“myoSINcerely” is part of a science-led series where I talk about cool science stuff and relate it to situations or experiences I’ve been in. Maybe you’ll learn something you didn’t before, I know writing posts for this series always teaches me cool things! 😉
“Y’know I have a torn rotator cuff, a hairline fracture in my right forearm, and a severely bruised Adam’s Apple, but that really hurt.” – Pete Becker (The One With The Ultimate Fighting Champion) *
The other day, I was catching up with one of my girlfriends which was so refreshing because ever since school it’s been hard to arrange some time to meet up or even have time in the day to talk. I decided to take a few days break to celebrate surviving another term and the start of Easter. Although I didn’t meet up with my friend, we still managed to snatch like a few hours catching up on the phone, messaging and countless Snapchats.?
Thank you Snapchat for bringing creative ways to interact with my friends who are miles away with the use of filters, conversations have definitely become much more dramatic!
So one of the conversations we were having was on the topic of rejection
Ah, rejection, a daily occurrence for everyone through various means – jobs, applications, social relationships, my sister rejecting my request of the last Ferrero Rocher… Usually, along with rejection is a string of feelings that I always questioned the existence of. Why do I have to feel upset over it, it’s over (she’s already eaten it) why do I then have to feel this longing so much that it’s in my thoughts every second of the day? (you know what would make my day better? A FERRERO ROCHER!)
Why does rejection suck?
- Because it hurts. Literally.
Neurologists have found specific areas of the brain through fMRI scans that are associated with rejection. Namely, these are:
- Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC)
- Ventral anterior cingulate cortex (vACC)
- Anterior insula
- Subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (subACC)
Both the dACC and anterior insula are regions that are associated with physical pain. In a study conducted by Carrie L. Masten et al1, they found that the subACC is much more active in relation to even greater distress.
- Because of the associated feelings that come with rejection.
Emotions such as unhappiness, loneliness, embarrassment, disappointments all come hand picked with rejection.
Several theorists have speculated due to the strong emotions that are provoked during and after, rejection must have an important adaptive role in human evolution.3
- You get rejected
- Motivational response to do something that makes one feel valued and accepted (the emotion’s action tendency)
- An example I can think of is talking to someone about the experience because letting it all out promotes acceptance and belonging which are both a fundamental aspect of human nature.
Why is there a longing feeling after rejection?
There is actually no “real” reason why we long for a person after getting rejected (hurry up researchers, I want to know how to stop this habit!) As I told my friend, it’s always such an unhealthy cycle of rejection, becoming much more attracted to the rejecter, trying again, rejection again, attracted to them again… Aren’t human emotions super odd?
Getting over it
Won’t let ‘em hurt cha
Our guardian angel is a little opioid system2 that is known to alleviate physical pain, also acts in the frontline to fight rejection and social distress; promoting emotional well-being. When faced with rejection, mu-opioid receptors availability increases thus more opioids can bind to these super compatible receptors, acting as a shield to make it hurt just a bit less.
I bet you know who to send your next thank you card to; ah Science!
Over the years, I’ve always viewed rejection as negative and something I try to steer as far away from as possible but it is impossible to never get rejected ever, right? I’m talking about applications, jobs and especially social relationships. Growing up has made me glad that I’ve been rejected a few times because all the experiences have indeed opened new doors to new opportunities.
I’m not saying getting rejected gets easier because it doesn’t4, as my friend and I were saying, every rejection hurts as much as the last (in social situations) and disappointments and the other feelings will always come wash over after but at least, we have the opioid system watching over us, right?
- How do you get over getting rejected?
- Did you know about this super cool opioid system?
- Also: I have a new layout, using the skills gained from the weekly coding classes I took, I’m pretty chuffed with it!?