Rejection is a word that used to feel like poison in my mouth. It was the worst possible outcome in my love life and I avoided it at all costs. Inevitably though, it happened to me. Then it happened again and again. Each time it hurt like hell, but experiencing rejection also positively impacted me. Here are 10 ways it made me better person.
1. It strengthens me for next time. As much as “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired out cliche, there’s also great truth in it. Just when I thought that someone dumping me or turning me down was going to absolutely break me, I got through it. The strength of the human will can really surprise me. I’m broken down only to stand up again. This time, I stand up with my back a little straighter and smile a bit brighter.
2. It’s humbling–the experience reminds me I’m no better or worse than anyone else. I admittedly have this complex where I think that I’m either way better than others or way worse than other people. I can carry on like this for a long time until something inevitably knocks me down into being right-sized. Being broken up with is a sure way to remind me that I’m a human just like everyone else around me and I really have no more or less power than the next person.
3. Being powerless is a reminder that I have so little control over life. I go through most days thinking I have control over outcomes and other people when I have such little control. Then all of a sudden the feeling of someone leaving me when I had absolutely no say in the matter feels utterly devastating. It feels like my world is crumbling. After I get through the initial shock and hurt, it’s actually refreshing to be reminded to let go of my perceived control on the world. I strangely end up being glad for being rejected.
4. The sooner I know that someone isn’t my person, the better. I’m dating because I’m looking for my life partner. I’m seeking out someone I can be happy with in the long-term. If someone ends a relationship with me, it may feel like a devastating blow, but they’re actually doing me a favor. Maybe I would have found out months or years down the road that they weren’t my person. Then it would sting a whole lot more. They did me a favor by freeing me up to look for the person who I actually am meant to be with.
5. Often what I want wasn’t even what was best for me. The Dalai Lama, a lovely Buddhist legend, said “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” He nailed it for me. Sometimes I’m desperate to be with someone who actually isn’t even good for me. Maybe I can’t see the truth or I just don’t care. So when the world goes ahead and takes this person from me in the form of them leaving, I can ultimately feel grateful rather than spited.
6. I’m proud of myself for being vulnerable. One big takeaway I can always pull from being rejected is that I was vulnerable. I put myself out there, challenged myself to leave my heart open, and I risked getting hurt. Life is all about taking these chances. Those who don’t take vulnerable chances never have are able to have true connection. Maybe the person who rejected me wasn’t my person, but at least I know that I’m capable of opening my heart to someone in my future.
7. I always amp up my self-care when I’m rejected. The last time a guy I was seeing abruptly (and in a really mean way) ended things with me, I turned the volume way up on my self-care rituals. I cooked myself a fancy dinner, called my friends more, went to the gym a bunch, and got a massage. I know that I’m the one who needs to take care of myself and heartbreak reminds me to do so.
8. A chance for self-improvement opens up. I don’t delude myself into thinking I’m perfect. I know that sometimes breakups or rejections happen partially because of something I did. When rejections do occur, I take them as a time to reflect on what I did well and what I could have done better. Life is all about trying to be a bit better each day and rejection is really a wake-up call that reminds me of this fact.
9. There’s always a lesson to be learned. In my most recent rejection experience, I was truly happy with how I conducted myself throughout the relationship. I saw a lot of growth and I acted graceful, even when he was being sh*tty. Nonetheless, upon a closer look I saw that I was ignoring deal breakers because I thought he was worth it. No matter what the circumstances of a rejection, I can see the glass half full by pulling a life-lesson out of the experience. This lesson was no more turning a blind eye to deal breakers.
10. The experience forces me to turn my attention to trusting the process. I have such little control over outcomes. I can either let go or drive myself mad trying to fix everything. I choose to let go and make a trust fall into the universe because there’s so much more freedom in that decision. I don’t have to agree with what’s happening to trust the process that is unfolding in my dating life. I just trust that there are good things ahead of me and that this pain will be useful.