Have you wondered how to overcome fear of rejection? Perhaps this fear has been stopping you in your tracks. Preventing you from making new friends, forming intimate relationships or gaining career advancement.
The fear of rejection is an irrational fear that people won’t accept, approve or like you. It’s the idea that other people won’t like your opinions, looks, personality, values, beliefs or behavior.
Many of us develop this fear of rejection in childhood. When you did good things, your parents gave you love and attention. Do something wrong and your parents tell you off or send you to your bedroom. As a result, you associate a bad feeling to your parents telling you off when you do something wrong.
However, this fear of rejection may go back even further to a time when humans lived in tribes. To live and survive, it was necessary to stay within a tribe. If the tribe rejected you, then you would need to fend for yourself and could potentially die of starvation. So, as a result, a fear of rejection has become part of our survival mechanism.
The main areas where people come across a fear of rejection are career, friendships, and intimate relationships. It happens when you think about other people in a negative way. This could be thinking that other people believe that you can’t achieve your dreams. Or it could be a feeling that you’re not worthwhile to others. Feelings of low self-esteem and thoughts of not being intelligent, talented or smart enough can also be apparent.
Let go of the belief that you will always be rejected
If you believe that whenever you approach someone that they will reject you then it’s much more likely to happen! You will give off an energy and an unconscious negative signal that will come across in your body language. This will push people away, so they’re more likely to reject you. Unfortunately, when this happens, a belief strengthens in your mind that you will always be rejected, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
So instead, look at the facts. According to Brendon Burchard, an average of five to seven people will seriously hurt your feelings in your lifetime. Many thousands of other people that you interact with go well or at least okay. So realize that your chance of getting badly rejected is actually very very small.
Reduce the meaning of your rejection
Every famous person, especially musicians, novelists, and artists were rejected many times. It was simply part of their journey to success. A key step in learning how to overcome fear of rejection is to reduce the meaning of rejection and be aware of any all or nothing or black and white thinking. For example, “If I don’t get this job or meet this particular person, then my life is over” is a good example of all or nothing thinking.
To change this type of thinking, broaden the goal. For example, “You know, it’s not so much about the job, it’s more about going to work and feeling happy, fulfilled and energized, regardless of what the job is”. By broadening the goal, you make rejection less meaningful.
I also suggest separating any feelings of rejection from your overall sense of self-worth and self-love. You can do this by eliminating the word rejection from your vocabulary. Brendon Burchard found that people that don’t have an issue with rejection rarely use that word!
Know what you want along with reasons and benefits
Knowing what you want is a key step in understanding how to overcome fear of rejection. When you really know what you want, your motivation and desire will be much higher than the pain of the rejection. You will then be much more likely to do it. Ask yourself questions like:
What do I want from this person?
Why is talking to this person important to me?
How will talking to this person benefit me?
Also, ask yourself how much will I suffer if I don’t overcome my fear of rejection? This question is confronting and will create more pain. For some people, this will give them the “kick up the backside” to change.
Face your fear of rejection head on
Right now, think about a situation where you have a fear of rejection. Notice the negative thoughts and feelings that come up. Those negative thoughts and feelings are a big part of any fear and prevent you from taking action.
However, when you don’t take action, you reinforce the negative thoughts and strengthen the fear. So instead you want to face the fear and act! Take action regardless of those negative thoughts and feelings. Take small steps outside of your comfort zone, knowing that you might get rejected, but understanding that this is just a temporary feeling.
It’s much better to be rejected than face a feeling of regret or the fear of missing out. Rejection is temporary and leads to positive change. Lose out on the opportunity and the regret of missing out is permanent.
Imagine how you want the situation to go
Visualize how you want the situation with other people to go. In your mind, notice yourself feeling and acting differently. Notice people responding positively to you. See yourself looking calm, in control and relaxed. Imagine seeing yourself on a large TV screen doing all these things in a very positive, self-assured, and calm way. Then jump into the TV screen, and imagine yourself seeing it all through your own eyes.
if you’re wondering how to overcome fear of rejection, then practice visualizing and notice how this replaces this fear with confidence.
Explore where your feeling of rejection came from
Earlier in this article, I mentioned that most people are rejected badly five to seven times in their life. You may remember some of these times or not. Here is a wonderful exercise that can help you neutralize unpleasant rejection experiences from the past.
Find a comfortable place, close your eyes and allow your mind to take you back to times when you’ve been rejected in the past, especially when you were younger and smaller. However, as you do this, take the present you with you.
When a rejection situation comes to mind, get a really good sense of what it is, so that you can feel the feelings inside. Then imagine the present adult you telling that younger you that everything is okay, that you’re fine, you’re parents/teachers etc were having a bad day and it wasn’t really about you. Doing this will help you change your beliefs about these past situations and neutralize the emotions.
Remember that the person that rejects you can lose out as well.
You take a risk by asking someone, but the other person also takes a risk by saying “Yes” or “No”. By saying “No” they could be missing out on a wonderful new employee, a loving and caring partner, or an honest new friend. Also, the other person might say “No” because they are having a bad day, or are in a bad mood.
Be less of a people pleaser
If you find it hard to say no to other people’s requests, especially when they seem unreasonable, then practice saying no to these requests. This helps you respect your own needs and boosts your self-confidence as well. You will also understand the reasons why other people say “No” to you, because you’re reasons for saying “No” will be similar to other peoples.
Focus on the Positive Outcome
A great way of learning how to overcome fear of rejection is to focus on the positive outcome. Any thoughts of being rejected or failing are no more true than the opposite thoughts of being accepted and successful. However, the positive thoughts will help you feel better inside. When you feel better, you act more confidently and the other person will notice that.
Remember that being rejected is not the end of the world
Ask yourself, if I was rejected in this situation, what would be the worst thing that would happen? Consider the worst case scenario and how you would deal with it. Answer any “What If” questions and create plans and contingencies to deal with the worst case scenario. Once you do this, the fear will reduce and you can act more successfully
Most people come up with “What If” questions such as “what if I lose my job?” or “what if my boss refuses my request for a pay rise?” but never answer them. Possible answers to the pay rise what if questions could be the following:
- I can find a way to live with less money.
- I could get a part time job that will earn me some more money.
- I can look for a full time job that pays more money.
If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below. I would love to hear what you think!