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The legacy of those tribal days is that even minor rejections can destabilize our ‘need to belong’, to feel as though we’re accepted and loved by our core group.To address this often unconscious pang, reach out to good friends or family members and try to see them in person.So don’t skip that crucial step and do it in your head — write. One of the theories about why rejection causes such sharp emotional pain is that in our distant past, being ostracized from our tribe was pretty much a death sentence.Consequently, we developed a mechanism to warn us of when we were at danger for being ousted from our tribe and as a result, we became exquisitely sensitive to rejection.
All this self-punishment makes you feel utterly miserable and you wonder when you became so weak, needy, or desperate.What makes rejection even more painful is that any effort to understand what went wrong can easily lead to bouts of self-criticism and self-blaming.Did they reject you because you’re not tall enough, smart enough, attractive enough, rich enough, educated enough, or hip enough? Then you start to second guess everything you did and said.You must be, otherwise you wouldn’t hurt so much, right? Here’s why: Recent studies placed people in f MRI machines (scanners that look at what happens in our brains when we’re thinking or doing something) and asked them to think about a painful and recent rejection. The same pathways in the brain became activated when people experienced a rejection as when they experienced physical pain.
In fact, the overlap was so substantial, that when researchers gave people the pain reliever Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and put them through a rejection experience, they reported feeling significantly less emotional pain than those who did not receive Tylenol.
Even if you seemed to click with the other person, the reality is, you just didn’t click enough.