Rejection Hurts: 5 things to help you cope

Rejection Hurts: How to minimize pain and move on

Have you recently joined the Lonely Hearts band? Updated your status on FB with a frowny face? Recent studies have shown break-ups can cause physical pain- as seen by brain scans watching your noggin reel after a significant other calls it quits. Rejection of any kind turns your stomach, causes negative thoughts, depression and questions about your self-worth/identity. While avoiding rejection is not always controllable, coping with it is.

Rejection Hurts

Minimizing the pain of rejection

Perhaps you are coming out of a break up, were rejected by a potential employer, excluded by a dear friend or thought a new relationship was going somewhere… it was not. All of these situations cause that acid to gurgle up, thoughts to arise in your head like, “What did I do?” or tears to well-up in your reddened face. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we NEED to feel love, connectedness and belonging. Without it, we begin to question our identities, actions, worth and other vital components of the self- but should we? Probably not quite in the emotionally-charged way we are doing so, complete with “F this” and a victim-mentality.

Rejection Hurts

Painful self-thoughts. One of the key pieces to understanding the river out of rejection is understanding the unsightly stream of self-thoughts you are using to cope with. The circumstance, whatever caused you to feel rejected happened- but how you think about it is not concrete now or ever. If you focus on ideas like, “I am a bad friend” or “He deserves better than me” or “I messed it all up” you will lead your actions with those toxic thoughts. Low and behold, you will end up being a bad friend (perhaps not returning other friends’ phone calls), he will find someone you “see” as better (suddenly she seems skinnier and more selfless than you do) and you will continue to “mess” things up (because you will be anxious, nervous and have your thoughts in other places than on what you are doing). Don’t live up to the self-fulfilling prophecy unless it is a good one, girls!

Rejection Hurts

Environmental triggers. Just like a smoker avoiding the triggers that spur on a nicotine fix, you need to surround yourself with positive triggers and eliminate (or avoid) anything that is paired with your feeling of rejection. That may mean clearing out all of your ex’s stuff and putting it into a box labeled D-bag (or the fireplace) or removing people from your social media sites. You may also need to ditch certain tunes for a minute or a favorite hang-out in order to build yourself up before revisiting memory lane or worse- running into the dreaded culprit of bad vibes. If you were rejected from a job or laid off, begin to form new positive environmental cues to take over habits you had previously- join new organizations, volunteer and make friends outside of your former co-worker clique.

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Support network. Speaking of friends, they are worth their gluten-free weight in gold.  You may have lost a significant other or a friend or a job but you only lost ONE. Your life is made up of many splendid things, especially close friends and family who can help you create a positive outlook, go to productive places (both physically and mentally) and listen to you when you really need it.  Karaoke and skinny martinis is also a combo made in friend-tastic health that will help rosy up your mind frame and giggle off a few extra calories meanwhile.

Rejection Hurts

Affection and furry things. When I get down about friends or career blights my 4-legged friend Lucy has an exceptional way of making me feel okay. She doesn’t even squirm when I swear I squeeze the life out of her, Ellie May style. I am a tactile person and textures and smells have a way of bringing me Zen and taking me away from anxious, dreadful thoughts. If everything else on my list has not helped you yet sister, take a day to volunteer at the animal shelter and follow it up with a walk in a greenhouse. I cannot scientifically say it has been proven to alter your life but the fresh oxygen, sweet smell of calla lilies and soft fur on a puppy are soon to be considered legal drugs if I have anything to do with it. Which I don’t of course… so just take my word for it.


At the end of the day we all need to move on, it is our only choice. The past is gone, the future is unknown and we only live in small moments where we make choices about how we feel. Choose to feel hopeful, imaginative, creative and driven- I guarantee those feelings will propel you much further than missing what is gone. When you get the gurgle and the acid climbs up your throat, turn on a little Florence Welch and bang the drums until the Dog Days are Over.

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Rejection Hurts

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