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dealing with romantic rejection

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Even those who know their self-worth and try not to take things personally have to face the fact that, when rejection occurs, their expectations and reality landed nowhere near each other. Having a romantic prospect say, “You’re not for me” can sting quite a bit. And if there are any issues of low self-esteem there, it’s very difficult not to take rejection personally. In those cases, rejection can even be triggering, causing someone to engage in destructive behavior as a way of seeking an outlet for the pain. How often do you see a friend drinking excessively or impulsively sleeping with a stranger they met on an app following romantic rejection? It’s common because people want to escape the uncomfortable emotions that come with rejection.

However, if you can switch your mindset regarding rejection, you can actually find that rejection provides an opportunity to elevate and evolve. It would be great if we didn’t even use the word rejection because it conjures images of someone desperately seeking approval of someone else. In reality, rejection can simply occur when two adults see if they’re right for each other, and one or both identify that they are not. And, honestly, even if one person comes to the conclusion first, the other would have eventually. But there is a lot of pride when it comes to who cuts the cord first and pride can cause us to behave in negative ways. We chatted with Francesca Hogi, a life and love coach, on how to turn romantic rejection into a positive.

Frencesca Hogi

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Feelings are not facts

“Rejection is a feeling and your feelings are valid but your feelings are not facts. The problem with labeling it as ‘rejection’ is that then that shame fog happens. Feeling rejected creates shame. And then you’re blaming yourself. And you’re feeling not good enough. [You think] ‘It’s because I’m too this. Or I’m too that.”

dealing with romantic rejection

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You’re looking at the wrong lessons

Hogi says that some people do try to find the lesson after rejection, but they can turn it inward, and seek more to blame themselves than find a constructive truth. “The reality is when your relationship ends you were a participant in that. There are lessons to learn. But if you’re stuck on this feeling of being rejected, you won’t learn the right lesson. You’ll think ‘Oh it’s because of my body. Or I’m annoying. Or I shouldn’t have said that thing.” Those are just some examples.

dealing with romantic rejection

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Rejection doesn’t hang on one small thing

“Maybe the real lesson to learn was ‘I was willing to pursue a person who never showed he was emotionally available for a relationship.’ That’s how shame clouds your judgment. That’s what happens when you label things as rejection. You focus on the wrong thing. It’s not about you not being good enough. It’s about you understanding the choices that you made.”

dealing with romantic rejection

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Look for patterns; not isolated incidents

“Relationships are an incredible teacher for us of what our triggers are, where we are in our self-love journey, and what we believe about love. It’s a very powerful thing to look at your past relationships. Or your past ‘situationships’ or the people you’ve gone out with. And start to see ‘Where are there patterns?’ You are the common denominator in all of your patterns. There is information to learn there.”

dealing with romantic rejection

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Don’t judge; just assess

Of looking for patterns, Hogi says, “When you ask yourself that question, come from a place of compassionate curiosity. Not judgment. Then you can start to see the lessons. Then you can start to see more clearly ‘Well maybe I have to take responsibility for the fact that I’m so focused on getting someone to like me that I don’t show up as my true self when I’m dating people,’ for instance.”

dealing with romantic rejection

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Do you possibly self-sabotage?

Hogi went onto give another example of a pattern that might come up. “Maybe it’s ‘I have to connect to the fact that I have so much insecurity that when somebody does try to give me the love and affection that I want, I can’t receive it, and I self-sabotage.’ Maybe that’s been a pattern and that’s caused your relationships to end…Some of the people you feel rejected you because you’re ‘not good enough’, maybe they broke up with you because you’re not emotionally available enough.”

dealing with romantic rejection

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Forget ‘rejection,’ and try this exercise

“I don’t like the word rejection,” says Hogi, “Because I just don’t think it’s helpful at all in moving forward and really seeing clearly what’s going on. A simple thing people can do is they can take their three most recent or most significant relationships/situationships and just write down ‘How did it start? How did I feel at the beginning? How did they behave at the beginning? Then what happened in the middle? And how did I feel and how did they behave? And how did it end? How did I feel? How did they behave?’”

dealing with romantic rejection

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Use this time to heal

“Just going through that process of writing it out and reflecting on that can give you incredible information. And help you to reveal a pattern. And then your next step is to figure out, okay, what is this pattern about? Bring that curiosity so you can start to heal it and to change it. But you have to be gentle with yourself in that inquiry otherwise you won’t get the right answers.”

dealing with romantic rejection

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When can therapy be useful?

“If you are a person who has never really learned how to self-reflect and to tap into what your real emotions are – how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way – then therapy is fantastic. If you’re a person who is dealing with a lot of trauma, and so, you’re so stuck in the shame fog that you don’t have the tools to move past it or move out of it on your own, then therapy can be a really amazing resource.”

dealing with romantic rejection

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Therapy is a great tool; coaching is specific

Hogi went onto explain that, while therapy can be an important tool for those who are new to self-reflection, as well as those who have been through severe trauma, “Not all therapists are really equipped to help you with this in a relationship context. But if you haven’t done a lot of work on yourself and don’t know where to start, therapy can be great.”

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