After a breakup, many people experience a grieving process similar to one experienced after a death. You may be in denial that the relationship is over and feel a combination of sadness and anger. You may also feel rejected and question whether you are good enough. These feelings can lead to feelings of isolation and depression that make moving on with your life even more difficult. In spite of your grief, it is possible to overcome the feelings of rejection.
Connect With Others
When you are feeling rejected, your self-esteem may be low. Because of this, you may feel like isolating yourself from others. However, even though you may not feel like socializing, surrounding yourself with positive people who bolster your self-image is “crucial,” explains HelpGuide.org. In addition to spending time with supportive friends and family, consider joining clubs or becoming involved in community groups where you can meet new friends and take part in activities that make you feel good about yourself.
Take Care of Yourself
When you are feeling the pain of rejection, it can be easy to neglect your basic needs. Exercising, eating healthful meals, getting adequate sleep and avoiding alcohol and other intoxicating substances are particularly important. Keeping a regular schedule can help you maintain a sense of stability, writes Jennifer Heetderks for The Counseling Center at UC Riverside. Likewise, taking time to participate in activities that make you happy and relaxed, such as prayer or meditation, can help you maintain good mental health.
Challenge Your Beliefs
After you experience the rejection of a breakup, you may develop negative and inaccurate beliefs about yourself, assert David J. Drum and Alice Lawler in the University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center handout, "Overcoming Rejection in Romantic Relationships." Drum and Lawler advise exploring what types of beliefs you hold because of the rejection. For example, do you see yourself as being undeserving of good relationships? Do you think you are unattractive or unkind because of the rejection? Look carefully at these beliefs and see whether they are true. In most cases, you will find that you are being unfairly hard on yourself and holding onto feelings stemming from hurt rather than reality. Take note of when you think of these negative things about yourself and replace them with forward-thinking ideas. For example, you might tell yourself, "I tried my hardest to make the relationship work, and I know I have a lot of love and commitment to give someone else."
Depersonalize the Experience
Often, rejection is more about your former partner than it is about you, argues psychotherapist Elayne Savage on her website, QueenOfRejection.com. Although it can be difficult to not take rejection personally, in many situations, people reject a mate because of their own problems or unmet needs rather than anything the partner did or did not do. Try to distance yourself from your own emotions and consider things from your ex’s perspective. That said, Savage warns not to try to guess what your partner was feeling when he rejected you, because you can never know what someone else is thinking or feeling unless he tells you directly.
- Counseling & Mental Health Center at The University of Texas at Austin: Overcoming Rejection in Romantic Relationships
- HelpGuide.org: Coping With a Breakup or Divorce
- The Counseling Center at UC Riverside: Recovering From a Break-Up
- Elayne Savage: Don't Take It Personally! Overcoming Rejection, Judgments and Criticism
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