Let’s Talk About… Rejection

Health & Lifestyle

Presented by Jeremy Godwin, host of Let’s Talk About Mental Health (source)

I am no stranger to the feeling of rejection. Whether it be for a job or opportunity I applied for and was turned down from, a date that resulted in being friend zoned, or a text that went unacknowledged. I could go on and on about other moments of rejection in my life, but instead, I want to share a podcast episode I came across after looking for one specifically on this topic. Wondering why I was searching for information on rejection? Well, for one, it’s an uncomfortable feeling that I’m sure we all have experienced and don’t spend much time talking about. Secondly, one thing I know for certain is that we humans are social beings. We seek connection and a sense of belonging. When those needs are met with being rejected, left out, or unaccepted, it can leave us feeling deeply hurt. I know this because not only have I experienced it, but I’m sure it has been felt by many in the wake of the pandemic and the social isolation we experienced, or that was heightened for others. In this post, I will share some notes from the episode Let’s Talk About… Rejection with Jeremy Godwin, host of the Let’s Talk About Mental Health podcast. In this episode he shares a definition for what rejection is, why understanding its impact matters for good mental health, and how to deal with it.

What is Rejection?

  • Rejection is when another person avoids or ignores you
  • Related to words such as: abandonment, exclusion, shunning, desertion
  • Examples:
    • Being pushed away based on personal aspects that another person doesn’t like or agree with
    • Someone you’ve dated deciding not to see you again
    • A friend deciding the friendship has run its course
    • A family member not agreeing with who you are
    • A work colleague excluding you
    • A million and one other scenarios . . .
  • Goes against our instinctive desire to belong, feel seen, valued, and respected as a human being
  • Can follow a major argument or can come out of nowhere
  • Results in confusion, anger, hurt, sadness, self-doubt
  • Rejection is painful and can activate insecurities, doubts and deepest fears
expressive multiethnic couple having conflict on street

Understanding the Impact of Rejection Matters

“As far as your brain is concerned, a broken heart is not so different than a broken arm.”

Naomi Eisenberger, PhD
  • People who routinely feel excluded have poorer sleep quality and their immune systems don’t function as well as those of people with strong social connections
  • Rejection can cause emotional and cognitive consequences
    • Social rejection increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy, sadness
    • Reduces performance on difficult intellectual tasks and can contribute to aggression and poor impulse control
  • Identifying what you’re feeling and taking action is essential
  • The pain of rejection is felt because we are hardwired to want to belong
  • See rejection as a sign that something needs to change, whether you want it to or not
  • Only you have control over what you do, say, feel and what happens next
  • Learn from rejection in order to grow

How to Deal with Feelings of Rejection

  • Feel What You Need to Feel
    • Strong feelings of rejection or sadness happen to us because we care
      • For example, an emotional connection such an intimate or family relationship, or,
      • Wanting approval at work or maintaining a reputation
    • Feelings and thoughts are not facts, but reflections of our emotional state and if our needs are being met (e.g., the need to be accepted)
    • There is no right or wrong when it comes to your emotions, and how you feel is how you feel
    • The only way through it is through it
    • Process and work through your feelings (e.g., with a counsellor or therapist)
crop ethnic psychologist writing on clipboard during session
  • Remind Yourself It’s Not Personal
    • Hard to do when it feels personal
    • When someone rejects you it is about them and their choices
      • For example, the other person is fearful about a relationship moving too quickly and they’re not ready for that, or,
      • A family member set in their ways and not willing to accept others as they are
  • You May Never Know Why
    • Rejection can come with no warning or a surface level explanation
    • Closure is not a given
  • Healthy and Positive Relationships
    • Spending time with people you have healthy and positive connections with can lift mood
    • Positive social interactions can release opioids which give you a natural mood boost, such as with exercise
    • Seek healthy relationships or lean into the ones you already have
      • Take time for yourself and spend it with supportive people
  • Journaling
    • Can help to get emotions out
photo of person holding cup

Sometimes rejection in life is redirection.

Affirmations for Moving On by Ashley Diana

Rejection hurts, but it doesn’t define me.

I’m OK with rejection. It means I took a chance. I took a risk. I stood up for myself.

Rejection simply means that that thing is no longer meant for me.

I’m OK with being led in a different direction.

I happily accept that they were the wrong direction.

Source: Reframing Rejection: Affirmations for Moving On! Don’t Let Rejection Keep You Down

Let’s get comfortable talking about rejection.

What are some ways you have dealt with rejection?

Share them in the comments.



This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

A Gratitude Exercise

Health & Lifestyle

Presented by Danielle LaPorte (Canadian author)

“Appreciation is a form of wellness. It’s also what keeps us moving through difficult times and what brings us back to love, time and again. More importantly, when we tie our gratitude to the ‘why’ of it, we develop new forms of appreciation and depths of connection for living.” (Commune)

Gratitude, Appreciation & Connection 

Photo by Created Stories
  • Consciously focusing on our blessings have emotional and interpersonal benefit
  • Appreciation is a form of wellness
  • “ I am grateful…. because.…”
    • Being specific increases the sensation of appreciation; gives you access to more positive, life affirming feelings
    • Allows you to go deeper into the meaning behind the circumstances and people in your life you are thankful for
    • Expands your awareness of gratitude; illuminating the positive feelings

5 Gratitude Life Areas

  • Livelihood + Lifestyle: career, work, money, home, possessions, fashion, travel
  • Body + Wellness: fitness, food, relaxation, healing modalities, mental health, sex, sensuality
  • Creativity + Learning: culture, creative expression, education, interests, hobbies
  • Relationships + Society: romantic relationships, partnership, friendships, family, children, community, social causes
  • Essence + Spirituality: soul, inner self, faith, devotional practices 

What are you grateful for?


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.