Recovery Stories

Coping with rejection

From work to relationships – coping with rejection

Rejection can be a hard fact of living whether it’s from a relationship, work or another part of life. But rejection is not necessarily a bad thing.

That’s because there’s a positive phrase to keep in mind if ever rejected – “rejection is protection”. It means that sometimes a rejection is actually for our own good. 

Consider it like this: as children sometimes we wanted to do something but the idea was rejected by our parents. It left us feeling rejected and usually dejected.

Yet if it was such as going for a bike ride alone aged eight into the middle of a busy town, we can now easily see as adults why that idea would be rejected. Quite clearly, to protect us.

Even so, rejection can be difficult to handle. It can even lead to anxiety and depression.

One reason that it can be difficult is that it actually is pain. This has been scientifically proven.

Rejection is pain

A University of Michigan study of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans discovered that rejection activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain.

“Spilling a hot cup of coffee on yourself and thinking about how rejected you feel when you look at the picture of a person that you recently experienced an unwanted break-up with may seem to elicit very different types of pain,” said University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross, lead author of the article on the research that was published in peer-reviewed journal PNAS. “But this research shows that they may be even more similar than initially thought.”

Some experts believe that the pain of rejection actually helped our ancestors survive. Rejection confounds our basic need to belong.

This is because when we were wholly dependent on being part of a group or tribe, the pain of rejection from that group kept people together because it stopped people doing things that could lead to such rejection.

Of course, our modern world is much different – and that painful feeling that rejection can give still exists. But, thankfully, there are some positive ways to deal with rejection.

Learn and grow from rejection

Learn and grow from it

There’s a mantra that’s worth remembering here: no such things as bad things – just things to learn and grow from.

While it could be discussed if that’s always the case, regarding rejection it certainly can be applied.

Someone who’s emotionally strong will ask themselves: “What did I get from this, what is this rejection telling me?”. In this way, they can learn from any rejection.

It becomes a chance to grow rather than to shrink in pain. Every rejection consequently makes them stronger.

It is as philosopher Nietzsche wrote at the end of the 1800s: “What does not kill me makes me stronger.”

With rejection, we can also look at what part we might have played in it. This is not to be harsh on ourselves, but to understand and then learn from it.

Keep uppermost in mind that self-examination like this is not at all the same thing as self-criticism. The latter will only make us feel worse – so chase away any of these self-sabotaging thoughts.

Feel your feelings

Some people will turn to drink, drugs or a behavioral addiction such as work, gambling, sex or food to deny or push down negative feelings caused by rejection. But this never means the feelings have gone away.

A much better option is to acknowledge the emotions. Attempting to deny the pain by convincing yourself it was nothing significant or by trying to mask or numb it will usually only prolong the pain.

So look at how you feel – head-on. Many people find they need help to do this from a therapist who has expertise in these matters.

Rejection is protection

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing,” said writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard.

This can also be useful when dealing with rejection when we consider that criticism is often a verbal rejection of someone or something they did. So one way to avoid rejection is to do nothing…

But of course that’s not living at all. Emotionally strong people know that a rejection shows they’re fully living life.

If someone has never been rejected you can be almost certain that they are simply living inside their safe but unexciting comfort zone. They stay there even if it’s actually become uncomfortable and boring.

The next time you’re rejected, also remember another time that you felt the pain of rejection. Yet some time afterwards we can recognize that a rejection was in fact a blessing in disguise.

That job interview led to a rejection letter for the job you really wanted at the time or that business you tried didn’t work – so it was a form of rejection. Yet the rejection was because there was a better job for you that you wouldn’t have applied for if you’d started at the first job.

Or there was a new business idea you put into plan that became a great success and you’d never have thought of it or had time to do it if the other business idea had worked out.

It’s the same with relationships. So you got rejected as a teenager, but then you met your present partner who you probably wouldn’t have got together with had the teenage you not been rejected.

Stay confident and bounce back even better

List your qualities

Speak to yourself in your mind like you would someone you deeply care about such as a friend or one of your children. Shove out that inner critic by repeating useful positive affirmations that will keep you emotionally strong.

A rejection or even series of rejections should never define who you are. You are much more than that.

Something that’s helpful is to list all your qualities. Read through them – and keep them in your mind.

Build yourself up again. Stay confident – and bounce back even better.

Our friendly experienced team has treated people with all types of mental health problems and emotional issues. Get in touch with us to have a chat about how we can help you or someone you love, starting today.

Understanding early days in recovery

Understanding early days in recovery

There is a concept known as the “hero’s journey” that nearly all Hollywood’s major movies and the world’s bestselling novels are based on. These movies and novels are so popular because they tell a story that resonates deep inside all of us.

Along with stories from centuries ago, such as some Greek myths and stories in religious books, they follow a journey that we know subconsciously we need to go on for a meaningful and contented life.

The term “hero’s journey” is attributed to professor of literature Joseph Campbell. In his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces, published in 1949, Campbell describes the template of all these stories.

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

A growing number of mental health experts are recognizing the striking similarity between the hero’s journey and recovery. In fact, it is now seen that the Twelve Steps recovery program takes people through their very own personal hero’s journey.

Be your own protective force

In this context the word “hero” is more akin to the meaning of the Greek word it derived from – meaning “protector”. That is to be someone who can look after themselves well and without harm, as well as be there for other people when they need some help.

This can be seen in movies including The Wizard Of Oz, Star Wars, Batman, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, The Matrix, Rocky, Superman and The Lord Of The Rings. The main character in all of these stories discovers the treasure that was always inside them – that is the impressive inner strength to deal with an adversity that threatens them and usually their community if not the whole world.

The main characters in films such as these strike a chord in all of us because they represent our lives when they face their greatest fears and in doing so find the hero that was always inside them. They will always have some sort of guide or mentor to help, encourage and believe in them.

Here is the undeniable connection with recovery. To find recovery and then maintain it we all need to have the strongest resolve to have the utmost courage to change something.

It usually means looking back at unresolved histories with a professional who has expertise in these matters. They will help, encourage and believe in the person who has asked for their help.

They will help them recover something – their true self, that at some point became hidden and that might have seemed lost forever.

From ordinary to extraordinary

In a hero’s journey one of the first stages is going from the potential hero’s ordinary world into an extraordinary world. Any potential hero knows deep down that where they presently are is not where they can be or need to be to know happiness and fulfill their potential on this earth.

So it is the same with recovery: someone’s ordinary world might definitely not look ordinary to most of us, but to that person it has become that way. For instance, the alcoholic drinking every day until blackout; the cocaine addict snorting lines as soon as they wake up; the workaholic who never sees his children; the sex addict in debt due to paying for sex…

It might be extremely chaotic and distressing, but this has become their ordinary world. To leave it to go into an extraordinary world – meaning somewhere extremely different – needs courage and desire.

As Stoic philosopher Seneca said: “To wish to be well is a part of becoming well.”

It is why such as a rock bottom or breakdown is frequently needed before people get well in recovery. As with the hero’s journey stories, people often reach the stage where there is nowhere else left to go.

Pema Chödrön put this clearly in her bestselling recovery book When Things Fall Apart where she wrote: “Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape.”

New discoveries during recovery process

New discoveries

No matter how they get there, when someone makes that courageous journey from their ordinary world into the extraordinary world – that could be from such as attending a Twelve Steps meeting, seeing a therapist or booking into a recovery center – what then?

If it is someone’s first time, then it will certainly seem like they have entered a strange world. There might be people like themselves there and they find identification for the first time.

There will be people there to help them, and for some people this is a first. People will listen to them about their emotional issues. For many who start recovery – even those who might have had hundreds of people under their leadership in business – it’s the first occasion they have felt listened to genuinely.

There might be some new words and phrases that are heard for the first time, and it can initially seem like learning a new language. But thankfully it is the language of recovery that’s easy to learn.

There will almost certainly be new concepts too as methods for living life on life’s terms. Discoveries will be made that often seem obvious – but that couldn’t be seen before talking to such as a therapist.

This could be, for instance, that we all have a choice over which thoughts we pay our attention to on a daily basis. Or that how we’ve always responded to certain situations is merely how we learned during childhood – but that it’s never been the best way for us or those we are around.

New realizations

Another realization that many people who start recovery make is that sometimes the support from some family members and certain friends might not be there for them as they believed it would. This is frequently due to the other person and should never put anyone off entering or continuing recovery.

There’s a recovery phrase for this: Those that matter don’t mind; and those that mind don’t matter.

It’s a useful phrase to remember – but sometimes it is not so simple. This is because at times someone in recovery might discover that their partner or a close friend does not seem to like that they are making positive changes in their life.

For instance, this could be that someone has a codependent partner who actually got something from the relationship by being the one who was always needed to pick up the pieces caused by the messiness of such as an addiction. It helped them deal with their own emptiness and was a constant distraction from their pain.

Sometimes too someone like an old drinking buddy might not want to lose their mate as an accomplice. They liked that they were always on hand to go out and get drunk with them, yet again. The fact they had a friend who drank as much as them meant their own drink problem had somewhere to hide.

By someone like this going into recovery it is as if this person then sees a mirror held up in front of them and they cannot face what they see because they do not like it. As well, perhaps they do not think another way is possible.

So they might avoid the old friend who’s making positive changes now. Or even make attempts to sabotage the relationship no matter if they have known each other since childhood.

Feeling good after recovery

New you

People in early recovery will start to realize they have more time as they are not spending so much of it on things such as an addiction or battling anxiety. Frequently people notice they have more money too – and wonder before long how they ever could have afforded such as a drink or drug addiction.

Business and work achievements will improve. Family time will increase in quality. Friendships can be rekindled. 

There are other fantastic benefits that are usually noticed in early recovery. Heads will clear, people will feel physically fitter and stronger, a sparkle will come back into their eyes, aches and pains felt for years can dwindle or cease…

Sometimes some of these things might not be noticed by the person in recovery, but they are noticed by others especially if they’ve not seen the person in early recovery for some time. Sometimes the person looking at the other who’s in early recovery cannot put their finger on it – but they sense and see something different and it’s wholly positive.

If you are in early recovery, don’t be surprised to see people looking at you with a slight sense of wonder, maybe with their head tilted, as they ponder just what it is that has changed for the better in you.

Another thing that is often felt by someone in early recovery is an inner strength either coming back – or seeming to be there for the first time in their life. Day by day they get the growing sense that they can live their life in a better way. If they had an addiction they will get to know that the balance of power is changing in their favor.

There is also the sense of finding parts of themselves they remember as being their true self. There’s a sense of familiarity about this, a return home as they recover their true self.

Everyone who has successful recovery today also had their first days in recovery – and they will tell anyone thinking about seeking help that they would not want to miss this priceless feeling of recovering their real sense of self.

Tikvah Lake’s experienced team has helped people for many years with all emotional and mental health problems. Get in touch with us today to speak in confidence about how we can help you or someone you know.

Six signs of strong emotional health

Six signs of strong emotional health

Developing emotional health takes time and dedication. It is not something that is an overnight success – but it is an essential aspect of living well.

As with most things in life, the reward corresponds to the effort put in. Because it takes time and dedication, the reward is substantial.

The first steps are to become aware of and then accept your role in changing behavior patterns that are not serving you well. This is in everyone’s own hands.

But as soon as someone accepts that they are free to choose how they respond to situations, their emotional health will start gaining strength.

Being emotionally strong means you will have learned not to give time or waste energy on negative emotions such as self-pity, excessive pride or envy.

In place of these you have room for the positive stuff in life – uplifting emotions such as hope, trust and love. You will tend to increasingly and automatically look for the positive.

You become someone who can embrace change rather than resent and fear it. You are comfortable in your ability to make choices that previously most likely would have left you procrastinating because you were full of anxiety.

Being emotionally strong means having the right tools in your emotional toolbox. You know how to use these tools – and as a result life in general gets progressively better.

Here are six major signs of strong emotional wellbeing:

1. You learn from your mistakes

Emotionally strong people may say the mantra: “There are no such things as bad things, only things to learn and grow from.”

We are all human – therefore we make mistakes. It’s totally acceptable.

By seeing mistakes as learning exercises we save ourselves from negative feelings of remorse, guilt and overwhelming anxiety. These all steal our energy.

In fact, people with the strongest emotional health, while perhaps not inviting bad things into their life, almost immediately know that everything can be learned from. This means they can continue growing.

Then, when something similar arises, they can deal with it in a much more efficient manner. It also means they are able to help other people who seek their guidance when a similar situation happens to them.

2. Recognizing when things are out of your control

A phrase often heard in recovery circles is: remember that you are powerless over other people, places and things.

But what we do always have control over is our attitude. That means we are in charge about how we react to someone or something.

It’s why the serenity prayer that’s said at many Twelve Steps meetings is so helpful to so many people. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Understanding that certain things are out of our control allows acceptance to come much more swiftly. This stops a self-imposed burden from pushing down on our shoulders.

It allows us to be emotionally healthier and stronger. This means that when things do come along that are in our control we have much more energy and clarity of mind to deal with them in the right way.

3. You have healthy boundaries

A big step in becoming emotionally strong is to have healthy boundaries. It means that you know yourself and have enough self-love and self-assuredness to set and keep these boundaries.

It is that you are comfortable enough to say no to certain requests that cross your boundary. It means you can stand up for yourself when someone is threatening your healthy boundary.

Having a healthy boundary stops someone from being a people-pleaser. It is all a part of being aware enough to choose positive patterns of behavior.

4. You live one day at a time and deal with problems as they happen

Avoiding problems that come along only allows the issues to fill up your head. By living each day at a time and staying in the now you will free your mind of yesterday’s issues and tomorrow’s worries.

It is pointless to regret the past as it won’t change a thing. Likewise, to worry about the future.

In fact worrying about the future only guarantees one thing: you will ruin the present moment due to the worrying.

Swiftly dealing with problems and putting them to bed keeps your mental and emotional filing cabinet in good order. It gives a sense of job done, and that gives priceless peace of mind.

Epictetus, one of the most influential people from the Stoic school of philosophy, said this much way back in the 3rd Century BC: “Caretake this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed. Quit evasions.

“Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.” 

5. You express gratitude

By focusing on abundance and what you have in life rather than lack and what you don’t have, you’re giving yourself emotional strength.

Daily gratitude lists – when you write down things for which you are grateful – will keep your focus on the positive things in life. These are often things taken for granted, but that we would miss if we didn’t have them.

You can include your health, your five senses, your family and friends, your home, food in the fridge, running water and even smaller things such as having a pair of trainers or a comfortable cushion that you love to put your head on to relax.

Expressing gratitude helps to keep you in the present moment too by focusing on things around you and in your life. Gratitude is very powerful towards having strong emotional health – and such as depression and anxiety cannot exist alongside gratitude.

6. Letting go of your resentments

By quickly being able to recognize a resentment and dealing with it you will boost your emotional strength. You remove the power a resentment usually holds over you – and so can swiftly get on with your life.

Strongly connected with this is forgiveness. People who have strong emotional health know that forgiveness, while also good for the world around, is amazingly positive for themselves.

Frequently, when we have a resentment against someone, that person cannot feel a thing, and yet we go on feeling terrible or consumed with anger as we think about them. We are hurting ourselves.

It’s been said to be the equivalent of drinking poison, and then waiting for the person we resent to die…

So not having – or swiftly letting go – of any resentments, and then forgiving gives an immense boost to our emotional health.

Our expert team has decades of combined experience in helping people achieve strong emotional health and wellbeing. If need be, we can also initially guide people to achieve emotional rehabilitation.

Discover how we can help you or someone you care about by contacting us today.

Top six benefits of recovery

Top six benefits of recovery

Recovery is a journey that goes in many distinct ways for different people.

It’s true that as with many things – such as playing an instrument or going to the gym – the more you put in, the more you benefit.

But when it comes to recovery, the starting point for people is frequently a different one. Some people have more to mend than others.

Some people have gone even further down, their rock bottom looks much worse.

Then, in addition to whatever the mental health problem is, it also depends on such as how much needs to be unlearned or newly learned. Another factor to consider is the sensitivity of the person themselves.

The word “recovery” actually derives from Latin recuperare meaning “get again”. This means returning to a way of being before such as addiction, depression, stress or anxiety took hold.

But many people who get into recovery realize that while all types of mental illnesses usually get progressively worse unless treated – so too recovery gets progressively better.  This is so long as what has helped move them into recovery continues to be worked.

Many people then come to realize that there’s something so much more on offer in recovery…

Here are six major benefits of recovery:

1. Improved sleep

For a great number of people the first improvement around sleep is that they actually start to get some sleep at all. As problems from the past and present are resolved sleep will get increasingly regular and better.

Part of recovery can involve dealing with anything that has been affecting peace of mind. This will only aid and enhance sleep.

Also, for those who’ve been addicted to alcohol or drugs they will come to see that what they thought was sleeping was more like “passing out”. Consequently they will awake much more refreshed.

When we are tired we are more prone to be irritable and not make the best decisions and choices. So there are immense benefits all round – and these can come swiftly for someone who starts recovery.

2. Boosted energy

One of the other benefits of regular and better sleep is that there will be much more energy. This is also combined with a clearer head.

So decision-making skills are much better. The result is there is less stress in daily living.

It also means we can put much more into life. This is whether it is from parenting or studying to working or playing sports.

3. Better health

Having regular decent sleep also means we are healthier. It means that we are less likely to catch such as a virus, but it also means if we do get ill we are stronger to recover, usually much more swiftly too.

Of course this is combined with the fact that if someone is drinking excessively or addicted to drugs they are most likely damaging themselves physically as well as emotionally. Then, being trapped in a behavioral addiction often means not eating well and/or properly.

Mental health conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety mean that people suffering from them do not or cannot look after themselves well. Meals will be skipped or unhealthy quick-fix food eaten instead of regular healthy meals.

Being in recovery means learning again how to take care of ourselves, and knowing we are worth that.

4. Increased time

One of the first things that many people who start recovery realize is that they have more time. This is because such as an addiction is not taking up their time in planning what and when to get it, then the using and/or drinking and then the getting over that – such as struggling with a hangover.

A regular part of getting over it is there’s often a great deal of time spent in trying to pick up the pieces caused by certain behaviors while using and/or drinking. 

In recovery, mornings are not spent in trying to merely survive them or repair damages caused; and afternoons are not wasted in planning the next session. Then the evenings are not about getting intoxicated.

With this increased time that comes with recovery, it means more time for not only recovery – but also many things that have often been neglected such as spending quality time with family and friends.

Life gets narrower when suffering with mental health problems. On the other side of that, life gets more varied and enjoyable in recovery –  with, for instance, old hobbies regained and new hobbies discovered.

5. More money

When people get into recovery, a great many look back and wonder… how they could ever have afforded to be so unwell with such as an addiction or debilitating anxiety and depression that meant they couldn’t work.

For those who drank alcohol addictively or who used drugs or were addicted to such as gambling, shopping and sex addictions, they will realize just how much of their money went on their damaging habits.

So as well as saving money that might previously have been spent on, say, drink, drugs or gambling, there’s also a boost to earning abilities. This is as people gain more time and get fully back into employment and running businesses that their mental health problems had limited or stopped.

6. Discover who you’re meant to be

So long as recovery is worked at it gets progressively better. This means to keep doing the things that help with recovery and growth.

Many people discover that recovery leads them to a way of living that is infinitely better. But also that the best recovery of all is when we once again become who we know we’re truly meant to be.

This gives a peace of mind that is priceless.

If anyone puts the necessary recovery work in with honesty, humility, courage, dedication and an open mind – combined with the support of a therapist as well as perhaps others in recovery – they will gain these major benefits.

In addition, there can be spiritual growth that gives many people’s lives a whole new meaning. There is more connection with other people, which means all relationships will improve.

Many people also learn how to keep life more in the present moment. This means they’re not trapped in their thoughts with regrets for the past and worries for the future.

Then they are much more likely to notice the beauty around them. That is in other people as well as in nature.

An immense recovery benefit is being able to value and love yourself, to care for and treat yourself well. Most people will naturally exercise more and make sure they eat healthily.

Many people in recovery talk about starting to feel lucky rather than always being unlucky. This is much to do with how we look at life: whether we focus on the negative or the positive.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts,” said the Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius.

Life increasingly gets more meaning. As psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote about in one of the world’s bestselling recovery books Man’s Search For Meaning – when we find our meaning it leads to our happiness.

It certainly takes courage to seek help. But the results can be absolutely remarkable for someone who seeks help – and for everybody around them as well.

Our expert team has many decades of experience in treating people with all mental health problems. We listen carefully before offering proven successful treatments that are individualized for each of our guests.

Our luxury home is in an inspirational natural setting beside a tranquil lake. It is perfect for recovery.

Contact us today for a confidential chat to find out how we can help you or someone you love get into recovery.

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