Thousands of songs have been written about the pain that comes with rejection. It’s natural to be scared of getting hurt and want to do everything in your power to avoid it, but the fear of rejection can cause you to lose out on many wonderful experiences in relationships or in your career. Thankfully, you can take steps to free yourself from your fears and embrace life more fully.
- Remember that it’s a universal experience. Rejection happens to everyone. It’s a fact of life that isn’t going to change anytime soon. I can’t count how many times I’ve asked someone out only to get turned down. Times friends and lovers have walked away from a relationship I was still invested in. Times I didn’t get a job or grant I applied for. Times my messages get aired. Reminding yourself that things won’t always turn out the way you want, might help your fear of rejection seem less terrifying.
- Avoid the self-fulfilling the prophecy. When you can’t shake the feeling that you’re going to be rejected, you end up overreacting or creating a situation that forces the rejection to occur, which you then use as proof that you were right to be afraid. Try not to create an issue where there isn’t any. Instead of expecting the worst, take chances. Either it works out or it doesn’t, but you can honestly say you gave it a good shot.
- Figure out what is driving your fear. Maybe something happened in your childhood or adult life that laid the foundation and you unconsciously developed a fear of rejection to keep it from ever happening again. Maybe the hurt just feels like more than you can handle. Maybe what you’re really scared of is failure or being lonely. Dig into the feeling and figure out the root cause, so you can find healthier ways to process it.
- Confront your fear. You might be thinking that you won’t get rejected if you never put yourself out there. That’s true, but guess what? You’re not going to get any of the things you want either. Going after your wants is the only way you get to succeed. You deserve to be happy. You deserve good things. Why not take a chance on them? Just take it one small step at a time.
- See it as a learning opportunity. Say you let yourself get into a relationship and then it ends or you apply for a job but you don’t get it. You’re going to be hurt, but that experience is probably going to teach you something. Take a second look at the rejection situation and figure out what you could have done better. Maybe you need to improve your dating standards or work on your communication skills. This will help you get it right the next time.
- Build a strong support network. Invest in your relationships. Surround yourself with people who care about you deeply and lean into their love to remind yourself that you are wanted. Even when you put yourself out there and don’t get the results you’re hoping for, your loved ones will always be there for you. Practicing confronting those scenarios that activate your fear of rejection with them. With time, it’d all seem less scary.
- Be kinder to yourself. It’s easy to blame yourself after experiencing rejection, to think it was your fault when it actually had nothing to do with you. Instead of criticizing and hating yourself, try some encouragement and support. You’re absolutely good enough and serving of whatever it is you want even if you don’t get it. Challenge and discard those negative thoughts you have about yourself and focus on building self-respect and self-confidence.
- Practice putting yourself out there. Every day, take time out to visualize how you want to feel and act in situations that make you fear rejection or feel insecure. Your thoughts can influence your emotions and behaviors, so make creative use of them. Whenever you’re dealing with a situation that makes you feel vulnerable, try expressing your feelings and thoughts in that moment instead of retreating. It’s okay to be a little scared, pretending otherwise is going to do more harm than good.
- Know that whatever happens, you will survive. Life comes with up and downs. It can be difficult to accept that right away, but when you really think about it, any rejection you experience is probably not going to matter in a few months. Grieve and then let it go. How many times have you thought life would fall apart when something didn’t go a particular way? Aren’t you still here thriving? Understanding that you will be fine in the end, should make the possibility of rejection less overwhelming.