You have no doubt heard the phrase (maybe you have even spoken it), “rejection hurts.” Well a recent study has concluded just how true that may be. The results, published by the National Academy of Sciences, found that the regions of the brain that respond to physical pain overlap with those that react to social rejection. Brain imaging was used in examining the 40 volunteers. What was discovered was that unwanted romantic break-ups and heat that caused pain triggered the same areas in the brain.
What is the application of this to our relationships? That rejection may be more painful than we have imagined. Certainly some situations that are rejecting in nature are unavoidable. However, there are others that create needless pain. Sometimes feelings of rejection occur, not because we are actually trying to alienate the other person, but because we are verbally harsh or emotionally distant. Frequently we are hurting so we want to strike back and zing the other person. But what kind of damage are we doing long-term? Do we really mean to cause our spouse, children, or other significant individuals physical pain? Rejection erodes intimacy, trust, and security. Is that really our intent? How much more would be accomplished in fostering love and growth in our relationships if we worked to embrace rather than reject?
There are lots of questions here, but the bigger one is – who have you rejected that you actually desire to draw closer to? How might you do that this week?