Why do people fear rejection?
Rejection is a difficult concept to grasp. And the majority of you have had a significant dose of it. Many of you have experienced rejection firsthand, whether it was because you didn’t get the job you applied for, you were denied admission to your top choice college, didn’t make the team you tried out for, or didn’t get a second date with the person you thought would be your soulmate. Hearing “no, not interested” stings. Even if you do your hardest to look at the bright side of things, rejection doesn’t build character. It leads to broken hearts, grief, and increased worry. And that anxiety could stick around and leave a tough stain.
What is Fear of Rejection?
Rejection sensitivity, often known as rejection fear can impair performance and enthusiasm. According to studies, the fear of rejection may significantly affect a person’s mental health, relationships with others, and physical health. It affects how you view yourself, the decisions you take, and the goals you choose to pursue. Fear of being rejected could make you act and think less highly of yourself. To protect you from threats of survival, human beings have an internal alarm system called fear. In the past, survival meant maintaining one’s life. It meant escaping death at the hands of a predator, ailment, rival, or catastrophe. Threats included everything actually capable of causing death or serious injury.
Signs you’re Afraid of Rejection
• People pleasing – Even if it makes your life more difficult, you may find it tough to say no. Spending a lot of time on activities you don’t truly enjoy might be wasteful. Unassertiveness – difficulty in communicating one’s needs or wants and refusal to do so. People who are afraid of rejection attempt to conceal or downplay their own needs by making them seem trivial or insignificant.
• Passive Aggressive behaviors – Despite not being at peace with their “real” selves, they are seeking to convey their wants. Recurrent complaining, breaking or “forgetting” obligations, putting things off, and performing tasks inefficiently are all instances of behavior.
• Being inauthentic – Many people who are afraid of being rejected disguise their “true selves” by acting like someone else. Fearful of rejection, people typically operate under stringent supervision and adhere to established protocols.
• Distancing/self-sufficiency – avoiding emotional interaction with other people because of a fear of rejection is a reason enough. The distant person puts up a front of invulnerability and aloofness that discourages others from approaching him/her and risking being rejected. Because he/she believes “I don’t need or desire anybody,” he/she rejects (undervalues or diminishes) the love and attention that is given or offered.
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How Fear of Rejection Limits Your Life
Rejection anxiety may be a concern in both personal and professional relationships. Those who fear rejection could have high expectations of others. They could be overly attached, always needing approval, envious or distrustful, or have a negative self-perception in comparison to others. A strong, genuine fear of rejection can lead to rejection-sensitive dysphoria, which has been related to ADHD.
People who are afraid of being rejected may pass up excellent professional possibilities, refrain from requesting compensation rises or debating important changes to employment standards, or remain in their existing position. An individual with interview anxiety may decide not to apply for the position they desire, fear the interview process, or have unpleasant feelings while in the interview. An individual with new job anxiety may stay too long in a bad job and lose out on opportunities for advancement. A person who is terrified of being rejected at work may overwork or work extra in an attempt to affirm themselves.
In romantic relationships, fear of rejection can lead to anger, insecurity, or neediness as well as a lack of interest or emotional commitment on the part of a potential partner. To prevent this fear, some people may even push people away before approaching them. If one partner in a committed relationship doesn’t feel secure or at ease, they could continually seek reassurance, which puts strain on the connection. The dread of rejection then becomes apparent.
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Social anxiety and public rejection fear are both typical issues. An individual who has this fear could avoid social events or withdraw by leaning against a wall. Fears that can develop into phobias include those related to unease, forgetting names, having problems thinking of words, and making silly statements. Humans require connection, thus this is an issue. Even though it could be challenging, trying to interact with people might potentially lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation. This impact can be particularly potent for people who belong to stigmatized groups.
Fear of rejection in the corporate sector might make it tough to pursue one’s aspirations and assist people in need. Even if someone has the finest company concept ever, it will not gain momentum until it is vigorously marketed. It takes hearing no repeatedly, to finally hear yes.
Rejection anxiety stifles creativity. This type of fear may prevent someone from trying anything new or from being creative. People with creative tendencies may be reluctant to share their work or ask for the help they need to improve their skills. This dread may cause a person to remain still and avoid using their abilities.
Making new friends requires a certain amount of vulnerability. People with a fear of rejection may avoid these situations to try to keep themselves safe, but ultimately it keeps them isolated and lonely.
How to Overcome Fear of Rejection
It is important to practice self-care and build confidence, in order to break the vicious cycle of isolation and avoidance that keeps people stuck, fearful, and lonely. Fear of rejection goes away when one starts to believe that they are enough, and they stop relying on others for their self-worth.
1. Accept It – Simply identifying and embracing your fear of rejection is one method to overcome it. People regularly condemn themselves based only on their feelings, which only serves to worsen the situation.
2. Build the Habit of Positive Self-Talk- Positive self-talk can rewire the pathways in the brain and can improve mood and boost confidence. It may sound silly, but it works! Try a mantra like “I am enough” or “I can do hard things”.
3. Don’t let rejection define you – Everyone possesses their own abilities, and there are many qualities that distinguish and differentiate people from one another. Rejection fear is only a little part of who someone is. Just because fear exists doesn’t mean you have to pay attention to it or let it define who you are.
4. Building people’s confidence helps them feel sure of themselves and more grounded. Confident people know that their worth is not dependent on the opinion of others, and they are more able to be themselves.
5. Have Self-Compassion means treating oneself as one would a close friend. Remember that people with a fear of rejection live with anxiety, uncertainty, and fear every day. These are not easy things to live with. Put your hands over your heart and send yourself some compassion for all that you have been through and overcome.
6. Let go of guilt about the past can cause people to feel bad about themselves and fear rejection or abandonment from others. Making amends where necessary and letting go of guilt can be a huge weight off your shoulders.
7. Practicing meditation helps to be present in the moment, and can help with not getting wrapped up in fears and negative self-talk. Start with 2 minutes a day and work up from there. There are many good free resources available for getting started with meditation.
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8. Prioritize self-care to build confidence, feel more self-assured, and be less fearful. It’s hard for someone to value and stick up for themselves if they don’t treat themselves well. Prioritizing self-care is a way to show yourself that you matter.
9. Breathe – Research shows that fear of rejection can increase stress in the body, including the stress hormone cortisol. Try taking several slow breaths to decrease the stress response.
10. Exercise has been shown to decrease stress, increase endorphins and improve self-esteem. All of these benefits can help reduce the fear of rejection and increase self-confidence. A good rule of thumb is to start with 20-30 minutes of exercise most days to get these benefits, but even as little as a 5-minute walk can make a difference!
11. Notice what the fear feels like in your body- When someone is dealing with an unpleasant emotion, they tend to either try to make it go away or obsess about it. Try approaching the feeling with curiosity about how it shows up in the body. Find a quiet place to sit and take a few breaths to get grounded. Then, scan the body from feet to head. Notice any sensations, discomfort, or even parts of the body that feel neutral or pleasant. Notice where the fear lives in the body and focus on the physical sensations, for example, “I notice that my chest feels tight”.
12. Remember that people aren’t focused on you – Many people walk into a room and immediately feel self-conscious or embarrassed. They feel like everyone is looking at them. In reality, people are also likely to be thinking about what others are thinking of them!
13. Meet new people –The more someone does something, the easier and more comfortable it can get. Start introducing yourself to people you meet. Shake their hand and ask them their name. This might seem really simple, but for someone with social anxiety or fear of rejection, this can feel really scary but you can start slow.
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