Rejection-Sensitive ED Episodes
Rejection SUCKS! We all know that feeling. You just took the plunge by putting yourself out there, for the job, for the relationship, for the audition, for the graduate program or the art show. You spent hours, days, weeks, months, or even years preparing and working yourself up for this next step. You very carefully gave yourself permission to be vulnerable, to put your true self out there, and to try something new. In all but just a few sentences, you get the big “No.” You didn’t get picked, and the dull aching feeling is growing in the pit of your stomach. You feel the tingling, hot shame washing over the back of your head, neck, and back as your thoughts start to race. You’re thinking to yourself, “They don’t want me,” “I don’t have what it takes,” “People don’t think I’m cool,” “Am I even supposed to be doing this?” or “I’m just not good enough.” You start to question your worth as a person and whether you deserve anything nice at all. You might start to think about how much space you’re taking up and how others are perceiving you. You may even start to think about punishing yourself for all the things you didn’t do “correctly,” including the things you ate and how you carry your body.
It’s time to normalize rejection because everyone will experience it! I will never be everyone’s cup of tea, and this was an exceptionally hard lesson learned (and still learning!) The more time I spend trying to fit everyone else’s expectations, the more fragmented of a person I become. Not everything wants the same things from me, and it is IMPOSSIBLE to fit every mold. Once you become at peace with the fact that there will ALWAYS be someone who doesn’t vibe with you, accepting this fact will set you free from having to live according to everyone else’s social prescriptions. If you are anything like I was, then you might be straight up addicted to external validation. External validation from others can feel like love and acceptance up front, but when left to your own company, you might start to spiral when you realize how disjointed your own self-worth is compared to what others are saying about you. This is a very dangerous place to be if you struggle with disordered eating.
It’s time to start actively seeking rejection! You heard right, go get turned down as many times as possible. I want you to pursue your thing with the hopes of being rejected a hundred times. Because with a hundred rejections, there’s that much more of a chance that you will get success AND it will also give more opportunities to rescue yourself from the pain and heartbreak of rejection’s emotional aftermath. After fifty rejections or so, each one will start to hurt less and less, and it will feel less personal over time. It will give you a hundred opportunities to love yourself when you feel the most unloved. It will give yourself the chance to prove yourself trustworthy to be the one to love yourself no matter what, even when it feels like no one loves you back. If you aren’t ready to get rejected a bunch, maybe start by writing yourself a pretty postcard with a love note to remind yourself that you will be there on the other side when things fall through. Being prepared for rejection is empowering when you can feel secure in your own self-love and acceptance.
Wanna feel more empowered, or at least, less overwhelmed by rejection? Jamie Campos, Level III Student Counselor, is here to support you!