When I was about 16 years old I had developed a huge fear of rejection. This was mainly of getting rejected by the opposite sex. Well, this is where it was the most evident, but I experienced it in almost all other areas of my life.
I was afraid of meeting new people in general. When someone new was introduced to me the anxiety would pump through my veins. I was anxious to undertake new things. I didn’t enjoy going out anymore and I was basically miserable most of the time.
I thought that if I would get rejected the whole world would know about it. That they would laugh at me and lose respect for me.
Now, years later, having done just about anything possible to get over this, I am free of the fear of rejection. This has taken me a long, long time. But it’s a great feeling and it has given the immense freedom to live the life I want.
In the article below I will tell you about what fear of rejection does to you and your life and I provide you with strategies to overcome it. Read on.
What Is Fear Of Rejection And How Is It Damaging Your Life
Fear of rejection is an irrational belief that no one will accept you for the person you are, what you stand for and how you behave.
It can come from being rejected in early childhood and many other things. But it definitely comes from being rejected in life many times.
There is something more important than where the fear comes from though. And that is how to overcome that fear of course!
Because that fear is causing you to live a less happy, more restricted life!
Here are some of the negative effects of the fear of getting rejected:
Fear of rejection…
- Causes you to put more importance on what other people think of you than your own opinion of yourself. This puts other people in charge of your emotions. Other people can “push your buttons”.
- Causes you to act cautious out of a fear of saying or doing something “wrong”. You are constantly “walking on eggshells”. You withhold your true feelings and opinions out of this almost continuous fear of not being accepted and respected.
- Causes you to look for reassurance in other people, seeking their approval. You fear their disapproval of you as a person. This drains other people’s energy and chases them away from you.
- Can cause you to act needy and jealous in relationships. Driving the other party away from you.
- Can cause you to want to be in a relationship too fast, looking for security. Same thing, it pushes the person away from you.
- Can cause you to reject others out of the fear of being rejected yourself.
- Can cause you to constantly try to fit in to society’s norms and standards. You want to blend in and are afraid of being unique.
Strategies In Overcoming Your Fear Of Rejection
- Focus on the benefitsInstead of being fearful of the rejection, focus on the benefits that you will get from pushing through your fear.
Focus on that job, the date with that hottie or hunk or the possible new friend. Your mind can basically only focus on one thing at a time. So choose that one thing wisely.
- Don’t beat yourself up after a rejection
OK, you decide to be courageous and go for it. Now if you do get rejected, be very proud of yourself!
You just distinguished yourself from the majority of people. Most people sink in acceptance with the unhappy life they are living. You instead are going for what you want! Awesome! And even though the result wasn’t favorable, you did it!
- Set your qualifications and disqualifications in advance
If you are asking someone for a date, set some qualifications for yourself. The person you want to date must for example be a friendly person. And he or she cannot be someone that lies.
If you are going for that job interview, you for example want a specific salary. And you don’t accept anything lower. And you want a specific amount of free days…
Don’t settle for anything less than your requirements!
By doing this you decrease your fear of rejection. After all you are now qualifying them as well as they are qualifying you!
- You can’t lose what you don’t have
Let’s get real here. Before you go on a job interview, do you already have the job? Before you ask a person out on a date, do you already have the date?
No, you don’t…
So there is no real tangible downside to getting rejected here! The only thing that can happen is that you do not get what you wanted. But you can get what you do want. You can only win. You have nothing to lose!
- Know a classy way to get out of rejection
When you get “rejected”, make sure you have a classy way of excusing yourself. This makes you feel a bit more at ease because you won’t lose much face as you are showing your maturity as a last thing you say.
To stay with the example of the date request, say for example:
“OK, nice meeting you anyway, have a nice day”
Or when it is someone you’ve known for longer..
“All right Sally/Stephen, I understand. See you around.
Or when you get rejected after the job interview…
“OK, I understand, thank you for considering me as a candidate. Would you mind telling me what I could have done better so I can improve on my next job interview?”
- Don’t take it personal
If you get rejected by someone you have known for quite a while a rejection is a blow to your ego. Although this might be the case, try to see it in perspective.
You are not attracted to all of your friends either, right? You are just not his/her specific type. And that is OK. Accept it and move on.
When you get rejected by someone new, realize that it is not your personality that is getting rejected. It’s not you as a person, but your approach. After all, they barely know you!
- Accept rejection
Getting rejected is inevitable in life. It will happen. If you accept this as a fact and decide to go for it anyway you become more powerful.
“What you resist persists, what you accept you gain power over”
- Change what rejection means to you
Us human beings make meaning out of the things that happen to us. But, nothing in life has any real meaning, only the meaning YOU give it.
So if rejection to you currently means that you are unworthy and a loser, this results in an intense fear of rejection.
If you change that meaning in your mind to something more productive you reduce the fear and you are more prone to take action. My suggestion would be to change the meaning of getting “rejected” to the following:
“I did not get the outcome that I wanted. Fine. This does not say anything about my worth as a person, but rather about my approach to what I wanted to get.
This very valuable information that I have received and I can now use this to my advantage. I now know how not to do this! One step closer to how I should do it next time.”
“It is not rejection itself that people fear, it is the possible consequences of rejection.
Preparing to accept those consequences and viewing rejection as a learning experience that will bring you closer to success, will not only help you to conquer the fear of rejection, but help you to appreciate rejection itself.”
- Get yourself purposely rejected
This one is probably the fastest way to make a leap in getting over your fear of rejection. However, if you are suffering from an intense social phobia, I do NOT recommend this.
This is for people that have some social anxiety and can safely push themselves.
I did this myself years back and I made huge progress.
I asked a friend to join me for an experiment as we went to the city. The intention was to get rejected 20 times. I had to say some line to a woman or group of women that would definitely get me rejected.
Since I had a big ego my friend being there was enough for me to push through my fear.
If this is not the case for you, use some leverage
The first approach I was sweating like crazy and the woman just ignored me and ran off. The next few ones either laughed at me or thought I was kidding. One group of girls actually thought they where on some sort of MTV show..
After the first 10 rejections I took a brake. I reflected and realized I felt more comfortable doing this. No way near enjoyable yet, but it became bearable. Sweat didn’t break out anymore. I didn’t blush so obviously anymore as the first approaches.
On the 12th or 13th approach my buddy told me to go into a really fancy shop where there were a lot of people. I absolutely did not want to go into that shop.
My buddy told me that I instructed him to push him. After about a minute or so I said to myself “The hell with it, I‘m doing this.”
As soon as I made the decision to go for it and face my fear, the anxiety that had been building up from not taking action almost completely disappeared.
I still made a fool out of myself, and got harshly rejected. But I felt good afterwards. I was proud, I pushed through. I felt an increase of confidence.
After the 20 rejections I was feeling stronger, proud and confident.
For me it was a great start in overcoming this fear. I was now way less fearful of rejection. This is because I had put myself in such outrageous positions that my mind realized that I will survive rejection.
I’m not saying that this is going to get you over your fear of rejection, but you will make a good start. You, or better said your mind, will come to the conclusion that rejection isn’t going to kill you.
Over the years I’ve learned that the more you get rejected, the more resilient you are to it. And the more you don’t care about it, the less you will actually get rejected.
As a last word I like to advice you to take the steps in this article and take a long-term approach. One step at a time.
Overcoming your fear of rejection will be the most effective strategy in overcoming your social anxiety. It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest problem in having social anxiety.
When you are free of this fear you will experience an unbelievable security, confidence and freedom. You will have the strength to start building your social skills and create a fulfilling social life.
If you want to completely overcome your social anxiety disorder, getting coached by me personally (from the comfort of your own home and the ease of sitting behind your PC) have a look at the specifics of my 1 on 1 Skype coaching package Social Anxiety Coaching
Changing Your Beliefs 101
Go to part 1/3: How To Change Your Beliefs
Go to part 2/3: Challenging Beliefs To Change Your Beliefs
Go to part 3/3: Changing Core Beliefs To Improve Your Self Esteem
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