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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Townsend

Rejection Hurts

Rejection hurts. Literally. Our brains respond to rejection the same way they do to physical pain. It's hard. It's heavy. We've all been there.

We're wired for connection and belonging. So the pain we feel when we're crushed by not getting that job, heartbroken from a breakup, grieving from a friendship dissolving, or disappointed about not getting that opportunity we were so eager for, makes so much sense. 


How do you notice you respond to rejection? Do you have thoughts like:


"Nothing ever works out"

"I'm just not good enough"

"Go figure, here we go again"


Hey, that's okay. I find that sometimes it's easier to blame ourselves or internalize rejection because it gives us a false sense of control—over something we actually had little control over. This response to rejection is often compounded by our self-worth. If you're already feeling meh about yourself, you may use rejection as a false confirmation about how you see yourself. Hello, confirmation bias. See how that works?

Whereas if your self-worth journey has helped you untether who you are from your work, relationship status, etc., it may be more accessible for you to shield yourself from overpersonalizing rejection. Because deep down, you know that you are anchored in who you are. All parts of you. And that life hardships and struggle don't make you anything other than a person having a human experience. 

Pro tip: Rejection is not about you or a reflection of you.


More often than not, rejection is due to fit, circumstances, timing, or a needs mismatch. And even when it is personal, it's not a rejection of everything about us or who we are as people. 

Rejection experiences don't have to mean much more than that if we don't let them. 

Here's an invitation to see rejection more neutrally without having to create a story that rejection confirms that you are unloveable, unsuccessful, failures, doomed, or worthless.


Here's an invitation to let rejection just be what it is—a no, thanks—without having to mean something about you or your enoughness.


Yes, rejection hurts. And it's important to validate feeling hurt, sad, or angry in response to something not working out. And I wonder if you changed your relationship to rejection, could you walk away from it with more acceptance and more compassion for yourself, and less self-criticism or shame?


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