Self-Rejection Is Breaking Your Heart!
Updated: Oct 17
Written by Dr. Marwa Assar, PsyD
Psychologist, Educator, & Founder of The H.O.M.E Institute
Rejection is very painful.
It breaks our heart and causes significant psychological distress, and we shouldn't minimize its pain.
Infact, psychological research speaks to the fact that a broken heart from rejection can be as painful as a broken arm!
It is no coincidence that in Islam, we are taught that God is close to those whose hearts are broken.
The pain of the broken heart is not measurable but it is real.
For instance, social rejection not only is heart-breaking but it is associated with increased levels of anger, depression, and anxiety. It can have a real impact on our cognitive and even physical health!
Whether we are feeling like our voice is not heard or ignored, excluded from a group, feeling left out by our communities, or turned away by someone we love, the various forms of rejection we may experience can cause significant pain in our lives.
But the truth is, we can't really control the rejection we experience from the external world, only how we respond to it.
Knowing this as a psychologist, it made me take a deeper look into the type of rejection that we can control, a form of rejection we often overlook!
And that is the rejection we experience from our own selves!
A big part of my work over the years has been exploring the various ways self-rejection presents itself and its impact on our spiritual and psychological health.
And I have discovered that a lot of the mental, emotional, and spiritual struggles we go through is because of rejection we experience from ourselves!
We too can ignore ourselves and our inner voice. We can make ourselves feel unheard, not valued, and insignificant! We too can be breaking our own hearts.
You see, there is this whole inner world within you that is constantly relaying truths to you about what your spiritual, mental, and emotional needs are and about the most important truths that require your attention, compassion, and presence. These are the truths that exist to transform your life and your path!
But too often, we reject this inner world within us and prioritize giving our attention, compassion, and presence to the external world outside of us. Because we are driven by the illusion that the external world is the source of our happiness, peace, joy, and what will make us feel the opposite of rejection: ACCEPTANCE.
And when we do not do the work of accepting ourselves, we will constantly search for it outside of us.
We think if we can get this or that person's approval, we will be secure.
We think if we can get a certain job, we will feel good about ourselves.
Or even materially, we think if we buy this and that, we will finally have what we need to thrive and be more accepted by the world around us.
We give so much value to that which is outside of us, that we disconnect from ourselves and reject what our inner world is trying to tell us!
We ignore and suppress our inner voice that requires our attention and presence.
But like social rejection, self-rejection is also very painful, even if it is from ourselves. And more importantly, I believe that it is self-rejection that also worsens the pain we feel when we experience social rejection, for it is only reinforcing pain that already exists within us.
Self-rejection adds a spiritual, mental, and emotional burden that we keep carrying without realizing.
It keeps us in destructive cycles for months and years of our lives!
It blinds us from the great level of acceptance and validation we can give ourselves and can experience through directing our hearts to God, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.
We reject ourselves every time we say yes to something that doesn't feel right within.
We reject ourselves every time we put ourselves down.
We reject ourselves every time we suppress our emotions and true feelings.
We reject ourselves every time we laugh at an inappropriate joke that goes against our values, just to fit in.
We reject ourselves every time we say we "forgive" someone when we really haven't, just to appear "righteous."
We reject ourselves every time we try to numb our emotions with food, shopping, or anything external!
We reject ourselves every time we compromise our values to be accepted.
We reject ourselves every time we minimize the strengths and blessings God gave us to appear "humble" in front of the people.
We reject ourselves when we play small so others won't be intimidated.
We reject ourselves every time we put ourselves down or speak to ourselves in a harsh and an unloving way.
We reject ourselves when we ignore sacred self-care that prioritizes our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health needs.
You see, there are so many ways we reject ourselves.
Every time we ignore the voice within, that is rejection.
Because wouldn't you feel rejected if you spoke to someone and they ignored you?
Absolutely. We all long for a space to be held for us, for acceptance, and to be heard and to be seen.
But I think one of the hardest things in life is to accept ourselves and all that we are experiencing. We tell ourselves that acceptance means we will get comfortable and never change or improve. But that's not true. Acceptance is an ingredient of change and improvement. Without it, we actually cannot grow.
Acceptance allows us to stop denying ourselves, our truth, our internal experience, or the reality of our circumstances. Acceptance is when we simply say, "yes, this is true about me," "Yes, I think this." "Yes I feel this" "Yes I hope for this," "Yes I fear this," "Yes, I struggle with this," "Yes I went through this," or "Yes, this is the reality of what I am experiencing."
Acceptance is acknowledging the reality of something even if we don't like it, even if we want to change it. Acceptance simply allows us to lean into truth, to what is real. And we cannot experience growth in the absence of truth.
Without facing our truths, we can't deal with them, change them, or improve them if that is what we need to do to grow, heal, and be happier.
Without acceptance, we are rejecting ourselves. And when we reject ourselves, we will only walk on earth fearing the rejection and judgements of others. We will give others a power they don't deserve.
But once you accept yourself and your truth, you not only set yourself up to grow, but you also take your power back from those who don't deserve it. You liberate yourself from the opinion and judgements of others and your heart is more free and open to receive what it needs to empower your spiritual, mental, and emotional growth.
Easier said than done, I know. It takes courage to face what we do not like about ourselves, and sometimes to even embrace what we do like about ourselves. But once we can face our fears and strengthen the muscle of courage, we will recognize that the fruits to gain from practicing acceptance are worth the effort.
It is time to treat yourself as you would treat those you love. It is time to stop rejecting yourself and all that exists within you. Be present with yourself. Listen carefully to your inner voice. Be kind. Be compassionate towards what you learn about yourself. Hold a space for your inner world without judgement. And then take it to God, who will hold a greater space for you and hold the greatest form of validation and acceptance you can ever receive from His creation. Remember, He is The All-Hearing (Al-Samee3), The All-Seeing (Al-Baseer). With Him, you are always heard, seen, and never rejected.
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About the Author:
Dr. Marwa Assar is a psychologist, educator, writer, and founder of The H.O.M.E Institute. She is dedicated to providing psycho-spiritual education and empowerment through an Islamic psychological lens. She is the founder and teacher of the Sacred Self-Love Course, The God & Me Psycho-Spiritual Transformation Program, as well as other courses designed to empower you spiritually, mentally, and emotionally! Click here to learn more about Dr. Marwa and her work!
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