When rejected, we yogis and yoginis tend to chalk it up to something else coming our way; usually, that something is bigger and better than what we didn’t get. This makes us feel good about the rejection and that it served a purpose because, ouch, it hurts.
The thousand no’s we get before a yes; the unrequited love; the job or application or audition we botched. Every dream and desire you’ve ever voiced, not knowing whether it will be met with ridicule or joy, is a contender for rejection.
We say, “I didn’t really want it anyway.”
But what if we did? Like dogs with their tails tucked, how easily we change our story when we don’t get what we want.
You know what’s more maddening than someone else rejecting you?
You rejecting yourself.
What rejection does to your body
You probably do it more than you know. Rejecting yourself is the negative self-talk: the I can’ts and I’m not good enoughs.
It’s when you see a beautiful person and compare your own beauty, or wish you were more like your yoga teacher who effortlessly bends into the postures you’ve spent months and years working up to.
Here’s why self-rejection is even more insidious than the job you didn’t get (even though we both know you were perfect.)
Being rejected causes a physiological stir regardless of whether you did or didn’t want whatever (or whomever) it was that rejected you.
Studies show that our parasympathetic nervous system — the same one we’re activating through yoga — slows down our heart rate. We feel momentarily dazed, as if moving in slow motion.
Simply anticipating bad news can cause this feeling of heartbreak, according to Psychology Today. It’s no wonder that we get extremely nervous when what we want isn’t a sure thing yet.
Break the cycle of self heartbreak
It’s sad to think that we physically break our own hearts more times than anyone else ever will. We don’t often notice it. Instead, catalogue our lives by the big rejections that seem so outside of us: the schools we never got into; the resumes unanswered; the people who stopped loving us.
This is why it’s so easy to take rejection personally, especially if you’re not used to it. We’re used to talking down to ourselves. Why would we expect others to treat us differently?
When you’re judged or evaluated on an external level, it’s imperative that you keep your inner value high no matter the outcome.
So rather than becoming overwhelmed with all the things you are not and wish you were, the next time you experience rejection, recognize that it might have just been a bad day.
At first, it’s tempting to blame a process or another person for your rejection. The deck may have been stacked against you, but you were still a player. Accepting accountability for the portions you owned can help you realize that you did the best you could with what you had.
This is important: There is no fundamental problem with you.
Not taking rejection personally starts by being kinder to yourself.
And then go ahead and tell yourself you didn’t really want it anyway… because something bigger and better is coming.
Try it: Goddess Pose, Utkata Konasana
This pose is perfect for learning to take a stand and hold your ground after rejection. (Dudes, don’t be fooled by the name! It’s for you, too.) The arm variation I’ve chosen allows you to focus solely on your legs and hips, though pressing the palms gently together at the heart can remind you that your self-worth and self-rejection originate from the same place. Choose your focus wisely.
- Step your legs about three feet apart facing the long side of your mat. Turn your toes out.
- Bring hands to your hips and sink into a squat, engaging the full length of your legs. Adjust your feet as needed so your ankles are below your knees. Track your knees toward the middle of your toes to open the hips.
- Bring attention to your torso and strive to keep the spine upright, lengthening the tailbone down to the ground and moving the navel in toward your spine. Bring the hands to heart center.
- Stay for four to six deep breaths, feeling tall on your inhales and deepening the squat on your exhales. Commit to sticking out a specific breath count in Goddess Pose, even when your legs shake and your mind says to stop. You might experiment with lifting the heels of one or both feet.
- To come out of the pose, inhale and straighten the legs to stand. Step your legs together and observe the sensations of standing your ground.