From the chronicles of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the Ex-factor had me every single time. If there was any song that could adequately depict the picture of unrequited love, it was it. Rejection in romantic relationships is an interesting one because it cuts across the borders of race, religion and culture and almost everyone can relate to this topic. From that first crush who did not notice you, to that ex who did not realize how much of a superman or superwoman you were or probably, that one who vanished into thin air without warning.
It leaves you with so much coulda, woulda, shoulda, which makes it hard to completely let go. In the recent times more than ever, when you ask people about love they will tell you about heartbreak and as the common saying on love street goes, ‘these girls or dudes ain’t loyal’. Therefore, in a world where the culture is ‘broken’, the cycle of hurt barely stops… most people are hurting and their hurt spills over unto others.
Intrinsically, we have been wired to crave acceptance and fear rejection so, a lot of people see the negatives of rejection.
What is really missing in the life of many is the ability to apply perspective. From a very young age, we have all been exposed to ego without anyone really teaching us about self-love. Perhaps, most of our parents were clueless about it too. What rejection does is bruise our ego and since egos are fragile, we find our entire being crumbling. What exactly is responsible for this? We simply confuse validation and acceptance with love and where it is absent we automatically believe something must be wrong with us. (Sometimes, I feel as though the word ‘love’ should be banned forever because its interpretation is too diverse for human comprehension).
The number one mistake everyone makes with rejection including myself is taking it personally. It is never about you, it is them and everybody has a right to their decisions and choices. Although, our emotions seem to play trivial tricks with us as we tend to crave an individual more once they stop caring about us. However, an individual with decent self-esteem can quickly spot this illusion and then resign to fate. I reckon that the ability to thrive through any type of rejection is a valuable life skill that everyone should possess. Apart from the fact that it humbles you, it also exposes you to self-discovery and growth.
It is important that you do not blame them or criticize their decisions as you cannot hold them responsible for your feelings. These are choices we all make sub-consciously therefore the reasoning that ‘you cannot make someone love you’ goes either way. If they communicated their decision in honesty, your heart should be grateful to them. It could be worse… They could have stayed, and still be uninterested.
Bitterness, hate, anger, and resentment are all negative emotions which are cousins to rejection, and you will have to get rid of them. Simply because, they will consume you. However, the toughest demon you will have to face in this battle is INSECURITY. Insecurity is very difficult to tackle because it had been present all along but what rejection does is reinforce it. It drives you up the wall and you may begin to believe that you are your insecurity. But insecurity, has a root and the best way to deal with it is to dig and find its underlying causes. What exactly attracted you to that individual? What was your motive for wanting to be with them? Were you desperate for love that you could not see that certain things were wrong? Travel down to your childhood memory lane, most times the root cause of insecurity lies there i.e neediness, and longing for acceptance and validation.
Unraveling insecurity is not a day’s job and it is a painful one too. It will take series of honest conversations with yourself, making peace with your past and embracing the present. The best antidote for insecurity is replacement with self-love. Self-love is a re-occurring word in most of my articles and when I speak of this, I do not take it lightly. The concept of self-love sounds easy in theory but it is quite hard to execute in real life. In order to understand self-love, you will need to embrace the concept of human imperfections and mistakes. That way, you can love yourself even through the most terrible life decisions you have ever made.
Lastly, take the focus off ‘the ones that got away’ and replace them with self-development, achieving new goals and chasing purpose in life. This gives you a sense of direction and motivation which improves your self-esteem tremendously. Always remember that though it is a beautiful thing to find love, it is even more beautiful to find you.
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Oluwabusola Adedire is a graduate of Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, an enthusiast on social issues, and loves to inspire people about life, God and Love. Find her on Instagram @hrh_oluwabusola and on Twitter @HRH_oluwabussie