Rejection is brutal. Who doesn’t want to feel loved, adored, needed, or appreciated? We all have a deep need to be accepted, desired, and counted as someone else’s favorite or most special friend or partner! When those we pin our hopes, affections, and dreams to turn away from us, it can leave us feeling lost, confused, and even unlovable.
Like everyone else, I experienced moments of rejection during childhood from peers. Kids are mean and will mercilessly pick on one another for any and no reason at all. While names called on the playground or mean girl antics in the cafeteria might have caused the shedding of a few tears, nothing could have ever prepared me for the MMA-style body slamming my heart would take at the hands of my first husband!
We were high school sweethearts. At the age of sixteen, I was convinced that he was my soulmate and the love of my life. He was my first love and real relationship, but we had no business getting married at such a young age before either of us had really experienced life or knew what we wanted from it. Our seven-year marriage was tested by significant challenges including a cancer diagnosis, infertility struggles, death, and devastating career detours. Yet, through it all, I still loved him dearly and never stopped imagining many more years together.
Imagine my shock when he informed me that he was no longer in love with me and no longer wanted to be married! Those words falling on my ears made the rest of the world go silent. I felt as though my whole existence was pulled out from under me like a tablecloth yanked off the table as part of a magic trick. My mind fought hard to process and comprehend his announcement.
I suddenly transitioned from cherished wife, partner, and belonging to someone to no longer having a place, a purpose, or identity. My name, my lifestyle, everything I had was attached to being his wife, and he no longer wanted me!
It was a time-consuming and emotional process, but I overcame the epic heart stomping delivered by my ex. You, too, can learn to love yourself again after another has made you feel unlovable! Here’s what you need to know:
A classic and often overused break-up line: “It’s not you, it’s me.” Anyone who has heard these words is probably thinking “Yeah, right.” We assume that being dumped without fingers pointed for all the reasons we forced that decision is likely something to do with him starting a new relationship or other shady dealings on the dumpee’s part. Maybe he doesn’t want to say what the problem really is. Maybe the problem really is him!
The fact is, the way others treat us, both good and bad, often has little to do with who we are and is so much more about who they are or things they are struggling with. This is why we can’t internalize rejection to automatically mean we are flawed, undesirable, or unworthy! In contrast, we can be the same wonderful person we ever were and getting dumped or being treated poorly by a partner might just be a reflection of what kind of person they are or their state of mind at the time.
I healed from my situation once I realized that his dissatisfaction with me and our marriage was not entirely in my hands. This is not to say that I had nothing to do with the end of our relationship; but, he was struggling with mental health issues that he refused to address, and the way he treated me was a choice he made and not something that I deserved. He might not have loved me anymore, but that didn’t mean I was not worth loving- by myself or anyone else!
Whitney sang it best…learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all! People will come and go throughout life, that’s a fact. We will have falling outs or lose loved ones to death or distance. The one person who is guaranteed to always be there from start to finish is you!
That’s what’s supposed to happen to all of us over time! We can hope to grow with our partner and in the same direction, but that doesn’t always occur. So, just because you’re not the same people you once were and may have lost your connection or even love for one another doesn’t mean that there aren’t new and amazing things to admire and appreciate. What’s most important is maintaining (even developing) love and appreciation for yourself!
Self-love doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a narcissist (okay, you might be if you enjoy nothing more than gazing at your own reflection and think the sun rises and sets on your shoulders). It’s simply healthy to have a sense of pride for your strengths, confidence in your abilities, and to be able to acknowledge your winning traits. Just because your ex didn’t get it, doesn’t mean you can’t!
We assume that we are someone’s “type” when we couple up with them, but some people are flaky, indecisive, and simply don’t know what they want or where they’re going in life. Exhibit A: my first husband. When we got together, I was the perfect woman in his eyes. Sure, I grew and evolved over a total of ten years together; but, I was still the same woman!
When he dropped the divorce bomb on me, I wanted to know why! The reasons? He no longer found me attractive, and I never played basketball with him. My response? I have no control over the arrangement of my physical features. I am who I am. He liked me just fine when we first met, and I can’t help it that he’s now changed his mind. I may no longer be his cup of tea, but I knew there were others who would drink a cup of me! As far as basketball, what can I say? Not only did he never ask if I would play with him, but he didn’t own a basketball or ever display an interest in playing! This is just the fickle nonsense that we can’t allow ourselves to take to heart!
People come in all varieties of shape, size, and color. Thank goodness, because this means that everyone is just right for someone out there! Just because one fish in the sea determines us to be “too this” or “not enough that” doesn’t mean that we’re not simply spectacular! All this means is we’re not the yin to one person’s yang, not that we need to give up on being loved or appreciated by anyone else. It’s hard to hear that we’re not pretty/thin/young/tall or whatever enough; but, no matter what, we are deserving of love, and the right people- the people we need in our life– know this!
Sometimes people we love let us down, hurt us, and leave us feeling like we’re not worthy of being loved. At these times, we need to be careful not to allow their hurtful actions to make us feel less about ourselves. Often, we’re not responsible for the actions of others, and their decisions are due to their own insecurities, problems, or the fact that they’re just not very nice people! We are lovable even if someone has made us feel to the contrary. Anyone who makes us feel otherwise is not someone we need in our lives. We can do better, we deserve better, and we’re better off not having those negative influences bringing us down!
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