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But when left untreated, even the wounds created by mild rejections can become “infected” and cause psychological complications that seriously impact our mental well-being.
When the rejections we experience are substantial, the urgency of treating our wounds with emotional first aid is far greater.
The psychological term for this type of rejection is Social Rejection. We all know it does – it feels lousy, especially in the context of a romantic relationship. Nathan De Wall, Ph D, of the University of Kentucky, the need to belong, or the need to have strong and fulfilling relationships is as fundamental to human nature as is the need for food and water.
Truth is, that each of these has been proven as scientifically untenable through psychological research. Research establishes that it’s not only natural to experience severe mental agony as a result of rejection, but it’s also as “real” as physical pain.
We often describe the emotional pain we experience after a significant rejection as analogous to being punched in the stomach or stabbed in the chest.
True, few of us have actually been stabbed in the chest, but when psychologists asked people to compare the pain of rejection to physical pains they had experienced, they rated their emotional pain as equal in severity to that associated with natural childbirth and cancer treatments!
Most if not all of us have had these or other similar types of experiences from time to time during our lives.Imagine you’re sitting in a waiting room with two other strangers.One of them spots a ball on the table, picks it up, and tosses it to the other. Two strangers didn’t pass me a stupid ball in a waiting room, big deal! But when psychologists investigated this very situation, they found something quite remarkable. The ball tossing scenario is a well-researched psychology experiment in which the two “strangers” are actually research confederates.Did you feel depressed and anxious after this experience?Do you remember feeling utterly dejected during childhood if you were chosen last for a team because you were thought of as the worst athlete?
So does that mean there’s no way to alleviate your pain of rejection? You can’t wish away the pain of rejection, but you can control when you feel rejected. Next time you face rejection (and trust me, there will be a next time, ‘cause that’s how life is) try to apply these techniques and you’ll find you’ll be way better off in handling it – channelling it constructively even – if you can do it right. Sulagna Dasgupta is a relationships and personal development expert.