Rejection is the act of pushing someone or something away or feeling like we or our ideas are dismissed or not accepted by others. It can be physical or emotional. We can be rejected for a job, in a romantic relationship, or in our social and professional lives. One of the biggest fears that many of us faces daily, is to be rejected when attempting to communicate with others, on social media, making a phone call, etc. and our approach being met with resistance or being disregarded.
If it happens sporadically and it doesn’t affect you, then there is nothing to worry about. But if it happens often and you take it personally, or if fear of rejection creeples you into inaction then you might want to find a solution.
Rejection triggers feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, and unworthiness. The more often we experience it, the worse we feel (ask a sales person how she feels before and after making 200 phone calls per day to strangers). We might think that these feelings are caused by the rejection itself but in reality there is a deeper cause. When others refuse to accept us, we are reliving something that happened in our childhood or even before we were born:
“Chronic stress exposure for pregnant women affects fetal development, […] . In addition to stress, persistent negative maternal emotions during pregnancy such as anxiety, depression, and anger also exert an influence on fetal and later development of a child,” (Araki, M., Nishitani, S., Shinohara, K. et al. Fetal response to induced maternal emotions. J Physiol Sci 60, 213–220, 2010, The Journal of Physiological Sciences).
“Fetuses of mothers who show high rates of depression, anxiety and stress weigh less and are smaller than average at midterm, according to a recent study from the University of Miami School of Medicine. Psychobiologist Miguel Diego and colleagues found that the stress hormone cortisol seems to be one potential mechanism for transmitting a mother’s stress to her unborn baby. ‘Maternal distress is accompanied by biochemical changes, such as increased cortisol, that can both directly and indirectly affect the fetus.’ (Diego, 2006).” (Psychobiologist Miguel Diego and colleagues, study from the University of Miami School of Medicine, 2006).
Somewhere in our past we experienced rejection from one or bot hour parents and this left a wound inside of us. As adults we might not have considered the importance of such an event, we might not even be conscious that we experienced rejection. But the fact that each time we are rejected we feel bad about ourselves is a clear sign that it’s more relevant than we think, and therefore it needs our attention.
Besides making us feel bad about ourselves, rejection can push us to isolate ourselves from the world. Because we fear to be rejected, we withdraw to prevent ourselves from experiencing the discomfort again. By doing this, we don’t solve the problem, we just cover it up and continue to suffer in silence. In this way we are risking to put ourselves in situations where we experience such rejections over and over again, can’t fully enjoy genuine relationships, and miss opportunities to enrich our lives with new ones.
But what can we do to make the discomfort cease so that we can accept and deal with rejection, when it happens, in a constructive way? It’s easier than you might think, when you know how to do it: find the real cause of the problem and eradicate it.
The real cause of rejection, as I mentioned previously, has its roots in our childhood or even before we were born. It is part of what I call our family’s toxic emotional inheritance – a toxic legacy of emotions, feelings, thoughts, convictions, tendencies, inner conflicts and unresolved childhood issues that our family passed onto us and was reinforced with their unhealthy behavior. Take note that often unhealthy behavior can be disguised as what we perceive to be healthy behavior. Often we are not conscious that this inheritance is the source of our problems in life.
The experience of being rejected, if it happens regularly and makes us feel bad about ourselves, is therefore a manifestation of our family’s toxic emotional inheritance. And if we want to do something about it, then we have to identify the toxic element(s) – a conviction, a thought, an emotion – that causes us to be rejected. Understand that it’s not your fault, this is something that you have inherited. Once we have identified this toxic element, then we can more easily find a way to detoxify. And from that moment on our experiences will change: we will attract people who accept us and when we are rejected, it won’t hurt us anymore. And we won’t sabotage ourselves by rejecting genuine people and healthy experiences.
Here are two of the things that I did to start detoxifying myself:
1. I looked for the source for my problem and I got in conscious contact with the part of myself that was wounded. I took care of it as if it was my own child. Through understanding my discomfort, I could see the real cause of rejection. It wasn’t my fault. This understanding was enough to get me started relieving myself of this burden.
2. I allowed myself to cry. Those were old tears that were blocked inside myself. With those tears I washed away the toxic pain that caused my problem.
Identifying the real cause of your feelings of rejection is not always easy to do on your own. If you need support click here to request more info on how I can help.
About the author
Elena Perella is NOT a therapist, a psychologist or a psychiatrist; she is a coach who focuses on helping clients indentify the real reasons behind their suffering and problems. Born and raised on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Elena is passionate about what she does, and with good reason. Elena coached herself through a severe depression, eating disorders and domestic violence and her experience has led her on a journey of discovery of how to break out all of these challenges. As a result she created Sentidu Life Coaching to help people experience their own transformation and break free in the areas they feel stuck.