop up due to past issues of being let down. A person may start becoming hypersensitive and unstable in personal relationships, thus making them flee from emotional attachments before the other one does so.
  • Trust Issues: Facing Rejection multiple times, or a singular traumatic rejection may bring upon trust issues where the individual questions the authenticity and reality of the equations he/she shares in his/her life.
  • Development of Addiction: It is extremely common and equally harmful for a person to indulge in alcohol or drug consumption as a way to deal with the emotional aftermath of rejection.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Rejection may cause an individual to question one’s own idea of self and in due course bring upon self-esteem issues where s/he holds him/herself unworthy of anything better. 

Apart from emotional manifestations, rejection may also take a toll on physical health. A few physical symptoms may find expression through:

  • Hormonal shifts: Rejection leads to various emotional changes and affects hormones adversely. When we are happy and content with a particular situation or relationship, our body releases greater amounts of phenethylamine, dopamine, cortisol and oxytocin. When encountered with a situation we are not used to or something we did not foresee, and rejection pops up, our brains instead of releasing these hormones, starts soaking them up. While we try to adjust to this new scenario, our brains too go through a transitional phase that bears clear signs on our physical health.
  • Body aches: The above-mentioned hormonal changes bear signs on our physical health through swelling of muscles, and a feeling of head-heaviness. These hormonal changes make a human body go into a fight-or-flight state in order to cope with the environmental changes. These bodily manifestations lead to body aches at odd hours of the day, which as well may be a continuous stinging heaviness.
  • Indigestion: Physical expressions may include heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach aches, constipation, or diarrhoea. This occurs mainly due to decreased amounts of blood and oxygen flow to the stomach, which causes an imbalance of bacteria production in our guts, cramps and inflammation.
  • Heartache: An intense emotional turmoil can activate certain networks of nerves which cause physical pain. Therefore, a loss of a closed one, rejection or being let down may feel like a real blow to the gut or heart.
  • Withdrawal: In extreme cases, a rejection may lead to withdrawal symptoms at various levels. An individual may start bottling up all emotions, and resort to cutting people off from their lives randomly. Physically the person may start showing signs of irritability, sleeplessness and anger management problems.

Rejections on the personal front:

Rejections may cross our paths anywhere, be it personal, social or professional fronts and at any point of our lives. To talk about rejections that are more personal to us, we may at first categorise them into three:

Familial Rejection:

Our childhood shapes up a chunk of our personalities as adult human beings, and at the very basis of our being lies a unit we call family. These people, who we call family as we grow up, hugely impact our experiences, learnings, behaviour and psychology. However, each child may not be exposed to a healthy family unit or environment during their developmental years. An individual’s experience with rejection may start right from his childhood with familial rejection that may come from any member of the family. To look at it more closely, we may observe:

Causes:

1. Abandonment: Familial rejection may come in forms of Abandonment where a child may have been abandoned by his/her biological parents or family. Abandonment may even come while living under one roof with a family unit where both parents may be working, leaving the child to spend very little time with his/her family.
2. Lack of Belongingness: Lack of Belongingness may come from different reasons such as an individual being brought up away from his/her roots or growing up in a boarding school where one can no longer relate to his/her familial traditions.
3. Expectations: A very common reason for familial rejection is not meeting up to the family’s expectations from an individual. It may stem from a failure the individual faced or a choice s/he made.
4. Generation Gap: Generation gap may bring upon a feeling of rejection on either side where the elderly may feel left out and unincluded in newer activities, or the child or adolescent feels misunderstood for his/her form of expression.

Solutions:

1. Talk it Out: There cannot be a better way to bridge the gap than talking things out in a non-heated manner and addressing the root causes of the problems. If need be, apologise and do not hold back tears or guilt.
2. Compromise: If family is something you cannot imagine your life without and stems out of a choice you made that your family does not approve of, compromise may be considered. 
3. Family Counselling: There’s no harm in letting a third person view the problems from a neutral viewpoint without any biases. If not comfortable with a professional counsellor, one can think of discussing matters with a close relative and consider suggestions made by him/her.
4. Walk Out: If at all you feel your choice is something that is extremely important to you and making your family see the importance is difficult, walk out.
5. Give time: There’s no better healer than time. Time can mend all wounds and differences. 

Rejections in relationships:

Rejection in relationships can come from various people in our lives, whom we have established deep emotional connections with and set certain expectations from. This may be from friends, a potential romantic partner, or an established romantic relationship.

Causes:

Rejection in relationships may occur when the potential romantic partner is not ready for a certain milestone in the equation, or when the person has a certain set of expectations from you which are extremely different from your expectation from that person. Rejection may occur in friendships or relationships due to increased differences or distance, and two individuals not being on the same page at the same time. To point out a few in details:

1. Friendzone: Romantic feelings may often pop up in friendships only to be let down by the friendzone. The “Friendzone” is often a space where one amongst the two holds romantic aspirations for the other whereas the other limits it to friendship.
2. Sexual Orientation: It is normal to feel sexually attracted to someone without knowing the other person’s orientation. Sharing different sexual orientations may bring upon a sense of feeling rejected and even guilt or deception.
3. Commitment Issues: Commitment issues may stem from past relation issues or even childhood trauma. The reasons can be extremely personal. This may bring upon rejection even when two people share an incomparable chemistry in their equation.
4. Compatibility: It is extremely difficult to continue with any equation that lacks compatibility. Be it a romantic relationship or a mere friendship. 
5. Hook Up Culture: Hooking up is when individuals share an equation based only on sexual intentions. In this scenario it is common for an individual to have developed feelings or expectations from the other when the other person does not want to take it forward thus bringing upon rejection on the prior.
6. Trust Issues: Even with prevalent romantic aspirations between two individuals, rejection may be brought upon by trust issues from past traumatic experiences. 
7. Communication Trouble: Apathy or inexpressiveness may bring upon a sense of negligence or rejection on the partner making the latter feel unworthy or unacknowledged.

Solutions:

1. No Contact: In case of rejections from a romantic partner or friend, it is important to cut off ties with that individual. The no contact rule helps with the “Out of sight, Out of mind” trick that helps a person coping with rejection deal with it more efficiently. Keeping in continuous touch with the other may prove to be a log holding you back from moving on.
2. Get rid of memories that trigger you: While memories are extremely difficult to let go, you can practice letting go of things and objects that trigger certain memories. Get rid of any object, gift or memento that might bring back memories that would make the heart grow fonder.
3. Stay Busy: Staying busy works wonders when you are trying to cope up with rejection. Keeping oneself occupied with something vastly irrelevant to the personal equation helps the mind get distracted and shifts the energy from the negativity to something productive.
4. Friends come first: Surround yourself with people who understand you and what you are going through. Talk your heart out, spend time with them doing things that keep your mind occupied and distracted. 
5. Get involved in novel things: Develop a hobby or go trekking, explore what nature has to offer. Going out for an adventure or doing things that make you happy increases the dopamine level in your body. With a significant rise of dopamine, you will experience more positive thoughts and energy.

Self-Rejection:

Self-Rejection often occurs as a result of continuous exposure to criticism and rejection in one’s outer life that leads to self-doubt, twisted ideas of oneself that may not be true and from a belief of not being good enough. Self-rejection makes one deem oneself incapable of certain aspirations even before actually dealing with them.

Self-rejection stands stark opposite to self-acceptance, that is, accepting oneself the way they were gifted. Through self-rejection an individual feel continuously and increasingly uncomfortable with one’s own existence. This may occur due to external criticism and influences that has subconsciously affected the individual at some point. So much that the individual has grown to believe it as the one and only truth about oneself.

Causes:

1. Criticism: Self-rejection may occur through excessive self-judgement. It makes one extremely conscious and critical of oneself that often find expression through self-loathing and worthlessness.
2. Confidence Issues: Resignation, or inability to pursue higher aspirations may come out of self-rejection. In this case the individual rejects himself even before the occurrence of a particular incident thinking it would be impossible for him/her to achieve that.
3. Self-Acceptance: Making others responsible for one’s own feelings could be another expression. Here, the individual rejects any possibilities of negative feelings that may have occurred due to his/her own actions and tries to shift the attention to others.
4. Low Self-Esteem: Low self-esteem pushes one to seek approval only from the external world. Individuals with low self-esteem issues do not have enough confidence in themselves to accept their own idea of self.

Solutions:

1. Create your own Mantra: In order to deal with rejection in any form you must at first have a fair idea about what works best for you to channelize your energy in a positive manner.
2. Be Grateful: While you may have not achieved everything you have ever wanted, being grateful for whatever you have at present is extremely important as well. While rejection may make you focus on only one particular thing that lets you down, try looking at the plentiful things and people you have around you. You are not alone in this!
3. Sunlight: Go out and have fun. At least, take a walk. Sunlight increases Vitamin D levels in your body which is essential for positive growth in your body.
4. Smile: Take a look at yourself in the mirror and smile. See the difference it makes?
5. Exercise: Exercising regularly not only keeps your body fit, it increases release of good hormones in your body that will leave you feeling more positive and happier.
6. Self-Stroking: Self-Stroking is a practice where an individual stroke oneself in a positive manner, such in a way she/he would like to be touched by someone else. A physical presence, or a simple touch can work wonders to uplift one’s state of mind and enhances one’s self esteem. Self-Stroking can also come in forms of self-rewarding or self-complimenting.

Conclusion:

Remember, you are not alone. This might be the rock bottom of your life, but there’s light at the end of every tunnel. Do not lose hope. Rejection no matter how harsh it might be for your emotional health; it too is necessary in the journey of life. Rejection pushes us to thrive for the better. A rainbow only occurs after a storm, therefore, to make the good look even more beautiful, rejection at times is as well necessary to go through.

If you are feeling rejected, then remember that you are not alone in this. Life can become simpler if there is someone to listen. Reach out to Mental Strength Professional for consultation or a feedback session!

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