Wired for Connection

Everyone can think back to a time when heartbreak, embarrassment, rejection was particularly painful. Did you ever wonder why it was so painful?

Naomi Eisenberger talks about the social connections to pain and rejection. In her research she has found that the  pain receptors that light up in the brain when there is physical pain, like that of a broken bone, are the same receptors that light up when there is rejection.

People usually describe their emotional pain as if it were physical pain-“felt like I was kicked in the stomach”  “I was so crushed”

If you want to know some more about it, this is a 20 minute interview where she describes the neural basis for the pain of rejection being valid.


Her research is another validation towards the belief that humans are wired for connection. When a person feels isolated, rejected, lonely, and separated, they feel disconnected to their core self and to  those around them. The experience results in pain.

Knowing that emotional pain can be similar to physical pain hopefully allows people to recognize that when someone is feeling rejected they need compassion, support and time to recover. Perhaps the person experiencing the pain of rejection will allow themselves some time to heal and practice self compassion.



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