The only thing probably worse than rejection is the fear of rejection.
Last year, I went through a two-month interview process for a role at what could be described as my dream company. Never mind that I aced the first three out of four rounds, I was still rejected. When I asked and was made to understand why I was not chosen, I realized that self-doubt had raised fear of rejection which had, in turn, clouded my confidence and drastically zeroed my chances. That realization took me a while and planning a birthday party to get over.
The fear of rejection is an illogical fear that convinces you that people won’t accept or approve of you because of very underlying and mostly self-taught reasons. This fear debilitates and significantly influences your daily choices, decisions, and activities so much more than if you didn’t have that fear. As a result, it impacts your professional and personal life, your relationship with others, as well as your everyday social relations.
Of course, rejection itself hurts as well; either at job interviews, business transactions, dating, and marriage or social networking.
As humans, we want to belong and connect with people we feel strongly about, and being rejected by these people is always an unpleasant experience. Considering this, it is easy to then understand why the fear of rejection can cause anxiety and heartaches.
I have briefly put together some indicators that can tell if you have this fear of rejection or not.
Signs That You Have Fear Of Rejection
- You hold back your opinions about certain things and succumb to other people’s changing opinions.
- You excessively want to act/look like and copy other people’s behavior because you feel as though they have a kind of superiority over you.
- Building your emotional experiences on other people’s feelings, comments, criticism, and/or praise about you.
- You lose all sense of identity and consistently struggle to find self-acceptance.
- You are easily manipulated.
- When you struggle with poor self-esteem and always feel not good enough.
- You lack confidence and basic social skills
- You are constantly being compared to other people
- Lacking the courage to speak up and raise a different point of view.
- You have become a people-pleaser, almost have no sense of personal identity, and are unbelievably heedful of what other people think of you.
Fortunately, it’s possible to work through this mind-set with varying methods, a bit of work and dedication. However, before you take on any method you must start by identifying what you want and truly understand and gain clarity on what you fear.
Following that, here are some ways you can overcome rejection.
Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Rejection
Trust Your Capacity To Cope
As humans, our nature has taught us survival. Simply put, if you get knocked down, get back up. And only the fear of rejection tells us otherwise.
Don’t believe anything different. Trust your strength and determination and you will see that you are stronger than you think you are.
Always Train Your Mind To Take The Hit
In life struggles, rejection is inevitable which is why no one can openly boast that they have never been rejected at something. When you open yourself up to take up a venture whose attainability relies on someone else, you are also opening yourself up to the possibilities of rejection or acceptance.
Similarly, to refute the risk of rejection is also to give up the possibility of any reward. However, when you prepare your mind for rejection while hoping and working toward the best, it lessens the pain if you fail at it.
See Rejection As A Learning Opportunity
It may not immediately seem like it, but rejection can provide opportunities for self-rediscovery and growth through persistence. This skill, very important for entrepreneurs, is much like trying out different things until you encounter what works best for you and stick with it.
Sometimes, the right things only come when you fight for them and greater value is placed on this reward when you embrace your path. Take the history behind how JK Rowling’s popular bestselling novel, Harry Potter, was published after multiple rejections for instance. By that, we learn how important it is to keep striving and to perceive valid rejections as stepping stones to success.
Improve On The Appropriate Skills
Whenever you face or encounter rejection, it is necessary to know why you were rejected. Once you realize this, take time to address the issues that are under your control. Learn from your mistakes to increase your chances when you try again in the future.
Moreso, whether you are informed of the reason or not, always reinvent and develop yourself. It is foolhardy to aim for a manager’s salary with an entry-level qualification and not expect to be rejected. Work harder, prepare yourself better. Then, you would find that succeeding would come more quickly than expected.
Focus On The Results
One regrettable thing fear does is to redirect your focus from your objective to illogical realizations and time-wasting thoughts. On the bright side, confronting this fear makes it easier to push through the process at the next trial. The desire to achieve your goal should always be greater than your fear of rejection if you are to come out successful.
Don’t Waver, Act!
To some of us, life has become a waiting game. We are either waiting for the right reason, the right day, the right instant, the right feeling, or the right chance. The result of this is that we always create excuses to feel better about not taking the opportunity that may have led us to what we want.
That tiny moment you spend wavering or waiting is all it takes to imbibe fear in your minds. Likewise, don’t overthink situations and plans or make it bigger than it is. When that happens, you spend more time dwelling on the inconsequential. Then you become a brooding ground for fear and miss out on an opportunity that could change your life.
Face Your Fear
I’ve heard people say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. And I think this is one of the cases where it is true. Facing your fear and going for what you want would only yield one of two results; success or failure.
But, one thing is certain, if you don’t put yourself out there, while you may not experience rejection you won’t achieve your goals either. On the other hand, even if you do experience rejection, you will learn how to proceed in the future thus improving you.
Remember Your Worth
As an entrepreneur especially, when you think and read too much into it, rejection can be particularly terrifying. For example, if you’ve had a few meetings with a potential business partner or client who suddenly stops responding, you might become anxious worrying about all the various uncertainties and unwillingly give in to fear.
Instead of burdening yourself with this fear, keep reminding yourself of the value you have to offer (and how much they would be missing out on!).
Practice Positive Thinking
Most times, the first thing we do after experiencing rejection is to fall into self-criticism. By doing so, we are only strengthening the idea that the rejection was our fault when that may not have been the case.
Positive thinking doesn’t mean situations must turn out positively. It helps to improve how you see or understand that situation. Also, it builds your practice of self-compassion. Thus, helping you understand your shortcomings.
If things don’t go your way or you are rejected, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Talk About It
Rejection almost always gives you a good story to tell, take my opening story for instance. However, before you can talk about your situation, it is important to acknowledge the feeling it brings you.
No one can tell you how you feel or validate your feelings except you. And, it’s always counter-productive to try to convince yourself that you feel differently. When you try this, you deny yourself the opportunity to manage and productively learn from the experience. Also, it helps to seek professional counselling.
Conclusively, while rejection can hurt and make you even think less of yourself, fearing it would limit and prevent you from fulfilling your potentials.
Truth is, not everyone would accept you and not everyone would reject you. However, the more rejection you encounter, the more valuable knowledge and understanding you will gain. This understanding will help you better recognize what to do and what not to do in the future.
Therefore, rejection indirectly improves your chances of future success. This it does by arming you with the constructive criticism needed to fine-tune your approaches.
In all, always remember that you are not alone.
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