Anyone who is ploughing through the dating field knows that rejection is very much part of the process. But how can we explain why some people effectively cope with rejection and others have a very difficult time with it?
People high in rejection sensitivity anxiously expect, readily perceive, and intensely react to rejection. They have fears and doubts about whether others will accept them. Their high sensitivity to rejection leads them to scan the environment in search of possible rejection cues. Quite often this vigilance for rejection cues makes them especially susceptible to perceiving and magnifying other people’s ambiguous or negative behavior. This constant scanning causes them to behave in ways (increased stress and highly aroused negative emotional states) that erode their relationships and their sense of well-being.
The result is a feedback loop in which high sensitivity to rejection leads to vigilance for rejection cues which leads to negative behaviors which leads to rejection which lead to decreased self-esteem which leads to depression which leads to diminished sense of personal worth which leads to high sensitivity to rejection. You get the picture...
So how do you know you’ve hit rock bottom?
1. Sense of hopelessness - feeling that life is not worth living, there’s no reason to even try to date because you’ll be rejected anyways, no reason to seek help because it never worked before etc.
2. Negative views about your self-worth - you feel like a failure, you feel like shit, sometimes it's not much, other times you just want to shout “screw them!” and you get more depressed with every real or imagined rejection.
3. Social isolation – you avoid gatherings and events, you spend most of their time alone, you feel that you are alone in the world and no one understands, is listening or even cares about you.
4. Difficulty with trust – you have problems sharing feelings with others, you are critical, sarcastic, or abusive (reject them before they reject you)
5. Not much seems fun - you are persistently bored, you lack motivation and have no interest in activities.
6. Frequent physical illnesses – you have mold or severe headaches, stomachaches lightheadedness, dizziness, back pain etc.
This is a scary enough place to visit let alone live in day in and day out. It is a place where you need to get out of as fast as you can, and before you spiral down to suicidal thoughts, self-injury, substance-abuse and all the other stuff.
One piece of crucial advice, when seeking help, avoid techniques, programs or advice that encourages you or teaches you how to “avoid rejection” because trying to “avoid rejection” is just another way of creating mental stress and emotional frustration. You may end up exactly where you are trying not to go - depressionville!
The best advice is one which encourages you or teaches you to become “okay” with rejection. Like it or not, rejection is part of life, sometimes you'll be accepted and sometimes you'll be rejected. There is just no foolproof way of avoiding it – not while you are alive and not while there are people all around you!