Fear of Rejection

“Everyone at some point in life have faced rejection and failure, it is part of the process to self-realisation.” – Lailah Gifty Akita

Do You Suffer From the Fear of Rejection? Rejection, and the fear of being rejected, ranks among the most potent and distressing of everyday events that people experience. Feeling rejected hurts. It undermines your confidence and makes you doubt your worth. And whether you’ve experienced it a lot or it has only happened once or twice in your life, it can easily lead to deep anxiety about future rejection. Trapped by a horrible feeling of worthlessness, you might let your fear of rejection stop you from even trying to achieve your dreams. This in itself makes you feel worse about yourself, creating a vicious cycle of fear and low self-esteem. Sometimes, you probably feel like you’ve tried everything to feel better and just don’t seem to be improving.  

Fear of Rejection Psychology

Like many things in life, this fear has several layers. When you think you have overcome the fear of rejection, you realize that there are still deeper layers after that. If you embrace the fear, you’ll feel more comfortable with yourself and others around you. Even if the fear weakens, it’s most likely to exist and never completely gone. 

When you think you’re being criticized, you feel rejected and unaccepted. This leads to embarrassment in specific situations that trigger your fear. These are very deep and common wounds that burden us. We fear saying or doing something that others may judge.

This exists in our minds. One situation where we feel most vulnerable to this fear is when we meet a potential romantic partner. You start doubting yourself more than ever because you want that person to like you. Now, what happens when we live our lives with the subconscious belief that if someone doesn’t like us, then we are being rejected and we are not good enough? When you gain interest in someone — and this applies to all relationships in your life — you don’t want to feel rejected by that person. 

You’ll start trying to “be nice,” “be good,” “be confident,” “be sexy,” “be smart,” etc. In reality, you’re trying to look and act like all those things, leaving behind the authentic you. You try to “be somebody” that you think the other person will like and accept. You want that person to like you so you don’t feel rejected.

Now, this “somebody” or “way of being” comes from ideas you get through society, media, and your surroundings. They suggest how you are “supposed to be” or how you “should be,” which have nothing to do with who you really are. This fear of rejection comes from our childhood. As children we have a need for attention and acceptance from our parents or caregivers. 

A child needs protection and constant care. When these needs were not met, we couldn’t understand why sometimes our parents could not be there for us. For example: When they had to leave us with a nanny, or when we woke up in the middle of the night and our mother wasn’t right there next to us. We may or may not know the reasons why our needs were not met in certain situations. 

The important fact is that now, as adults, we can understand how sometimes you have to leave your child alone or with someone else while you go to work or do something else. You can now understand that it doesn’t mean you are rejecting the child or that you don’t love him or her. 

As kids, because our rational mind wasn’t yet developed, everything revolved around emotions. We felt and believed everything we heard. If the honest reasons why our parents behaved in certain ways were never explained to us, then their every absence could be misinterpreted as rejection, abandonment, or loneliness

Today, as grown-up individuals, we have the opportunity to heal those past events so we can become whole and mature. By finding helpful tools, we can be responsible adults who don’t need to make the same mistakes as past generations.

Fear of Rejection Behaviors and Consequences 

  • When you feel rejected, you think about how other people see you (and assume they see you negatively). 

  • Fear of Rejection makes you believe you can’t really achieve your dreams. 

  • Anytime you feel rejected, you think about how you must not seem interesting or worthwhile to other people. 

  • The rejection leaves you thinking that you aren’t intelligent, talented or capable. 

  • Being rejected leads you to imagine how disappointing you are to people you care about. 

  • You work hard to make people have low expectations of you so that they won’t expect you to succeed. 

  • Experiences of fear of rejection make you believe that there’s nothing you could have done to create a better outcome. 

  • When you’re going to do something that might lead to rejection, physical symptoms of anxiety (e.g. stomach pains and tension headaches) sometimes stop you from doing that thing. 

  • If it’s possible you will end up feeling rejected, you find other things tasks to do that will help you avoid the risk. 

  • You find excuses to remove yourself from circumstances where you might feel rejected, telling yourself you have no other choice. 

Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery  - J.K. Rowling

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