How to separate romantic rejection from your self-worth

The text appeared on my screen and I knew the answer to the question that I was afraid to ask. It didn't surprise him that he replied. I knew it in my heart, but it was something I needed to hear from him.
Over text, the person I was feeling for had just said that they did not want to be romantically involved with me. As I silently cried, tears rolled down my face. It felt terrible.

The worst thing about this rejection was the fact that my first thought was: I have to change. My thoughts weren't 'I deserve better', 'he clearly is an idiot', or onwards and upwards'. Instead, they were 'I'm just not good enough'. I understood his rejection of me romantically as a commentary on my worth. The message was clear and unmistakable: It's you, not he. I could not be convinced otherwise.

This is all wrong, but I now see it clearly with the benefit of hindsight. At the time, however, I was not aware of my supposed flaws. I was not pretty enough, and I wasn't thin. I needed to change my appearance, lose weight, and change my personality. In an effort to make myself more attractive and 'dateable,' I followed some of these misguided beliefs.

There was nothing that could change my mind, and I wasn't sure how to get out of the self-loathing spiral that this rejection had led me into. We all know that time is a powerful healer. I eventually regained my self-worth. The experience was a learning opportunity. It was obvious that my romantic rejection brought up the worst aspects of myself. This made old wounds seem fresh.

This whole ordeal made it clear to me that my self-worth is not tied to how "desirable" other people think of me. How can I make sure I don't fall into the abyss when someone ends it? How do I see it isn't me? It's them!

How can you tell the difference between romantic rejection and self-worth?

Rachael Lloyd, eharmony's relationship expert, says that romantic rejection is the most difficult type of rejection. Lloyd says that it cuts right to the heart of who and what we consider ourselves to be. "And no one's exempt. Relate and eharmony recently reported that over 60% of men fear rejection due to their appearance and age. This is similar to what women say.

A low self-esteem or past trauma can make it more difficult to endure a rejection. Most people are able to weather the difficult feelings by relying on their loved ones or friends. Lloyd adds that those with low self-esteem or hidden trauma from childhood can be stranded for months or even years.

How can we make it easier for ourselves? Sam Owen, Hinge UK relationship expert tells me that dating, just like life, is all about finding the people you love. We don't always get along with everyone we meet. Otherwise, we would be best friends with every person we have ever met. Owen believes that dating is a way to discover who you are and what you want. It also helps to build resilience through interactions with people who may not be right for you. Owen says that when someone rejects you, it is not only saving your precious time but also the universe guiding you to potential mates who are worthy and worthy of your time and love. Rejection is rewarding because it both teaches and nudges us toward our goals and happiness.

You are not being rejected. The relationship is working.

Lloyd believes that rejection should never be attached to one person. She says that if a partner leaves a relationship, it is usually because of something within the relationship. It can be very liberating to see our individuality and the self we create when we are bonded with others.

If someone decides to end a relationship with you, or breaks up with you, it is not you who's being turned down. It's the relationship being rejected. "Rejection is not always personal. It can often reflect key needs and wants that are not being met in a mutually beneficial relationship.

This is not about you, it's about them.

"Dita Von Tese once said that you can have the best, juiciest peaches in the world and still hate peaches. Ruby Payne, in-house sex expert and relationship specialist at UberKink, says that she was correct. "When the person we love doesn't want to be with us, we start to wonder: Am I not good enough? What was I doing wrong? Am I ugly? Payne says that we can become defined by the rejection of another person and therefore are unworthy of future love.

"Dita Von Tese once said that you can have the ripest, most delicious peach in the entire world and still hate peaches. She was correct.

Payne says, "The simple truth is that the rejection wasn't about you. It was more about them. With absolutely no reflection of your worth as human beings." It doesn't necessarily mean you aren’t attractive, fun or a good friend. It simply means they weren't right for you.

Payne believes it is perfectly normal (and healthy!) to feel down after a breakup or rejection. She says, "Take your time to heal and lick you wounds. But once you realize that it wasn't about YOU, the faster you'll get back on track."

Turn rejection into reflection

Puja McClymont, a qualified life coach, says that it is a good idea to think about the lessons you can learn from this experience if you feel that your self-worth is in danger.

McClymont says, "Rather than focusing on what could be wrong with yourself (there's nothing wrong about you but this is where most of us tend to go), focus on what you can learn or what you can get from the person or experience." Are there red flags you have missed? Reflecting in this manner will help you to see the positives and not dwell on your failures.

SEE ALSO: How to deal with body image issues in sex

"Working on your self-worth is the best way to avoid feeling rejected. Who are you? What are you committed to? Are you living your life in alignment with your values? Are you confident in your abilities? What can you do to increase self-esteem and make your worth more certain? McClymont goes on. When looking for love, deep reflection can make a big difference. You can bounce back from a failed relationship by building you up, rather than bringing down.

Make it a positive

Sam Owen from Hinge points out that it is important to accept rejection and not waste time in bad relationships. Hinge daters felt worried about hurting their partner's feelings when ending a undefined romantic relationship. However, an overwhelming 85 percent stated that they would prefer to know if the other person doesn't want them. This shows that'rejection' does not reflect a person's worth. It's about how each person seeks to have a fulfilling and mutually satisfying relationship. Owen says that romantic love is about this.

Acceptance is part of the journey that takes us to what we want. Owen says that romantic rejections are not an indication of your worth, but a way to improve your chances of finding the right partner. Your job is to be happy and healthy inside yourself. You can prioritize your mental health if you feel deflated by rejection. Self-care can help you feel more resilient, energetic, and mentally clear for the important dating and relationship goals. You can then focus on finding the person who truly loves you.

I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that nothing about me needs to be fixed or changed. It hurts. The pain can last a while depending on how we feel about ourselves at that time. You can take as much time as you like to grieve, but the rejection is not about you. It's about them. There is someone out there who will love you exactly as you are.

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