When They Don't Love You Back

I can’t seem to go more than a few days without seeing Moxie somewhere around campus. Inevitably, his little shadow of a body will enter my view, and my heart will skip a beat—I have to pet him! But whenever I walk up to give him a good backrub, he scampers away. He doesn't want my love, and even though I know he’s a cat and cats can be fickle, it hurts anyways. Especially when I see him resting on someone’s lap, or purring against their leg. What’s so much better about that human than me, I wonder? 

Ah...rejection. We all know it. 

Kelly Sikkema

There are many ways to be rejected. For instance, one may be rejected from a job. When this happens, it is easy to feel as if one is lacking in skills or expertise. If the job applied for is in a subject or field one has worked very hard in, this can be especially difficult. For example, due to the finicky nature of the pharmaceutical industry, my dad was often changing jobs, causing us to move states a couple of times. In this case, my dad reminded me, the reason for his rejection was not him, but the profession he is in. When dealing with rejection, it’s important to remember that it’s often not you, and there are greater forces out of your control at play. Also, in terms of a job or related opportunity, it is important to persevere. Odds are, if you work hard, you will eventually succeed. 

Rejection also comes with relationships (in friendships or in something more). Of course, this is often more difficult than the circumstance above. This is personal. Personal in an “I don’t really like you as a person” sort of way. In terms of friendship, friends can outright ignore you or be jerks to you. Sometimes you can try to become someone’s friend and get rejected. In a romantic entanglement, it can be very hard to deal with rejection. I know many women will dissect their physical appearance, wondering if they aren’t pretty enough. Men will often do the same. It is important to remember that rejection in these cases can be okay. Not everyone is fit for each other, and beyond that, if someone outright rejects you in a careless way without explanation, then maybe you don’t want to be their friend or significant other. 

I’ll be honest, rejection is very hard for me. I do not take it well, and I know a lot of people feel the same way. When I am rejected, my heart stammers, and I turn on myself. I start to pick out my flaws and think of what I could do better. My thoughts race, and ultimately, I’m left defeated. This, of course, isn’t good. In fact, it’s very bad for my mental health. I wish there was an easy fix, but like so many things in life, there isn’t. You have to try to remember the things I’ve said above, and ultimately, you have to put yourself out there even with the chance of rejection. It’s scary—and something I have trouble doing--but something I, and I think everyone, should work on. 

Also, it’s okay to feel pain at being rejected. Let yourself feel those emotions—they’re natural. Let yourself feel it. Time really does heal everything. 

Girl jumping with red heart balloon