Why Does Rejection Hurt?

When we extend an offer to someone and that person chooses to decline it, we sometimes view this as if WE have been rejected. People don’t reject people, they are simply declining an offer that was made to them. A person is not accepted or rejected, only the offer. 

Courtney Brame, Something Positive for Positive People.

If you’re a human being, it’s a reasonable assumption that you have experienced rejection in one way or another. Either by the simple act of denying a person, place, or thing or you have personally experienced the end result of another applying this action towards you, you’ve heard of it. 

Rejection is very common, and we do it ALL the time. When someone offers you food that you are not fond of and you don’t want it, so you just say “NO.” What if there’s a movie that your significant other wishes to see, but you hate the entire premise and say “I’d rather not.” This rejection happens every day, but why does it hurt more when it’s of a personal nature? Well, believe it or not, there are real reasons as to why rejection hurts.

As human beings, most of us have an intrinsic need to be wanted. It is simply a part of who we are, so when it comes to rejection, there are many who do not take this very well. There are many different reasons for our reactions, but it still infers the question, why does it hurt so much?  Well, it is because the same areas of our brain that become active when we experience physical pain, are the same areas that become active when we experience rejection. This is why the pain of rejection can be pretty intense for many people, and why these feelings are very, very real. Some experts and evolutionary psychologists believe that the fear of rejection is an evolutionary part of human survival. They also believe this response is in place to basically protect us. The need to be liked and accepted is, in a sense, a need to remain part of the proverbial island and part of the group. There is power in numbers, and remaining within the group can also allow one not just to survive but also to pass on their genes to future generations. 

Thousands of years ago, being kicked off the island and left to one’s own devices would typically be a death sentence. Still, if you are on an island with a group of people who are working together, this scenario clearly provides much higher odds of survival and to the passing on of one’s genetic lineage. So even though a fear of rejection can be negative and painful, it can still be a learning experience. Many people have taken this negative and turned it into a positive. Some great examples of this are…

  • Author J.K. Rowling, who used her rejection letters to inspire other authors.
  • Oprah Winfrey didn’t let her rejections stop her after her first boss told her she was too emotional for the job.
  • Thomas Edison was told by his teachers that he was too stupid to learn anything.

Rejection can be tough and even more so when its from someone you like or wish to date. Are they rejecting you as a person, or perhaps, they are just rejecting your offer.

Family Rejection and Dating Rejection.

Within herpes communities on social media, the discussion of rejection in relation to dating is a prevalent subject. The subject of disclosure is also full of opinions – some good, and some downright ridiculous. While there is no one perfect answer that will encompass everyone’s issues or attempts at lessening the blow of the word herpes, we can find some decent ideas that will work for most people. Social media has created a new dynamic within dating, and this herpes situation is a significant concern for many people. The idea of trolls or even a family member outing a person for having herpes can be frightening. Now add the fright of a public outing on social media; this new fear sets the bar much higher but ultimately lowers the bar on any expectations of finding a significant other. This fear and shame can be quite debilitating. The fear of family rejection and the fear of “never hearing the end of it” also weighs heavy on many minds. I have heard from numerous people…

 “I just know my father (or mother) will constantly bring every single thing I do up and will never let me live any of my mistakes down. I’m already getting crap because I’m not married and haven’t given them a grandchild yet, imagine what they will say when they hear that I have herpes…I will never hear the end of this.” 

 I don’t know if this scenario would be true for every family, and I’m sure similar ones can be brought up. Still, I do understand how one could have concerns about discussing herpes with judgemental friends or even family members. So what is the answer? Honestly, I don’t know what the right solution for everyone is, but I do know that if you make everything in your life all about herpes, you will utterly lose who you are. You will become wholly drenched in it, and the life you now have becomes all about having herpes and rejection. This perspective is not healthy, and the constant thoughts of being this “thing of rejection” that is walking around sounds utterly dreadful. At the end of the day, If you think you are the color blue, then you WILL be the color blue. It’s all about perspective, and, unfortunately, many people will see it this way. The good news is you can change your perspective and realize that you are not rejected everywhere or all the time. That would be impossible. You have a life, you socialize, you have friends, and no one is going to reject you all the time. Rejection is only momentary, and hopefully, this realization can help change your perspective and open new doors to the idea of, yes, rejection can happen. Still, it shouldn’t change who you are. You are so much more than a disease. 

Besides, why would you wish to be with someone who is not interested in you? That would never work out well or end terribly. Honestly, opportunities to meet someone new are endless and don’t forget, there are seven billion people on this planet, so I’m sure you’ll find someone that will accept you. The odds are highly in your favor! 

More details on the subject can be found here.


Originally Posted: https://askingforafriend.us/articles/f/why-does-rejection-hurt

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

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