Most of us can handle physical pain, but when it comes to rejection or disapproval, it is often another story. Today, let’s talk more about handling psychological pain.

Most of us deal pretty well with the physical lumps and bumps of life. Even though we dislike them, we bear our falls, illnesses, broken bones, surgeries and the like with relative grace. However, when it comes to psychological hurts, like disapproval or rejection, we often behave like frightened children, or we seal ourselves away in isolation.

Now, on an intellectual level, we all know we can’t go through life without periodic disapproval or rejection. But the time when rejection’s sting becomes unbearable is when it joins our own self-rejection. Surely, closeness means hurt from time to time, but the hurt is less deep and less lasting when you basically affirm yourself. That is why it is so important for us to behave in ways that build our self-image and self-esteem. It is also why our relationships improve when we begin to feel better about ourselves.

To be fully alive is to be willing to risk pain and failure. To enter into a close relationship is to make one’s true self vulnerable. But, if we don’t take these risks, the alternative is loneliness and isolation, and a life half-lived.

So, if your goal is to enjoy happier, more fulfilling relationships with others, pay attention to the relationship with yourself. It is the foundation upon which we all build our relationships with others.

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