What “no thanks” does to your brain

I got the Frankie Magazine in the mail today. I haven’t actually sat down to read it yet, but I did a quick flick and was arrested by a pithy little article on rejection, called thanks but no thanks by Caro Cooper. How’s this for a curious little piece of science slipped in amongst the emotional descriptions and the high-brow literature:

But even running away can’t eradicate the pain. That’s because the brain uses the same neon-lit paths for rejection as it does for physical pain. And while we can’t relive the intensity of physical pain, we can relive the full force of the pain of rejection. Again and again and again. Wherever you run to, the pain comes with you. The best [worst] part of this is that while we are smarting from the rejection, our IQs are actually measurably lower. Luckily this dumbness passes — at least that’s what the scientists think.

I often take solace in quotes about rising up, soldiering on. But when I’m wallowing in rejection-fuelled self pity it’s the bleaker ones that appeal. Like this one from Chekhov: “There are still many more days of failure ahead, whole seasons of failure, things will go terribly wrong, you will have huge disappointments.” Thanks, Anton.

I can’t verify either the brain pathways or the IQ intel. But I do find that quite fascinating (refer to my earlier fascination with reading The Brain That Changes Itself). It gives a whole new meaning to the old “wounded ego”. Though it’s also a wonder I have the IQ to tie my shoelaces.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *