Been there; done that; and still doing it.
The fear of rejection is the conviction that others won’t accept or approve of us— for some reason. A crippling feeling that can cause one to become agitated, depressed, and even anxious. It often emanates from the fear of experiencing pain or hurt.
Say, the feeling of anxiety during an interview. It could be from an intense worry about the session’s outcome or a battle against imposter syndrome. Thinking that you are not good enough and taking rejection as a confirmation of this belief.
In relationships, this fear manifests by choosing to play it safe instead of being our true selves. Putting up walls rather than letting people in or getting out before one gets rejected. As John Amodeo Ph.D., MFT puts it, we are afraid that rejection will confirm our fears. That we are not worthy of love.
Our fear of rejection can lead to losing everything that we fear to lose. All hope is not lost, though. The first step to healing is acknowledging this fear:
Every time I have to publish an article, I have to push myself to do it. Yes, procrastination plays a significant role, but fear is the biggest of all. It’s easier to blame KPLC for a power blackout than work on the idea (especially one that may be controversial): putting the blame of inaction on others instead of facing my fears head-on.
Recognizing Fear of Rejection
The fear of rejection can creep up at the most unexpected times. It often hides behind a veil of excuses.
Assess yourself against the symptoms below by IQ Matrix :
- Are you always bothered by what people think of you?
- Do you find it difficult to say no, even when you need to?
- When interacting with other people, is it hard to voice a contradicting opinion from the shared beliefs?
- Are you not assertive?
- Do you continuously desire to appear or act like others?
- Do you hold some people superior to you?
How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection
While fear can keep us alert and safe, too much fear holds us back from trying new things. The fear of rejection can lead to being clingy and insecure in relationships. Misreading words, actions, and even looks. One may see them as an upcoming rejection: when they aren’t
It makes us continually seek reassurance from other people, rather than within us. How then does one regain confidence in themself?
- Learn to Deal with It
Our emotions and physical state affect our cognitive function—perception, reasoning, memory, and judgment. That’s why one may find themself mad at the whole world just because of one person’s actions.
In the face of rejection, it’s essential to be calm and act rationally. Try to remember that rejection happens to everybody, even if it may seem like you are always on the receiving end.
Once you acknowledge the possibility of rejection, the blow from it wouldn’t be as “traumatic” if you hadn’t.
Healing also involves embracing the emotions that arise from rejection.
2. Gain Clarity
When we fear rejection, we often put up imaginary obstacles—I always take refuge in not wanting to have an online presence when I need to publish a new post. After all, the world keeps spinning whether I post or not. So, why bother?
To face your fears, you need to understand its cause: delve deeper into your actions. What behavior(s) do you indulge in that prompts the fear?—And find ways to work through it.
Be honest with yourself and purpose to change.
3. Constructive Imagination
Use your imagination to rehearse acting or feeling differently in the face of rejection. It will help you change the way you respond to it.
Know that you will still survive even if someone leaves you for another; a regret mail from a potential employer doesn’t mean that your prospects of earning a substantial income are doomed.
Ignore your past investment. It is gone. Breathe through your doubts.
4. Turn it into strength
You can turn your fear into a source of power. Not that you have less fear, but you don’t allow it to control you and your actions.
Carry out the task that it’s keeping you from performing. See it through. Ignore the imaginary obstacles that are forming in your mind.
It is time to take the driver’s seat in your life— in the areas you can. Don’t let your fear of rejection keep you from submitting your application or executing that idea you’ve been contemplating.
Just because they said no, doesn’t mean that you are less worthy. You’ve got to believe in yourself.
Also, train yourself to distrust your opinion, especially when you presume to know something—you probably don’t.