How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection
Fear of rejection is a feeling that can impact all areas of your life. Maybe you experience some nerves in situations where you could potentially be rejected, or perhaps the fear has become crippling, to the point where it’s affected how you pursue your goals. There are a number of underlying causes that can result in this fear, and when left untreated, it can become worse over time.
People-pleasers are especially prone to a fear of rejection. So many people struggle with the idea that someone might not like them if they don’t please that person enough. They tend to do whatever it takes, or say whatever they need to say, to get the other person to like them. Their fear of rejection keeps them from telling the truth and getting what they want.
So what should you do if you experience rejection, and how can you overcome the fear?
Where Does Fear of Rejection Come From?
We are born with a fear of rejection. It’s primitive. In the past, we feared being rejected by the group because the group is what kept us alive. In our brain, that rejection was equivalent to death.
Our brains are wired to be part of a group, so when we see someone being rejected, our natural instinct is to assume there’s something wrong with that person. In primitive times, it meant someone was sick, wasn’t going to survive, and needed to be left behind. This feeling has evolved with us today.
For instance, many of us went through high school terrified of being rejected by the popular kids. Because of this, it became easy to reject ourselves ahead of time as a way to self preserve. We might then avoid putting ourselves out there or even interacting with people we might actually want to be friends with.
In fact, the idea of seeking approval goes back to when we’re children. We believe that if we can get our friends, teachers, and family members to approve of us, it means we’re worthy. But guess what? You’re born 100% worthy. Even at a very young age, we tend to not believe this, and so we try to protect ourselves by avoiding anything that might get us disapproval or rejection. This often follows us into adulthood.
The inaction this fear causes keeps us stagnant and keeps us from evolving. It holds us back from creating beautiful things for this world because we’re afraid of rejection. We’re worried about people hating what we’ve created. And guess what? When you create, you will face rejection… so it’s important that you know what to do.
What to Do When You Experience Rejection
The reality is that there will always be people who don’t like you. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. How you handle the rejection, on the other hand, is completely your responsibility.
When you have self confidence, you’re able to experience any emotion, no matter how bad it may feel. Most people approach rejection with the question of, “How do I avoid getting rejected?” Really, the question they should be asking is, “How do I experience this emotion, process my feelings, and move on?”
The best way to deal with being rejected is with self confidence. Be willing to feel the rejection. Be confident in who you are as a person and what you believe in, being “all in” as you. Be open to losing someone else’s approval just to gain your own.
How Fear of Rejection Impacts Our Results
When we fear rejection, the impact goes far beyond our emotions. It seeps into our actions as well. This fear can paralyze us from taking action and getting real results.
Take, for example, someone wanting to start their own business. It’s absolutely necessary to present the business to other people. There’s no way around this. Whether they’re pitching their product or promoting their business online, they will have to put themselves out there—and it’s possible not everyone will accept what they have to offer.
For some people, this idea may keep them from ever taking that first step to start their own business, even if it’s something they’ve dreamed of doing their entire life. They’ll become stuck in the emotion of fear and worry about being rejected. As The Life Coach Founder Brooke Castillo said, “Worry is responsible for more unanswered dreams than anything else I’ve encountered with my clients and students in Self Coaching Scholars.”
How to Get Past a Fear of Rejection
The solution to overcoming your fear of rejection is simple. You must process the emotion. Be willing to be disliked, or even hated, by other people if it means you’re able to love yourself and pursue your dreams. Allow yourself to feel fear, recognize what the worst case scenario is, and then decide what you can actually control. You don’t have control over what other people think about you, but you do have control over what you make it mean.
Understand that in order to feel rejection, you must first think a thought. Anytime you feel rejected, know there’s no one else causing it. Once you’re able to recognize that, it’s possible for someone to reject you without it causing any pain at all. Someone can try to reject you and it won’t hurt at all. This is when you realize the power of your mind.
Just think for a second: What if you never had to fear rejection? Imagine how different your life might be. Think about all the things you haven’t done because you’ve been too afraid of what other people might think. When you’re willing to put yourself out into the world and willing to hear “no” from someone a hundred times before you finally get approval, that’s when you really grow. That’s when you’ll take the risks that see real results and create a life you’ve always wanted.
To learn more about how your thoughts control your emotions, sign up for Self Coaching Scholars today.
Brooke Castillo is the CEO and founder of The Life Coach School. Brooke has coached thousands of clients individually and in groups to improve their lives, their weight, their businesses, and their careers. She is a Master Certified Life and Weight Coach who provides an example of what is possible. She also hosts one of the most highly rated podcasts on iTunes: The Life Coach School Podcast.