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

Why Does Rejection Hurt So Much?

When we ponder the question, ‘Why does rejection hurt so much?’ we realize that it’s not merely the external event of rejection itself, but rather our internal reactions that amplify its impact. Our ego, fragile and vulnerable, takes a significant blow when faced with rejection, leading to a cascade of emotions. In essence, the pain of rejection is deeply intertwined with our sense of self-worth and validation, making it a potent and often distressing experience.

Beautiful black woman

Questions answered in blog post:

  1. Why is rejection so powerful?
  2. Why does it hurt so much to be rejected?
  3. Why does rejection make me feel worthless?
  4. What are the psychological effects of rejection?

How To Behave After Rejection

Why is rejection so powerful?

When someone rejects you, they are directly addressing your ego.
But to understand this, we must first comprehend that our ego holds a very favorable opinion of ourselves. More precisely, we have a very high opinion of ourselves, as we are our ego entirely.

Notes: Ego is often confused with vanity and pride. That’s a clearly mistaken interpretation. We are our entire ego, our values, and everything that belongs to us.

And we have a positive view of ourselves, even when we doubt ourselves or publicly state that we don’t hold ourselves in high regard.

Man and woman

Therefore, when someone rejects us, they directly speak to our ego and tell it: “You’re not actually worthy. I see you, and I see that you’re not worthy.”

This means they’ve pierced through all our attempts to make ourselves appear and be valued. And they see us for who we truly are. To be precise, they see their version of us. And in their version, we’re nothing special or even worthless.

Hence, the experience of rejection is so painful. Someone directly tells us: “You’re nothing special,” and our ego depends on us being great. In fact, it’s always trying to prove to the world that we’re valuable.

So when someone tells us that we’re not to them, it hurts our essence, our being. And of course, an incredible need develops to still try to convince that person that we are better than they perceive us to be.

This is how obsession with a person occurs. From the need of our ego to prove to her that we are still valuable.

How to stop obsessing over rejection

Why does it hurt so much to be rejected?

Keep in mind that only those we desire acceptance from can reject us.
We don’t even want acceptance from people who have no value to us, and if they reject us, we don’t feel a significant amount of hurt.

And the people we want acceptance from are obviously vital to us.
For people to be essential to us, they need to have some value in our lives
(to give us a job, to accept us as a partner, etc.).

So, when someone rejects you, it means that you’ve been rejected by someone to whom you’ve already assigned some value.

Rejected woman

And now we have this paradigm: a person who is valuable to us because we have given them value in our lives—rejected us (even though that value doesn’t necessarily have to be objective, but rather one we’ve assigned to them).

That’s why rejection is painful: someone valuable to us thinks you’re worthless. Someone valuable to us has made a negative judgment about us.
And as we said, nothing in the world hurts like a wounded ego. Physical pains are unpleasant or even terrible, but a directly spoken opinion about us (“you’re worthless”) is a pain that cuts deep and, who knows, maybe stays with us until the end of our lives.

How to stop getting rejected all the time?

The basic problem here is obvious:

  1. That person has a special value to us.
  2. That person doesn’t accept us.
  3. We need to find a way to prove ourselves to that person.

The essence is that to correct the image of ourselves, we must compel that person to see us.

Man and woman break up

I’ve already mentioned that this is a cause-and-effect relationship:

  • I made you valuable, and now you need to accept me.
  • There’s a continuation of this: when you accept me, you won’t be as valuable to me anymore, but that’s another story.

In any case, from there begins endless effort and attempts to correct the image of ourselves.
That’s why many people (even some you know) spend their lives dealing with people you consider ordinary. They also dedicate their lives to proving themselves only to that one person who rejects them.

That’s one way. There’s another way. We can always consider two other things:

  • First, I made you valuable in my world. You might not actually have any value.
  • Second, it’s easier for me to tear you down in my head than to prove myself to you.

For more on how to view someone after rejection, read this article.

Why does rejection make me feel worthless?

A beautiful woman sitting after rejection

Actually, only people who already lack self-belief can feel worthless after rejection. It could be said that those who feel worthless after rejection have a psychological and emotional foundation for it.

People who feel worthy won’t see any reason to doubt their value in rejection. Such individuals usually perceive the problem either in the other person or in one of their traits or characteristics, but certainly not in their entire being. Therefore, their value doesn’t decrease with rejection. They can correct a negative trait or see the other person more clearly, but their value remains unchanged.

However, for people who don’t intrinsically value themselves, rejection practically confirms their doubts about their worth.

What is the best way to gain self-confidence?

A beautiful woman sitting

Let’s say it goes like this: I think I’m not attractive enough. If someone rejects me, they confirm that I’m not pretty enough.

The more of these things we have, the more our value diminishes (If we’re not attractive, smart, interesting, capable…), and if someone indirectly tells us that by rejecting us: You’re not all those things to me. I don’t want to be with you.

In any case, rejection can make you feel worthless only if you already have a predisposition for it.

What are the psychological effects of rejection?

Self-doubt increases.

Although I’ve said that we all think highly of ourselves, our ego is fragile and susceptible to self-doubt. Only some people are certain that they’re great, especially since there are literally millions of areas where we can doubt ourselves. Are we attractive enough, wealthy enough, successful enough, enjoyable enough, etc.?

If someone rejects us, they’re essentially saying: I see you. And I see all your flaws and everything you’re not good at.

So if we’re already not confident in many areas, we easily succumb to others’ opinions and accept them.

Maybe I’m not that good? Maybe I’m not that worthy if this person sees me this way so quickly. Will other people see everything that’s wrong with me, too, if this person does?

Man rejected woman

Why Do People Fall Out Of Love Suddenly?

Anxiety increases.

If we start thinking of ourselves as worse than we thought, we become more vulnerable. We also become weaker, less capable, stupider, and clumsier. Our entire self-confidence crumbles, and if we don’t believe in ourselves, our anxieties grow.

Will I be able to do this? Would I succeed in this? Will people accept me for who I am? The world is so dangerous, and I’m so weak. Everyone will see that I’m worthless and stupid, just like this person did. That’s why everyone and everything will try to hurt me.

Man and woman are walking

Anxiety is essentially an irrational, prevailing fear of the future. Anxious people don’t believe in themselves and think they won’t be able to face the future successfully. Of course, this is a simplified definition of anxiety, but rejection exacerbates it.

Why We Are In Love With Someone – Psychological Explanation

The simplest way to describe it would be through rejections in the workplace. For example, if I’ve been rejected for this job, maybe I’ll never find another one. I’m not qualified or capable enough to find a job. What will happen to my future?!

Or through romantic rejection: If this person rejected me, it meant I’d probably be alone forever. What will my life be like in solitude?

So rejection triggers irrational fears about the future.


If we combine these two things:

  • Self-doubt
  • Fears about the future

We easily get a good foundation for depression.

Depression fundamentally contains a lack of hope and self-confidence (I’m not talking about clinical depression caused by hormonal imbalance).

Couple out of love

If a person has no hope and doesn’t believe they can solve things, they withdraw from the world and see no point in moving forward. That’s why rejection is a fast track to depression, especially if the person has a predisposition for it. Also, if a person has had several other defeats, they might find it difficult to see a way forward and improve their situation.

People often place a lot of hope in another person and see approval from another person as life fuel.

Obviously, these people can’t draw motivation from within themselves, so an external factor is important for their lives.

2 Psychological Reasons Behind Obsession After Rejection

A beautiful, rejected woman

I’ve had many clients say: Only if this person accepts me, I’ll move forward. I’ll be happy and functional then.

However, the problem with this is that it means relying on the goodwill of other people. It’s like not wanting to rely on our legs but seeking crutches (other people) to lean on to walk.
It’s always, obviously, better to strengthen our legs.

Stress levels increase.

A person spends the whole day dealing with one important idea: Will I survive? And gather information about it.

This all takes place on an unconscious level that controls our survival.

Since our survival largely depends on other people, rejection from someone sends us a dangerous signal: you’re not accepted.
Also, we receive the signal that our qualities are not desirable in this world.
So, someone tells us that everything we think we are and count on is not good enough.

Handsome man with eyes closed

This obviously doesn’t happen at a conscious level, but it significantly raises our stress levels. Others reject us, and others do not need our values, abilities, and skills.
Therefore, even though it’s unconscious, we feel threatened by rejection from someone.

The body naturally secretes hormones that send signals that could help us survive by urging us to action.
A long enough period of secretion of such hormones has a very unfavorable effect on our health.

All in all, rejection from another person is very difficult. Psychologically, emotionally, and even physically.
A way to better cope with rejection is, obviously, to work on ourselves and strengthen ourselves psychologically and emotionally.

Love you. Dee

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