And it always sucks.
My experience with rejection seems to go like this: I read/see/hear the "No." It's like someone has just up-turned a bucket of numbness over my head. As the numbness trickles down my body I start to wonder if maybe this time I won't feel so horrible about it. That thought, though, is evidence that the numbness is wearing off, because suddenly I can feel the acid burn in the pit of my stomach. There's a pressure in my chest that makes breathing difficult. It squeezes and squeezes until one fat tear spills onto my cheek. And then...well. The floodgates have opened.
|Actually me once I start crying|
Helpful, right? You're left with little nuggets like this:
|I mean, it's a good quote, but seriously...Not helpful in the moment.|
So I decided to write down the ways I actually, practically deal with rejection when it happens. Maybe it'll help you, too. So, without further ado, here we go:
- Take a deep breath. And then take another one. And another. I know it feels like it will hurt to breathe. There's a pressure on your chest that seems to be shoving your heart and lungs down into the burning in your belly. It seems safer to take shallow breaths. I know. But I promise you, the pressure will actually let up as you breathe.
- Related: Get some fresh air. I don't care if it's 7* outside - you need some fresh air. Crack the window in your car and crank the heater. Hug your heating pad and wrap yourself up in a blanket so you can stay warm while also being able to breathe something other than stale air. I can't overstate how important oxygen is right now. It is major.
- Drink some cold water. And I do mean cold. Everything is kind of burn-y right now, so you need to counter that. Later on you can have the comfort of hot tea, hot cocoa, or hot coffee, but right now just try some ice water. It will help. I promise.
- Also related to water - wash your face. Seriously. It's amazing how refreshing and humanizing this simple act can be. Yeah, mascara may run and your eyes may still be red, but you feel better. You know that first shower after you've been sick for a while? Yeah...this is a miniature version of that.
- Eat something good for you. I know the instinct is to drown your sorrows in fried food, chocolate, and alcohol. And those things all have their place. But if that's all you consume your body is going to feel crappy. Try some sauteed veggies (I like fajita veggies, myself), or a fresh salad. Something refreshing, that will help your physical self feel better. It translates to the emotional self. Really.
- You'll have to walk a fine line with this one, but listen to a song that expresses how you feel. Personally, I like Chasing Dreams by Dave Barnes for creative rejection, and Sad by Maroon 5 for breakups/romantic rejection. As I said, it's a fine line, because it can be too easy to be sucked into the vortex of "Woe is me," but sometimes we need to hear someone validate what we're feeling, and music can do this in ways nothing else can.
- You know that movie/TV show/book that never fails to make you feel better? Yeah, go watch or read that. Your brain will probably try to convince you to stick with the sad song. Don't. And I bet when you first press PLAY or open the book you'll want to stop. Just sit with it for five minutes. My most recent choice was You've Got Mail. It didn't disappoint. It was like being hugged by an old friend.
- And speaking of being hugged...find someone. If you're a hugger, ask for a hug. Sometimes I stop at my sister's house just because I know I'll get a hug from her and at least two of my nieces. If you aren't a hugger, that's fine. But find your someone anyway. You know that someone - the person who can sit with you without saying something, or who can listen to your disbelief and pain, or who can make you laugh (or at least smile).
- Go to sleep early. This one is tough, I know, because when you go quiet is generally when your brain is finally able to run through all the things. And it's easy to replay the rejection again and again. Do what you can to stay in this uncomfortable place. You may cry (I always do). You'll probably need to focus on those deep breaths again. But turning to face that rejection head on will lessen its power. It will allow you to stand up and try again sooner than if you try to ignore and/or power through the pain. Also, as an added bonus, this quiet time is when you are finally able to hear what you need to recover.
Because that's what all this really comes down to. Your body will tell you what you need. If you can sift through all the noisy pain of rejection, you'll be able to know exactly what will help.
And at some point, you'll be able to face the idea of trying again.
|From 'Truce,' by Twenty-One Pilots|