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23/04/2018 14:49 SAST | Updated 23/04/2018 14:49 SAST

I Took These Steps To Work Through A Devastating Rejection

Whether you were passed over for a promotion, or you were stood up at the altar, take a moment to let the emotions sink in.

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When my engagement was called off, I was the most devastated person walking the earth.

At first I acted like it was no big a deal; after all, I was not the first to have a broken engagement and neither would I be the last. I had forced smiles for most of the first few weeks. I picked up calls from the few friends who knew about it, so they wouldn't think I was as affected by it as I was. Maybe it was because I hadn't yet come to terms — somewhere in my mind I believed he was coming back to me. This stage is what many refer to as the first stage of grief: denial.

He didn't come back, thankfully, but in the months that followed, as the reality of it all sank in, life was hellish.

We can't help but feel the enormous blow to our ego, our self-esteem, our worth.

Rejection is a hard and bitter pill to swallow. No one wants to feel not good enough. Sometimes that's not the case, but we can't help but feel the enormous blow to our ego, our self-esteem, our worth. I was fortunate enough to know a few friends who helped me take baby steps out of that pit. Still, many don't have the luxury of a few good friends.

It may not sound as serious as it actually is, but the effect of rejection can range from chronic depression to outright suicidal tendencies. I know because I've been there a few times myself.

When all you have is yourself to talk you out of the effects of rejection, these steps can help you immensely.

1. Come to terms with the truth

And quickly! This goes without saying. The longer you wallow in denial, the more you're exposed to the parasites of rejection. Acknowledge that what happened has really happened. Own the emotions that are flooding your mind. These words are easier said than done, but I'm not about to kid you — it is hard and it hurts. But it can be done. Whether you were passed on for a promotion, or you were stood up at the altar, take a moment to let the emotions sink in. Take the time you need to cry if you must, and then leave it there.

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2. Know that it doesn't define you

This pit has the most victims in it. Rejection could be so powerful that it could begin to define you. However, rejection is just as powerful as you allow it. Tell yourself that this one opinion, from this one person, does not and will not define who you are. Counter the thoughts that may try to tell you that you were rejected because you were not good enough. You are good enough. You are whole and you will get through this.

3. Treat yourself with a healthy dose of positivity

If you have to have positive thoughts written on sticky notes and pasted all over your wall, then do it. But by all means, pump yourself with some healthy dose of positivity. Choose the reality that this too will pass. Realistically, no rejection lasts forever, so sit yourself down and look at the big picture. This phase will pass; just keep reminding yourself of that, as well as other positive truths that you deserve to know.

Use it as a springboard to a better version of yourself, for yourself

4. Learn from it

There is always a lesson hiding in there to be learnt. You may not have done something wrong to warrant the rejection that was served you, but you can find a lesson in there and make it your silver lining. It could be a chance to rediscover who you are, a chance to handle situations better, or a chance to put yourself out there more often. Whatever the case, use it as a springboard to a better version of yourself, for yourself. You are what matters here.

5. Get really busy

When I was rejected, I kept playing the situation over and over again. I was literally obsessed with my rejection and the circumstances surrounding it, that I neglected other things. Don't do that. Pull yourself out of that zone and get busy.

Luckily, I got a new job during that time, so I threw myself into it. I got so busy that I could go two, three days and realise that I hadn't thought about my rejection. I started to go out more; I made more friends and gave more time to older friends; I exercised more; and then eventually I didn't remember the hurt. I got to a point where I could talk about it and not feel any hurt whatsoever. You too can get there, when you choose to pay your attention to other activities and people that are more deserving of your time.

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6. Take care of yourself

It's easy to wallow in self pity and forget to love yourself. Many times people get angry and beat themselves up over the said rejection. They wonder if there's even a point to it all. However, there is a point. Self-love and care shows that you value yourself, that you believe in who you are and deserve another chance at the beauties of life. Eat well, sleep well, exercise, listen to music, travel if you can afford it, and take good care of yourself.

7. Talk to someone

Though it was hard for me to eventually talk about my plight with a few trusted friends, I was glad I did. And I wish I had done it sooner.

I'm not one to expose my vulnerability, and I know I don't stand alone. However, talking to someone who cares helps give you a fresh perspective which is often times, the true perspective. It doesn't mean you're weak — it just means you're strong enough to accept when you need help. If you're a believer, praying about it makes a great difference.

It's often said that no one is an island. You don't have to go through the mess alone. Open up and let the healing come along faster.

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