by Rachel Smith, founder and owner of Give Yourself Kindness
Rejection is a normal emotion
Rejection is an emotion that can feel incredibly uncomfortable. It is an emotion that it would be completely normal and understandable to think 'can't we just avoid it?'
The thing is, as uncomfortable as it feels, it is an emotion that we all experience. It unites us, even if it can feel like a lonely place. It is an emotion that feeling goes along with our joint human-ness.
If you are experiencing the feeling of rejection right now, I want you to know that you are not alone. It is an emotion that does not define you, it is an emotion that will pass.
The powerful tool: self-compassion
Whilst this uncomfortable feeling might be unavoidable, there is a really powerful tool that can help.
A tool that means that we can allow ourselves to feel that emotion, without getting overwhelmed by it. A tool that doesn't judge ourselves for the feeling, but sees it as a signal from the brain - something to be curious of and compassionate towards.
It feels important to say that we don’t have to like painful or uncomfortable experiences, but accepting them without resistance frees up energy for healing. Stop fighting, and you’ll find inspiration and space to move forward.
This tool is imagining how you would speak to a friend if they were feeling rejected right now.
What would you want to say to them?
By imagining what you would want to say to them, then you can say it to yourself.
I also know that sometimes it can feel hard to know what you would say to a friend, so below I’ve added a few ideas. I want to let you know that these may not relate - that is okay - these aren’t what you ‘should’ say. Every situation is different, but maybe they will spark something.
I hope they will make you feel less alone because you aren't alone.
I hope you can feel reassured that you can give yourself kindness the same kindness you would give to a friend.
Quotes for self-compassion
‘I am here, you don’t need to say anything. I just want to be here with you, I want you to know that I see you.’
‘I know you have thoughts that they aren't texting back because you did something wrong, but maybe it’s nothing to do with you. Maybe they’re away from their phone. Maybe they’ve got something going on that means they can’t get back to you. And maybe they haven’t, maybe there’s no reason, but that is on them. It has nothing to do with you - it is their loss. And it is a massive loss - because you are AMAZING.’
‘It must be so difficult that they are always late when you arrange a meeting, but maybe they’re late for everyone. Maybe it’s just their thing. I bet it has nothing to do with you.’
‘It is so rubbish when plans get changed at the last minute. You are allowed to feel upset. But in some ways it is good you didn’t meet up and all the time they were distracted or anxious or in a rush. It shows that they feel safe with you to change the plan, and that is very special. It shows how much they value you. It might mean that the next time you meet it will be even more special and they’ll really appreciate you.’
‘You are in a safe space here, if you need to cry that’s okay. I am here.’
‘They didn’t show up - that is rubbish. Maybe they forgot? Life can get so complex sometimes. I have definitely forgot things with friends and family, people that I love, and I’ve just forgot! That doesn’t mean you can’t feel upset, you are allowed to feel rejected or upset or annoyed. I just don’t want to feel like it’s anything to do with you.’
There is no hierarchy within rejection
I also want to leave you with the message that there is no right or wrong reason to feel rejection.
The emotions you experience are always allowed and valid and don't need to be compared with other times you feel that emotion, or other people's experiences of that emotion.
Rejection is an emotion that will pass
I understand that feeling rejection is horrible. Throughout the experience try to be gentle with yourself.
And leaning into curiosity try not to minimise or deny it. You are allowed to feel it and reassure yourself that it won’t stick around!
Sending you warmth,