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Written By: DiveThru Team

Reviewed By: Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW


Feeling Rejected: A Guide to Your Emotions

PUBLISHED Dec 23rd, 2020 & UPDATED ON Feb 6th, 2023

When we put ourselves out there and get rejected… that shit is the worst. The WORST. It can cause you to question if you’re good enough. It makes you wonder if something is wrong with you. It’s majorly tough on the ol’ self-esteem. Not to mention, it can make you overthink everythinggg you’ve ever said or done. Feeling rejected can make us pick ourselves apart, even when our rejection has nothing to do with us personally.

It could be that you’re dealing with constant rejection while you’re looking for a job. Maybe you applied for a program at your dream college but you didn’t get in. Or maybe you asked someone out and they totally friend-zoned you. If you felt like an outcast or a loner in school, maybe you felt rejected by your peers. The list goes on and on and on. And each time we feel rejected, no matter what the reason is, it can be painful AF.

Don’t worry, it’s not just you. Everyone deals with feeling rejected at some point, even the people who you might think have it all together. It doesn’t matter how perfect or successful someone might seem: they still deal with rejection, too. Let’s look at how we can recognize when we’re feeling rejected and ways to cope!

A Deeper Look at Feeling Rejected

Here’s where we dig a ‘lil deeper into the meaning of rejection. The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines rejection (n.) as “denial of love, attention, interest, or approval.” Oof, it sounds rough but it’s pretty accurate and to the point.

Rejection comes in a lot of forms, and let’s be real: all of them really suck. GoodTherapy outlines different types of rejection depending on the situation or relationship.

Familial Rejection 

You can feel rejected when a parent or family member neglects or abandons you. Or they withhold love and affection. This one hits close to home (literally) so it can be really tough to deal with growing up. You can carry the hurt from this rejection into your adult life, potentially affecting your future relationships with yourself and others.

Social Rejection

This form of rejection is thanks to bullies or alienation that you might experience in life. It can start from the playground as a kid, and still happen at your workplace well into your adulthood. It can also happen in social group settings where you feel out of place or rejected by the people you’re with.

Relationship Rejection 

When you’re dating or in a relationship and the other person holds back on affection and intimacy, it can feel like rejection. Or maybe your partner doesn’t include you in certain events or experiences in their life. An obvious one if when they end the relationship: that can be a brutal rejection.

Romantic Rejection 

While this one is kinda similar to relationship rejection, romantic rejection has more to do with feeling rejected when you ask someone out on a date or try to pursue them, but they turn you down.

How Feeling Rejected Shows Up Mentally

Feeling rejected can really mess with your head, and bring up all of those nasty thoughts we already mentioned. Why aren’t I good enough? Why don’t they like me? What is wrong with me? It can be hard to pull yourself out of these thoughts when you’re feeling unwanted or unaccepted by the people surrounding you. Sometimes, this feeling can pass pretty quickly if you recognize that rejection is not your fault and that you were overthinking it (happens to the best of us).

But if you’re not able to pull yourself out of the suck fest you’re experiencing thanks to rejection, it can lead to bigger problems down the road. Long-term rejection can cause trauma, depression, anxiety and stress if the feeling isn’t managed properly.

How Feeling Rejected Shows Up Physically

Sometimes when a person is experiencing depression due to long-term rejection, they might deal with physical symptoms that are incredibly harmful. If rejection has impacted their self-esteem or body image, they could develop an eating disorder or engage in self-harm. In other cases, people who feel rejected might lash out and behave super aggressively against a person or group who rejected them. They could act violently, or become abusive.

These are extreme and dangerous ways they might use to cope with rejection, which is why it’s so important to seek help when feelings of rejection and hurt don’t go away on their own.

5 Ways to Cope with Feeling Rejected

Okay, that was a lot. Sooo, what now? Don’t worry, we weren’t gonna leave you feeling rejected without giving you some ways to cope! Here’s some methods we hope you’ll find helpful:

1. Give yourself a pep talk and utilize a helpful statement 

Say positive things to yourself out loud: “I feel rejected at this moment, but I know that I am a capable person. I will get through this.” Maybe write these thoughts down in a journal. Even if it feels kinda silly, there’s no shame in comforting yourself.

2. Journal 

Feeling rejected can be a tough emotion to navigate. Try writing out exactly how you’re feeling and what made you feel this way. Was it something someone said? Were you in a situation where you felt left out? Taking the time to journal our thoughts can give us the clarity we need to move forward!

3. Reach out to a support person 

Your loved ones are there for a reason! When you need to talk through how you’re feeling, lean on the people you trust. Sometimes just having someone to listen to us and validate how we’re feeling makes all the difference.

4. Engage in something soothing and comforting 

Spend time with your pet by cuddling them or taking them on a walk. Touch something comforting like your fav cozy blanket. Brew some tea or your drink of choice. Do whatever makes you feel calm and safe.

5. Positive distraction

Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Watch an episode of a show that never fails to make you laugh. Clean out your closet. Listen to a podcast. Do whatever takes your mind off things and sparks a ‘lil joy! You deserve it.

Don’t worry – no matter how you’re feeling right now, we promise the intensity of rejection does subside. Try out these tips and you’re sure to get through it! And remember: you ARE enough, no matter what.

Read More: Online Therapy 101, How to Get the Most Value From Your Therapy Appointments,