A large percentage of college couples, especially those whose hometowns are farther apart, break up over the summer. If you feel that your relationship might be at risk, or if you keep striking out with the people you’re crushing on, here’s a few tips to understanding and recovering from rejection.
Rejection can be incredibly painful for those who experience it. This is because the same part of the brain activated when we experience physical pain is activated when we’re rejected. In fact, because of this close connection, Tylenol has been proven to alleviate some of the intense emotions rejection can cause. Scientists believe that this connection is vestigial from our hunter/gatherer days, where if you got kicked out of the tribe, you probably wouldn’t survive very long. The tribesmen that could sense rejection more acutely were more able to correct their behavior, and thus survived longer.
Rejection also significantly lowers your IQ while you’re experiencing it, and the brain becomes completely unresponsive to reasoning. For this reason, those undergoing rejection tend to attack themselves by shredding apart their own self-esteem. It also creates a surge of anger and aggression. So, if you were dumped or treated like dirt when you went to ask someone out, you need to make sure you take the time and effort to recover before jumping back on your feet.
Although rejection might feel awful in the moment, by dealing with it right away, you can actually help you grow as a person and become more resilient. If you’re going through a break-up, it might help to make a list of all the traits you didn’t like about your ex-partner. This will help counteract the idealization of the person and the former relationship that might come hand-in-hand with rejection.
It’s important to resist the temptation to blame the failure of your relationship, first date or even pick-up line on yourself. Rejection is almost never something personal. It’s more likely to be a product of circumstance and how well-suited you and your partner/potential partner were. You can also boost your self-esteem by creating a list of positive characteristics about yourself, so that you can remind yourself that you are an important and wonderful human being. Besides hurting our self-esteem, rejection also destabilizes our need to belong. To counteract this untethered, gloomy feeling, it’s best to immediately replace the source of rejection with a different means of socializing. So if you got dumped, go hang out with your friends. Just make sure not to replace one partner with another to fill this void.
I hope you all have an amazing summer and that if rejection comes along, which it hopefully will not, you’ll be ready to treat yourself right so that you can continue to enjoy the next few stress-free months!
Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.