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This Is Why Rejection Hurts (And How To Cope), HuffPost

I’ve experienced it. You’ve experienced it. Even U2 has experienced it. Yet every time it happens, wij’re reminded again how not joy it is to be rejected.

Rejection knows no bounds, invading social, romantic and job situations alike. And it feels terrible because “it communicates the sense to somebody that they’re not loved or not dreamed, or not ter some way valued,” explains Geraldine Downey, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Columbia University whose research is focused on rejection.

Plus, the more people learn to expect rejection and become worried about it, the more sensitive they are to it — which can eventually lead to self-rejection, Downey tells HuffPost. “It makes you feel bad about yourself, and it makes you feel like nobody wants to be around you. It makes you feel angry.”

Indeed, Boy Winch, Ph.D., a HuffPost blogger, psychologist and author, notes that many times the rejection does 50 procent of the harm and wij do the other 50 procent of the harm. “Wij begin with this high volume of negative self-talk and criticism that takes the rejection to another level,” he says.


The human practice of rejection goes back to our ancient roots, says Winch, who is the author of “Emotional Very first Aid: Practical Strategies For Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injures” (Hudson Street Press, 2013). He has a chapter ter his book dedicated specifically to rejection.

“When wij were hunter-gatherers and living te tribes, the price of ostracism wasgoed pretty much death,” Winch tells HuffPost. “You wouldn’t sustain without your tribe, you wouldn’t have the warmth of hearth, the protection of fire.” Therefore, he explains, wij developed an early warning system — the feeling of rejection — to waakzaam us when wij might be at risk for ostracism. The more painful the practice of rejection, the more likely humans were to switch their behavior to avoid ostracism, and be able to get through and pass on their genes. Meantime, “those who didn’t practice [rejection] spil painful were less likely to keurig [their] behavior and pass along their genes.”

And then there’s the fact that humans are social animals — which makes rejection all the more emotionally painful.

“It’s a form of shunning . so anything that keeps us out of the group te an overt way, wij’re going to have a hard time with,” he says. “It’s an significant facet of who wij are.”

There’s a physiological poot to the anguish of rejection, too. Research shows that rejection triggers the same brain pathways that are activated when wij practice physical ache, Winch says.

Indeed, a 2011 brain imaging examine published te the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that social rejection and physical ache both prompt activity te the brain regions of the secondary somatosensory cortex and the dorsal posterior insula. And a investigate published this year te the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience shows that the posterior insular cortex and secondary somatosensory cortex parts of the brain are activated both when wij practice social rejection and when wij witness others experiencing social rejection.

A petite probe from University of Michigan Medical Schoolgebouw researchers also showcased that the brain’s mu-opioid receptor system releases natural painkillers, or opioids, te response to social anguish. This happens to be the same system that releases opioids te the face of physical agony.

There is also some evidence that social rejection isn’t benign when it comes to health. A puny examine te the journal Clinical Psychological Science showcased an association inbetween the beginning processes of inflammation and rejection ter teenage damsels at risk for depression. And spil neuroscience jouranlist Maia Szalavitz points out ter a Reuters blog postbode, childhood bullying — which at its core involves elements of rejection and ostracism — has bot linked with depression rates, crime and diminished employment.


Everyone is sensitive to rejection, to a point. And when people feel bad or have other things go wrong ter their lives, they may be even more frágil to rejection, explains Downey.

But still, some people do seem to be more sensitive to rejection than others. Spil Winch points out, self-esteem plays an significant role.

“Research says that people whose self-esteem is lower will practice rejection spil more painful, and it’ll take them a little longer to get overheen it,” he says. Meantime, those who have higher self-esteem — but who aren’t narcissists — tend to be more resilient.

Downey also notes that people who are sensitive to rejection may fall into patterns of behavior that only make the rejection worse. For example, she says, if a rejection-sensitive person is having a conversation where he practices rejection, he may zekering paying attention during the surplus of the interaction because he’s become so preoccupied with the rejection.

“They’re attempting to think about ‘How can I get myself out of this situation?’ when truly, that person may be providing you cues a little bit zometeen ter the conversation that everything is OK,” she explains. “For rejection-sensitive people, it may be self-protective to take your mind out of there, but it may not be good for your relationship or your interaction.”

This same avoidance tactic can also backfire. “When people are sensitive to rejection they tend to avoid a situation te which they can practice it,” which then puts them at a higher risk for loneliness, Winch says. “They are more at risk for developing anxiety around social situations because the more wij avoid something, the more anxious it makes us.”

A real-world example: A rejection-sensitive person who has a strong desire to find a significant other may determine to give online dating a attempt. But after several “Nos” te response to requests for dates, she may take the rejections hard and determine to eschew online dating altogether. However, this doesn’t help with finding a significant other.

So how can you tell if you’re rejection-sensitive or not? Deep down, you very likely already know. “You just need to be fair with yourself about whether you’re avoiding situations because you’re worried or because you don’t want to overeenkomst with rejection,” Winch says.


There’s two ways to best rejection: Not letting it bother you te the very first place, and then minimizing its effects after it’s wreaked its havoc.

The former proves the value of building resilience, Winch notes. He offers up a quick five-to-10-minute exercise that can help you to build resilience ter the face of a potentially rejection-filled situation (such spil a very first date or job vraaggesprek).

Using a date spil an example, very first make a list of five qualities you wield that a dating uitzicht would find valuable. For example, are you considerate? A good listener? Are you emotionally available? Then, choose one of thesis qualities, and write one or two paragraphs about why this particular quality is significant and why it would be meaningful to another person.

“Studies voorstelling that when you do that and remind yourself of your worth, then you are more resilient to rejection that comes thereafter,” Winch says, tho’ he notes that this method would likely work only for instantaneously approaching situations (ter other words, don’t do this expecting effects for a situation occurring a year out).

Winch also recommends the tactic of reminding yourself of how much you are loved. For example, children who have bot bullied at schoolgebouw could benefit greatly from having friends come overheen to suspend out instantaneously after the bullying event. “That will remind them instantly, ‘No, there are people who value you, who care about you, and you do belong somewhere.’ That reminder is truly significant, so you want to address those wounds,” he says.

Another good tactic for dealing with rejection is to keep te mind that it’s not always about you. “Attempt to stir yourself out of the instant feelings that you have, and think about what might be going on for the other person,” Downey says. “Are they having a bad day? Is it something that is indeed directed toward you, or is it something that’s going on with them?”

It’s also significant to keep ter mind that people switch their reactions based on your behavior toward them. If you expect acceptance and convey positivity, and perhaps come off spil more upbeat than you actually are, that can actually switch others’ behavior. “The thing wij know is that people who expect acceptance, frente a rejection, are more likely to get it,” Downey says. “They may never end up accepting you, but at least you have engaged te the zuigeling of behavior that draws people toward you. You’re taking control and behaving toward people the way you want them to behave toward you.”

Downey also emphasized the importance of having a good support system if you’re especially sensitive to rejection. Finding someone you can trust to serve spil a sounding houtvezelplaat can help you build up perspective. “They can use this other person spil a sort of reality test,” Downey says. “They can ask, ‘Am I overreacting?’ or “Does this make sense to you?’ And that way, they can get some perspective.”

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