The memories came rushing back, but they were bittersweet this time.

It had lost its sparkle, even though I was holding it up against the sunlight that was streaming through my room. The joy I once associated with it had turned into numbness, but if I focused really intensely, I could call up the heartbreak and rejection.

“Humph,” I said, as I closed the little gray box. It still made a squeaky sound before it slammed shut. This time, though, instead of nestling it back in the keepsake box I hid under my bed, I tossed it on my dresser.

I had decided to give my engagement ring away to a friend who needed some extra money. She could sell it, pawn it, melt it, do whatever the heck she wanted to with it. After four years of holding on to these memories, I was ready to let it all go.

At that moment, I knew that I was ready to bounce back from rejection. Ironically, what drove me to purge my life of this symbol of a broken engagement was another failed relationship.

Rejection is hard. But it’s a part of the process of falling in love.

I’ve spoken to many people lately, both men and women, who have revealed they are struggling with rejection. “I guess I was born to be single,” they say. “I’m tired of putting my heart out there, only to be disappointed over and over. It’s just not worth it”

I understand. But ponder this:

If you had food poisoning at a restaurant, you wouldn’t swear off food for the rest of your life, would you? You’d just choose a better restaurant next time.

So why are you swearing off love after a bad experience?

If you’re not ready to get your heart broken, you’re not ready for love. Seriously. Even in a marriage, rejection happens. The husband feels it when his wife doesn’t initiate s*x. The wife feels it when her husband doesn’t listen to her. There are so many ways we feel rejected by the people we want to be close to.

To bounce back from rejection, you need the right mindset and a little help from friends.

1) Find an advocate. When you’re at your lowest point, you need a friend to text you and say, “You are worth loving.”

2) Keep a “note to self” in your pocket, reminding yourself of 3 great things you love about yourself.

3) Give yourself permission to do whatever it takes to get over the rejection (unless, of course it involves slashing tires. Seriously, I wanted to do that to an ex!)

4) Tell yourself you are willing to have your heart broken in order to find love. If you’re not, you’ll become guarded and defensive and will stay stuck.

Most importantly, understand that you are already accepted by God. Let your heart soak in His unconditional love for you and you’ll bounce back from rejection every time!