Coping With Rejection: Keys to Showing Yourself Compassion
The first time I ever confessed my feelings for someone I was in seventh grade. I wrote them in a letter. It was thoughtful and vibrant. Walking over to him in that cluttered classroom I felt exposed. Surrounded by peers who were pushing me, waiting to see if I was going to be embraced or humiliated. Middle school is constantly like that- a game of will my 'friends support me today' or 'make my life miserable'.
I handed him the note eyes locked to the floor and stood there as he read my confession. During those early years, you always feel like everything is the end of the world.
He smiled and told me he would write back. I can still see the words written in dark ink. "I don't date fat girls."
When I opened the note, people took it, passed it around, laughed, pointed, and I felt small. Rejected, pushed away and unwanted. Unwanted by him, myself and what seemed like the world.
If I could go back and tell that little girl anything it would simply be: "No one defines your self-worth and this feeling of rejection is fleeting. Little girls aren't fat and you, my brilliant child, define who you are."
Surrounded by people I call my friends. Fighting with the boy I always had to fight for. Feeling alone in a tiny crowded room. I can't remember the argument, but I remember the tears, the feeling in my stomach, the humiliation. Then he said, "Did you really think I would have ever married you?"
To be so young, so hurt and so rejected. Was it me? Was I unloveable, the kind of unloveable that made me the wrong choice? Because I had chosen to stay, to fight for him, in front of my family and friends. What made me not enough?
If I could tell her anything, through the shattered heart that only the loss of a first love brings it would be "No one defines your self-worth and this feeling of rejection is fleeting. Young women are more than enough just the way they are and you, my brilliant child, define who you are."
***Fast Forward to Today***
I find myself in a better place. I work constantly on my mental health, remaining open to my recovery process. And yet here I find myself, job searching. Frustrated to the point of tears. What are my skills? Will I ever find a purpose? Do I have anything to offer the world?
Feeling wasted, unaccomplished and consistently comparing myself to others.
Deep breathe in; here is what I know I would tell anyone else and what I deserve to tell myself.
"Your self-worth isn't measured by what you do for employment. Look at your accomplishments, and how far you have come. You can only compare yourself to yourself, you know what you're capable of and how hard you work. Your purpose is out of your control and you must let go and trust in what is to come. Allow yourself the pleasure of being you, because that is what you offer the world."
The Key to Letting Go of Rejection
1. Re-frame these poisonous thoughts of rejection, they are not a true representation.
2. Show yourself the compassion you deserve, that same compassion you show others.
3. Do not let others define you, be honest with yourself- only you know your self-worth.
4. Compare yourself to yourself.
For so long I allowed rejection to play a role in my identity. Letting others tell me who I am. Allowing my eating disorder to hide my inner truth. Afraid that if I was not a certain way the world would cast me aside. Though a struggle to reframe these negative feelings of rejection, I find that when I do I am able to let go of this false reality and see my true worth.