+

The Agony of Rejection

If you are in Mumbai, and the Kali-Peeli taxi driver or autowala bluntly refuses you a ride, it won’t stir you up unless you are required to appear for a scheduled meeting or an interview at a certain time. Or your much-loved cafe refuses you to take your order because it is past midnight and […]

If you are in Mumbai, and the Kali-Peeli taxi driver or autowala bluntly refuses you a ride, it won’t stir you up unless you are required to appear for a scheduled meeting or an interview at a certain time. Or your much-loved cafe refuses you to take your order because it is past midnight and they have shut shop. Or your friends reject your weekend plan citing lame reasons or excuses. While such rejections may sting momentarily, they are less distressing in comparison to the deeper wounds inflicted by rejection sometimes in our professional spaces and personally too.

Imagine the heartbreaking moment when a fresh graduate eagerly hands over her meticulously- crafted CV to a potential employer, only to have it torn in front of her eyes and discarded unceremoniously into the dustbin. A brutal rejection such as this not only shatters one’s confidence, but also leaves a deep emotional wound that takes time to heal. This scenario, unfortunately, is not uncommon in the ruthlessly competitive world of job hunting, where some senior executives, driven by their insecurities, fail to recognize and nurture fresh talent.

The pain of rejection extends beyond normal, at times. Consider a well-done job interview, only to your utter dismay of seeing the selected candidates handpicked because of some rather influential connections. In such scenario, there is a strong possibility of self-doubt that creeps in questioning one’s abilities and worth. The psychological toll of rejection cannot be understated for each rejection serves as a painful reminder of our vulnerabilities and limitations for a long time.

Rejection also leaves behind long lasting wounds in the delicate set up of human relationships. Picture this - a perfect marriage proposal for either an eligible boy or a girl and nervous anticipation out of hope, only to get rejected for reasons at times unknown. The disappointment of being rejected may leave the would-be bride or groom grappling with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, questioning her worthiness of affection and companionship.

In his theory of love, American psychologist Robert Sternberg explains various types of love such as - non-love, friendship, infatuation, empty love, romantic, companionate, fatuous, and consummate love. These types of love are based on three components that are passion, intimacy, and love. However, rejection in relationships leave you not only drained but traumatised too.

According to some theorists, intimacy is considered a central human need. In fact, in a recent study on how perceptions of a partner’s rejection behaviours are linked with the rejected partner’s relationship and sexual satisfaction, it has been found that one partner’s reassuring behaviours were associated with greater satisfaction, whereas hostile behaviours from one partner/spouse were associated with lower levels of satisfaction.
One may not realise initially, but rejection casts its shadow over the sacred bonds of marriage and intimacy. Within the confines of marital bliss, a husband’s repeated refusals to wife’s advances in the bedroom become a silent testament to his disinterest and detachment. And each rejected advance leaves the lady fighting with a cocktail of emotions that range from hurt and frustration that cut deep into her emotional wellbeing too.
As if that weren’t enough, there are instances when a girl is not accepted by her husband’s family, despite her constant efforts to connect even if it is at the cost of her self-respect. She seems to be down in the dumps because the constant rejection has fed her nothing more than despair.

Well, there is no end to rejections. Indeed, the journey of life is defined by countless rejections, from the innocent denials of childhood desires to the more complex disappointments of adulthood. As children, we quickly learn the bittersweet lesson of acceptance when our pleas for a much-desired toy or a fancily-wrapped candy are met with a firm “no” from our parents. Though initially disheartened, we come to understand rejections were merely stepping stones towards a greater understanding of resilience and fortitude.

Not only this, being in the turbulent waters of rejection, we learn to introspect and discover the depths of our inner strength and resilience, learning to love and accept ourselves unconditionally, regardless of the validation of others. After all, for every closed door, there exists a multitude of opportunities waiting to be explored and each rejection paves the way for a better tomorrow.

Tags: