Ever been rejected?
Of course you have. We all have. And doesn’t it just hurt like a… ? Well, I’ll let you insert your own expletive.
I’m not going to whine on about it, I’m not the first and I won’t be the last. Hell, in the last couple of weeks I’ve rejected somebody myself .
But no matter how many times it’s happened to us, no matter that we know that in time we’ll get over it, no matter how we try to distract ourselves… it still hurts like hell.
So I’ll go ahead and presume that we can all agree – rejection sucks. And no rejection that I’ve experienced sucks quite as bad as the rejection of divorce.
Not only is this a personal rejection – which is bad enough – it is the rejection of the shared promise that life held for you as you set out on the journey of marriage. Most painfully, it is the rejection of the family that you have built together.
Many times in the last twenty months – as I have adapted to my new life, as I have struggled through the heartache of divorce, as I have learnt to live as a single dad getting used to spending half of my life away from my children – a nagging thought has chipped its way to the forefront of my consciousness: this life was a choice. Only the choice wasn’t mine.
The pain, the heartache, the arguments, the tears, the fear, the worry, the loneliness – this was considered to be the better path. This was preferable to staying married.
It doesn’t leave you feeling too great, let me tell you. And such thoughts can cause your sense of self-worth to take quite a battering, if you let them.
So, what are you going to do about it?
Well, if you want to get through it, here’s what you’re not going to do: you’re not going to wallow in self-pity. Of course you will feel sorry for yourself, perhaps deservedly so; and yes, you will hurt, you will feel miserable, you will cry and question why the hell it had to happen. That’s OK, that’s normal, and feeling that and not trying to deny it is healthy.
But staying there, making it your default setting – not good.
Yes, somebody has hurt you, and yes, you may be on the canvas, but the last thing you want is to be the person that is responsible for tolling the ten count over your crumpled figure.
What if you were felled by a punch below the belt? What if it just wasn’t fair? What if you just can’t move forward until you understand how the rules could have been flouted so brazenly, so hurtfully? What about closure dammit?!?
It doesn’t matter.
Your relationship stubbed out like a half-smoked cigarette; you discarded like the empty packet.
Whoever it was that put you on the floor, how they did it, why they did it… it’s up to you to get yourself up again. And it’s probably best to assume that the person that put you there isn’t going to be the one that’s holding out a hand to help you.
There are always lessons to be learned; lessons about ourselves, our partners, our expectations, our boundaries. Lessons about our hopes, our fears, our mistakes and our virtues. Lessons about our worth. About our self-worth.
We can become better, wiser people in taking responsibility for our failings, in apologising and making amends where we can, in taking an honest look at ourselves and our role in our break-ups.
But in so doing we also need to remember that we are imperfect creatures and our failings, our mistakes, should not be used as sticks to beat ourselves with and to further batter our tenderised self-worth. Instead we should consider them to be guides that will help us to write better stories in the future.
And maybe sometimes we need to just accept that those that hurt and reject us are imperfect too. That they, like us, are just doing their best to find happiness in this sometimes messy, confusing world.
And if you have been rejected, if you feel about as desirable as a Betamax video recorder or a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, remember that millions of people loved them once. Hell, even Skoda became popular.
So, lick your wounds, learn your lessons and don’t give up; in the words of Pulp,
“If you try then you may get your happy ending.”
Matthew Williams, single father to two children and divorced ex-husband to an ex-wife, started the blog ‘Love, Laughter & Truth‘ in December 2015. The blog is an attempt to make sense of his rollercoaster life following depression, divorce, and his introduction to the weird – and sometimes wonderful – world of dating. He hopes that his writing will help others that find themselves dealing with similar challenges in life. You can find Matthew on his blog and follow him on Facebook & Twitter.
Image courtesy of kaboompics.com.