The Psychology Behind Fearing Rejection and How You Can Overcome It
Don't let it define who you become.
“Without experiencing criticism and rejection in life, it would be impossible to grow or improve yourself.” — Mwanandeke Kindembo
Rejection is something that we all fear. We want to be accepted and loved, but sometimes we are not. And when we are rejected, it can feel like the end of the world.
The truth is that rejection is just a part of life. It happens to everyone; it doesn’t matter how smart, handsome or capable you are.
We all face rejection in some way or another. The important thing is how you deal with it.
The Constant Fight to Avoid Rejection
In life, we are constantly fighting to avoid being rejected. We try to avoid it in our relationships, careers, and every other area of life. But if we don’t learn how to deal with rejection, it can lead to many problems.
The best way to handle rejection is not by avoiding the situation altogether but by learning how to face it head-on. It may seem like a difficult task at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to handle anything that comes your way.
We need to understand the psychology behind fearing rejection. Once you know what’s causing your fear, you can start to work on overcoming it.
How Do We Define Rejection & Why Are We Afraid of it?
Rejection is the feeling of being refused or not accepted. It is usually caused by a person’s dislike, disapproval, or lack of acceptance. Rejection can come from physical contacts, such as turning down a hug or brushing off a kiss. It can also come in words such as “no” or “go away.”
There are many reasons we may be afraid to be rejected by others. We may be afraid they will not like us anymore and leave us. We may also be worried that they will get angry with us and hurt us physically. Whatever the reason, we all fear rejection at some point.
When it comes to relationships, the fear of rejection is often caused by low self-esteem. We may feel like we are not good enough for the other person and that they will find someone better. This can lead to feelings of jealousy and insecurity.
Previous experiences can also cause the fear of rejection. If we have been rejected in the past, we may be afraid of being rejected again. This can make it challenging to form new relationships or to put ourselves in new situations.
“You have to be prepared that some opportunities will work out and others won’t, and that’s ok. You can’t win everywhere. The more opportunities you get, the more rejections you will receive. It’s simply a numbers game.” — Jen Alvares
What Is the Psychology Behind Fearing Rejection?
There are two main reasons why we fear rejection:
We think being rejected means we are not good enough; this is probably the most common reason people fear rejection. We live in a society where we compare ourselves to others. And when we don’t measure up, it can feel like a personal failure. When you compare yourself to others, you will always find someone better than you. It’s important to remember that everyone is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses. You are not less valuable because you are not as good as someone else at something.
We are afraid of the pain that comes with being rejected; we are so scared of the pain that comes with it -being rejected can be very painful. It can hurt our self-esteem and make us feel unworthy and unlovable. However, it’s important to remember that the pain of rejection is only temporary. It may feel like it will last forever, but it won’t. The pain will eventually disappear, and you can move on with your life. Nothing lasts forever.
The Different Types of Rejections and How We Experience Them
Social rejection is when others reject us. This can be in the form of being ignored, excluded, or stigmatized.
Professional Rejection is when we are not selected for a job or promotion. It can also be when we are passed over for a raise or bonus.
Relationship Rejection is when our romantic advances are turned down or our partner dumps us.
Parental rejection is when our parents disapprove of us or don’t accept us for who we are.
Self-Rejection is when we reject ourselves. This can be in the form of negative self-talk or not accepting ourselves and our flaws. Usually, this type of rejection is due to low self-esteem.
How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection with Self-Awareness
The first step to overcoming rejection fears is to become aware of your thoughts and emotions. Pay attention to when you start to feel anxious or afraid. What are you thinking in those moments?
If you notice that you are thinking negative thoughts about yourself, such as “I’m not good enough,” try to counter those thoughts with more positive ones. For example, “I am worthy and lovable as I am.”
It’s also important to pay attention to your body language. If you are feeling anxious, your body will likely show it. You may start to fidget or avoid eye contact.
Becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions will help you to manage them better. When you think negative thoughts, you can counter them with positive ones. And when you notice your body language, you can make a conscious effort to relax your body and mind.
The second step to overcoming rejection fears is to practice self-compassion. This means being kind and understanding, even when you make mistakes or feel like you’ve failed. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Beating yourself up over them will only make things worse. Instead, try to forgive yourself and move on.
The third step to overcoming rejection fears is to cultivate a growth mindset. This means believing your talents and abilities can be developed through effort, learning, and practice.
If you have a fixed mindset, you believe your talents and abilities are set in stone. You either have them or you don’t. But with a growth mindset, you think you can constantly improve.
Cultivating a growth mindset will help you to see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. It will also motivate you to keep going even when things are tough.
The fourth step to overcoming rejection fears is to take risks and put yourself out there. This may seem counterintuitive, but you can’t grow or improve if you don’t take chances. If you are afraid of rejection, it’s likely because you haven’t been rejected often. This means that you haven’t been putting yourself out there enough.
Start by taking small risks. For example, instead of avoiding social situations, try to put yourself in them even if you feel a bit anxious. Or, if you are afraid of public speaking, sign up for a Toastmasters club.
The more you expose yourself to potential rejection, the less feared it will become. And as you start to overcome your fear, you will likely find that the rewards of taking risks are worth it.
The fifth step to overcoming rejection fears is to build a support network. This includes people who will love and accept you no matter what. A robust support system will help you feel more confident and secure. It will also give you someone to turn to when feeling down or anxious.
Building a support network can be as simple as reaching out to friends and family members. But if you don’t have close relationships with them, there are still plenty of other options. Many online communities can support such as forums, Facebook groups, and subreddits.
No matter what method you choose, the important thing is to surround yourself with people who will accept and encourage you.
The sixth and final step to overcoming rejection fears is to live a fulfilling life. This means doing things that make you happy and fulfilled, even if they don’t involve other people.
You don’t need other people’s approval to live a happy and fulfilling life. You can find fulfillment in your hobbies, interests, and passions.
So if you are feeling anxious or afraid of rejection, take a step back and focus on living a fulfilling life.
Do things that make you happy, and don’t worry about other people’s thoughts. When you do this, the fear of rejection will start to disappear.
“Keep pressing forward in spite of rejection. It doesn’t matter how many no’s you get. You only need one person to say yes.” — Germany Kent
Rejection Is a Projection
Have you heard the saying “the world is our mirror”? It means that what we see “out there” is a reflection of what is going on inside of us. Our inner world creates our external world. This is also true when it comes to the fear of rejection. The fear of rejection is a projection of our insecurities and self-doubt.
When we are afraid of rejection, we are not confident in ourselves. We doubt our worthiness and value. And so, we project these doubts onto other people. We think that they will reject us because we are not good enough.
The truth is that other people are not thinking about us as much as they are. They are not judging or critiquing us the way we do ourselves. And even if they were, it would not be because we are not good enough. It would be because we are not a good fit for them.
The key is to find the people who are a good fit for us. And the only way to do that is to put ourselves out there and take risks.
So if you want to overcome the fear of rejection, start by looking inward. Examine your insecurities and self-doubt. Work on building your confidence and self-esteem.
And then, when you are ready, start taking risks and putting yourself out there. The more you do it, the easier it will become. And eventually, you will find the relationships that are a good fit for you.
We can’t control what happens in our lives, but we can control how we react and respond to it.
We shouldn’t let rejection define us or determine who we are.
Working on ourselves and raising self-awareness is crucial to accepting ourselves for who we are and decreasing rejection’s power over us.
By understanding the psychology behind the rejection, we can start to overcome it.
Following the steps outlined above can build a more positive relationship with yourself. And as you do, the fear of rejection will begin to lose its hold on you.
What is the worst rejection you’ve ever experienced, and how did you overcome it? Tell us in the comments below!
© Alejandro Betancourt, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Beyond Two Cents is a reader-supported publication. To receive exclusive posts and support my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber.