Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Rejection (1) – the hurting

Lately, I’ve noticed that I have been advising new friends to avoid rejection. That made me wonder about this topic. So, I’ve opened a new blog label and attached only 2 existing blogs (2015, 2016). If rejection is that important to me then why didn’t I write about it more?? The answer is simple: rejection hurts badly. Unlike physical pain, rejection even hurts while remembering. This is probably why we always try to forget rejection.

Psychologist  Guy Winch has written a lot about rejection: 2013 book Emotional First Aid, Salon (2013), Psychology Today (2013), TED Ideas (2015). One quote from Salon says it all: “Rejections can cause  four  distinct psychological wounds: (1) rejections elicit emotional pain so sharp it affects our thinking, (2) floods us with anger, (3) erodes our confidence and self-esteem, and (4) destabilizes our fundamental feeling of belonging”.  Note: markings and numbering are mine.

Rejection often starts in our early childhood. I still remember being picked almost last during team selections at school sports. Often a teacher had to allocate the remaining people amongst the various teams. Sometimes a team even tried to publicly prevent such allocation through pleas to the teacher. It was very clear who was popular and who wasn’t.

My continued dislike for – and rejection of – soccer also roots in my childhood years. My parents made me join a local soccer team, against my wishes and pleas. Their counter argument was that my father had been good at soccer. Seriously?? I was lousy at nearly any sport and successful in learning. Probably, I compensated the hurt over sport by taking pride in achieving high grades in class. It worked for me.

The rejections I experienced in my childhood years never haunted me in my future. I was lucky. I have noticed that a perceived lack of parental love during childhood has a devastating impact in years to come. Such rejection may never heal as the child’s perception is often very different from their parents’ reality. Discussion is “complicated” and closure might be impossible.

My deep hurt over rejection happened most of my married life. Discussion was meaningless. I became an expert (by experience) in reverse psychology and projection, without even realising it. My mind is still raising yellow or red flags whenever new episodes in my current life remind me of those hurtful years. Those scars run deep.

Perceived rejection is all around us: from our children. parents and siblings to former lovers, friends and co-workers. I use the word perceived deliberately. The other side may not realise that we feel rejected. Would they know then they may even belittle our feelings and may not alter their behaviour. Hence, it’s often too painful to address rejection.

The benefit of writing this blog is that I now think, feel and believe that a sense of rejection is causing my periodic mood swings. Rejection may also be the tipping point in my rollercoaster of solitude and loneliness, apart from being a tipping point on the thin line of love and hate. Rejection is far more present and far more important than I ever assumed.

The Hurting (1983) by Tears for Fears – artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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