The New York Times reported on new research that suggests rejection actually causes physical pain.
Being the creator of Rejection Therapy, I can vouche for that. I’ve had some pretty big rejections. Blown out even. Decimated.
Does it hurt? Yes, like nothing else. My entire being feels shell shocked. It’s not a sharp, stabbing pain. It’s a ringing, searing sickness I feel through my entire body.
One time I brought flowers to the office of a woman I met the night before at a club. When I handed them to her (in view of a roomful of people) she said she had a boyfriend. *
It was like a tank blew a hole right through my chest.
But you know what? I’m still standing. I’m inspired by the courage of those who put their life on the line for others. It puts life into perspective.
Withstanding rejection also gives an experience to draw upon. For me, I can say, “I’ve been through worse and came out stronger. I can do this! I’m come’n atcha SUCKAS!” (or reasonable facsimile thereof).
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But being rejected does more than build true confidence. Your body adapts, stops overreacting, and you become stronger.
My own personal experience working as a die caster in a foundry bears this out.
The first few years there, the die cast machines were only semi automated. We had to scoop out the molten aluminum from the holding furnace with a big ladle.
We wore gloves but you could still feel the intense heat of the furnace on your hands. Our work shirts were made of simple cotton and provided zero protection against molten metal.
There wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t get burned either on my hands, arms or face. On night shift it happened twice as often.
At first, having a glob of molten aluminum splash on my skin was shocking and painful. But after a month of it happening every single day, it was nothing. I just brushed it off and carried on.
Sure, it’s a different kind of pain, but our bodies can hardly tell the difference.
Think of it this way: You actually have the mutant healing powers of Wolverine (another Canadian superhero) within you right now. Someone blows a hole through your heart, you wince, shake it off, and keep on going. You freak!
Yeah, rejection hurts, but you’ll be stronger for it Bub.
* Do something dumb like this at least once in your life.