Getting Past Rejection


So, you got dumped. Ouch. Yes, it’s rough. In between the sobbing sessions and the constant barrage of incoming advice, sometimes you wish the earth would open up and swallow you. In fact, often it’s difficult to know which is the most distressing aspect — the actual breakup itself, or the never-ending and conflicting counseling you receive from friends, family, and even people who don’t know you all that well. Your mother wants you to get out there and start dating again. Your best friend suggests that the two of you could plan some horrible revenge against your ex. Worst of all, many times you have to listen to people telling you how glad they are that it didn’t work out, because they never really liked your ex anyway. It’s enough to make you crazy.

We all know what it’s like to suffer from a broken heart. You can be overrun with feelings of worthlessness or anger, wanting to erase the whole relationship from your memory, or even wanting to die (whether seriously or only semi-seriously). How on earth are you going to learn to live without this person who was such a huge part of your life, and perhaps was there beside you for a very long time?

First of all, despite the heartache and the depression, it is important that you understand that this is the end of a relationship, not the end of you. Your relationship does not define who you are, and if you were letting it define you, then perhaps this breakup is a blessing in disguise; it’s an opportunity to get your life together and be a complete and happy person in your own right. That way, when you do decide to start playing the field again, you won’t just be trying to find someone to fill a hole that you perceive is there. Instead you’ll be approaching the dating game as a self-assured, independent entity, which is not only healthier for you, but is also more attractive to others than someone who is simply looking to cling onto a partner.

Of course, being a stable person on your own doesn’t mean that the rejection of being dumped doesn’t hurt. Certainly you should not expect that being left by someone you love is going to be a picnic to deal with, no matter how much you’re capable of existing on your own. All the other wonderful things in your life, which normally you would be pleased about, suddenly pale in comparison to what seems like a devastating loss. It’s important to let yourself grieve, and don’t berate yourself for not being strong enough. Strength has nothing to do with it — if you love someone and they have been a huge part of your life, it is only human to feel awful if they decide they don’t want to be a part of it anymore.

Getting past the pain is a delicate process that you have to handle carefully. On the one hand, you don’t want to lie around in bed forever, wallowing in sorrow. It’s not healthy. On the other hand, you must not be in denial about how “absolutely fine” you are. If it hurts, then you need to accept that and allow yourself some kind of comfort. Everyone has different methods — maybe you could use some time off on vacation, or perhaps you just need a weekend of eating ice cream in your pajamas and ignoring the phone. Gradually, you’ll want to spend more and more time not talking or thinking about your ex, and doing the things that make you laugh, like spending time with your friends. Get back out there and live your life as soon as you can, but don’t push yourself before you’re ready. Others may mean well by trying to influence you, but in the end only you will know when it is the right time to put it behind you and get on with things.

Reconstructing your sense of well-being is a very personal process, and takes both effort and time. If you feel like you are in real danger of hurting yourself, or if you honestly think the pain is more than you can bear, please seek professional help. You do not have to go through this by yourself, and despite what it feels like now, you really will get past it. If you are not in danger but are just feeling the expected sadness, don’t underestimate it — you do not have to be a pillar of fortitude all the time. Indulge yourself, pamper yourself, and most of all, take all the time you need on your road back to emotional strength.

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