Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

11 Things That Best Heal Rejection and Negative Emotions

Clients often ask me which of the following is the best to do. My recommendation is always: everything. Do more of what comes easier and pleases you, but you will achieve the best results if you do all of these together.

Attractive man standing

Things to help you get over rejection faster: winning, taking action, self-improvement, a fulfilling life, socialization, higher goals or meaning, exercising, talking to a therapist or consultant, self-enrichment, avoiding self harm, and giving yourself pleasures.

The steps listed below can go a long way in helping you overcome the pain you experienced from rejection. However, this post: What heals rejection? , serves a real healing from that person. It also serves to make you look at rejection in a completely different way in the future in life.

1. Winning

Winning stimulates the release of dopamine, known as the pleasure hormone, and makes us feel superior, confident, and hopeful about the future. Additionally, it helps us maintain a positive self-image and a sense of control over our lives—all of which tend to suffer when someone rejects us.

When someone rejects us, we feel powerless and defeated, as if there is no bright future ahead. Therefore, when you experience a setback, like receiving negative feedback, concentrating on winning is a good idea.

Although “winning” might suggest running a marathon, victories can come in different forms. They can be small and ordinary, but they need to be yours. A victory could be tidying up your long-neglected garden, passing those few exams, changing jobs, or running a marathon. The bigger the victories, the greater the sense of superiority and control, so if you want to feel better quickly, aim for significant, meaningful wins.

A summarized scientific approach to winning:

Specific brain regions and chemicals are responsible for our experience of positive emotions, which accompany rewarding stimuli such as winning. An important brain chemical that plays a role in our experience of positive emotions is dopamine. This chemical mediates various emotions, such as pleasure, happiness, and excitement, due in part to its actions in a brain area called the nucleus accumbens. This brain region is activated in several circumstances involving positive emotions and pleasure, and can influence the thrill that one feels after a victory. Interestingly, this same brain region has been shown to play a role in the feelings of pleasure and excitement that one experiences when using drugs of abuse; and this same brain region might be under-performing in individuals with mood disorders such as depression.

Combined, the activity of the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala may have a profound effect on one’s experience of the outcome of a competition.

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Black woman handle rejection

2. Taking Action

Action is about feeling in control of our circumstances. When we take action, we signal to our brain that we are resolving something and taking steps forward. Only those who have some control over their lives can take action. Thus, when you take action, the first important thing is that your brain receives a calming signal: you are doing something. Something beneficial for us.

The second thing that happens is the apparent changes that result from that action. Actions should bring positive changes, so after taking many positive actions, your life can become better and of higher quality.

Starting from the premise that you have been rejected, action can help:

  1. To send a signal to your brain that life does not control you, but you control life.
  2. To improve your life.

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3. Self-Improvement

Attractive man working

Whether it’s external self-improvement or enriching yourself internally through physical activity, art, or practicing new skills, working on yourself sends the signal that you are valuable. When someone rejects you and signals that you are not valuable to them, it’s beneficial that you are valuable to someone. And it’s best if that someone is you. So be valuable to yourself.

There’s no better way to show yourself that you are valuable than by nurturing yourself. We take care of what is precious to us, don’t we? That’s why self-improvement is another great thing we can do to feel good after the defeat of rejection.

It brings a double benefit: it signals to ourselves that we are valuable and creates changes within us, both externally and internally.

My recommendation is that while working on yourself, instead of grumbling that you have to exercise, tell yourself: I’m doing this because I love myself.

Try to experience this emotion with pleasure; the effect will be even better.

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4. A Fulfilling Life

People at a party

Fill your life with obligations, fun, friends, and progress. A fulfilling life leaves little time for thinking about what happened to you (being rejected). Every five minutes you spend doing something, there will be five minutes in which you feel less (or not at all) about that person.

I understand that life isn’t always fulfilling and that, if nothing else, you’ll lie in bed at night thinking about the person who rejected you. But if you only think about them at night, you haven’t thought about them for many hours before. I think that’s great.

This also works by suppressing the event from your consciousness. Constantly contemplating these events keeps you stuck in the emotions they caused.

The best way to think less about them is to keep yourself busy doing other things.

5. Socialization

Socialization helps you see that other people accept and want you in their lives and that you are still desirable. This is crucial for balancing your self-perception. After being rejected, it’s easy to start questioning who you are—how desirable, enjoyable, fun, and loved you are.

Let’s not forget that we are social beings, and social acceptance has always been tied to survival (those who were alone in the savannah did not fare well). When a person feels rejected, they feel threatened on a deep, primal level that says: If you are rejected, you might not survive.

That’s why it’s beneficial to reconnect with friends who will help you regain a positive view of yourself. Feeling accepted will make you feel more secure after the rejection you’ve experienced.

Socialization

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6. Higher Goals or Meaning

These goals may not be directly relevant to your life but are very important for you to achieve. It could be a path of humanitarian efforts, achieving something that serves others, someone you know, or something personal. Or do something for the community, for the people who need you, or to improve the future.

These goals might include starting a business or earning a good reputation. Higher goals are usually tied to a better future. They require planning and significant effort as they are generally large life projects and take time. The mental and physical energy dedicated to these goals leaves less time to dwell on the rejection you experienced.

Additionally, a higher goal makes everything else seem smaller, including the rejection you face. This happens simply because you have something big to compare it to—a higher goal.


Suppression, Self-control and Setting-Goals

7. Exercise

Exercise is excellent because it helps release positive hormones. Since we are beings designed for physical activity (hence our long arms and legs meant for walking, running, picking, reaching, and climbing), when we engage in physical activity, our bodies reward us with a positive hormonal status.

Roughly: exercise (movement and use of the body) used to mean survival, and the body motivates us with positive feelings when we exercise. It encourages us to exercise by making us feel satisfied after it.

Exercise

During and after exercise, adrenaline, cortisol, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, testosterone, and endorphins are released. Endorphins reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. They regulate sleep and help us feel more confident, among other benefits. You can read more about this here.

8. Talking to a Therapist or Consultant

Talking about your problem with a therapist or consultant can be very effective. The idea is for someone to clarify the situation objectively and impartially, help you see the situation from another perspective, and provide techniques you can use to recover from the ego injury caused by rejection.

Therapists or consultants can help you understand yourself and why you found yourself in a situation where you desired someone who didn’t want you. They can also help you understand why this is so difficult for you, why you got attached to this person, and so on.

Therapists deal with ego injuries, while consultants provide practical techniques for overcoming these injuries.

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9. Self-Enrichment

Happy woman

Through art, knowledge, reading, and personal growth, we can invest in what we believe in and value. If we value a person, we will invest in them. If we don’t, we won’t. The same applies to ourselves. By enriching ourselves, we send a signal to ourselves that we are valuable. If you are rejected, it is possible that you lack a good opinion of yourself

The best way to enrich ourselves is through the abovementioned activities, but options also include investing in things that make us happy or satisfied. These don’t necessarily have to be tied to our inner world.

10. Avoiding Self-Harm

When I talk about self-harm, I usually refer to small acts of not loving oneself—smoking, lack of exercise, choosing bad food, neglecting oneself, etc.

The need for self-destruction and self-harm is linked to Freud’s concept of the death drive. The hypothesis that people have self-destructive impulses is controversial, but once you understand the human psyche better, it becomes evident in people.

According to this hypothesis, people have a self-destructive force working within them (despite you possibly thinking you don’t have one—after all, you don’t want any destruction for yourself). That force is always there, waiting to be overcome. And it can easily prevail after we are rejected and we feel bad about ourselves.

It is also known that people defeated in one area often feel the need to beat themselves in others. Moreover, that defeat exhausted them so much, they lack the strength to resist further defeats or bad treatment toward themselves.

Bad treatment toward oneself will only worsen the situation because, again, we send ourselves the signal that we are not valuable. Just as the rejecting person thinks and just as we think about ourselves (because that’s how we treat ourselves).

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Group of friends

11. Giving Yourself Pleasures

Pleasures are the food for our being. After experiencing pleasures, we are filled with life energy and get the fuel to move forward. Pleasures must be personal to you and can be anything. What people traditionally consider pleasures (travel, food, alcohol, watching movies) may be different from your pleasures. Yours can be anything that makes you happy (or at least satisfied that you engaged in them).

To others, your pleasures might seem like work or effort and very unusual, but the important thing is that you feel joy in the activity. For example, athletes feel pleasure after a good workout.

You need energy, and the quickest way to get it is through your personal pleasures because receiving rejection has sapped all of your energy (all of it went to neuroses and thinking about the event).

I know that you experienced a decisive blow with someone’s rejection. And you don’t have the will or courage to get started. 

However, although it would be ideal for healing to come in some easier way—or at least to come by itself—that will never happen. 

For the injured, we usually have to make an effort ourselves. And the rule is simple: the more we try, the faster the healing will go. The less we try – the slower it goes. 

If you want a quick recovery from being rejected, get over your pain and start doing everything you can to recover faster. Follow the list above, and you will surely get results.

With love. Dee

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