With such existential forces at work, it’s no wonder that people fear rejection, to the extent of having a phobia around it. What can you do if you have a fear of rejection?
My suggestion would be that you use a good therapeutic technique, of which there are many to choose from; your difficulty may lie more in finding the one that is suitable for you than in finding a therapy that works.
Psychological work on your shadow is good, of course, since it gets right to the heart of the unconscious issues. Another recommended modality is called Healing the Shadow – there are other ways to approach these issues, such as emotional process work.
Some people gain great benefit from Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as EFT, or EFT tapping. If you’d like some information about EFT and phobia, please click on this link EFT and phobia – training to lower anxiety.
Now supposing that you don’t believe in energy therapy like EFT, what are you going to do?
The answer probably lies in shadow facilitation. The idea of doing your personal work in a group may be frightening but it is certainly powerful. You may even wish to train as a facilitator in working with the shadow. There is more information on shadow facilitation training on the internet.
FEAR OF REJECTION
A recent client of mine had a huge fear of rejection: of getting rejected by the opposite sex, of rejection when meeting new people in general, even when trying to get a job. He didn’t enjoy going out anymore and was pretty unhappy most of the time.
When we talked, it became clear he believed that rejection would mean everyone would lose respect for him. And he would feel worthless. So why was he so dependent on other people’s opinions? Read on.
Fear Of Rejection And How It Damages Your Life
Fear of rejection is based on the irrational belief that no one will accept you as you are, nor accept what you stand for and how you behave. This fear can be the product of rejection in early childhood, or later in life. But these days, therapists and counselors tend to find ways to overcome the fear of rejection rather than look at its origins!
We’ll examine these techniques in a moment.
But first, fear of getting rejected can impact on you in many ways:
- It makes you think what other people think of you is more important than your own opinion of yourself.
- It puts others in charge of how you feel and gives them the power to “push your buttons”.
- It makes you fearful of saying or doing something “wrong”.
- It makes you withhold your true self because you fear of not being accepted and respected.
- It makes you look for reassurance from other people and want their approval.
- It distances you from other people because they sense your neediness.
- It makes you jealous in relationships.
- It may make you try to get into relationship too fast, looking for security.
- Fear of rejection can make you reject others (before they reject you!)
- Fear of rejection may make you want to fit into society’s norms and standards instead of being unique.
Techniques To Overcome Fear Of Rejection
Instead of fearing rejection, think about benefits from overcoming your fear:
- Focus on a positive outcome: the date, the possible new friend, the new job.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you do get rejected.
- Decide to be courageous and go for your desired outcome.
- If you do get rejected, be proud of yourself for trying.
Set boundaries: be clear about what you want.
- For example, the person you want to date must be a friendly, honest person. The job you want must have a specific salary and amount of free days.
- Note that if you settle only for what you want, you will naturally decrease your fear of rejection. After all you are now setting expectations as well!
Often being rejected has no real consequences – except on your self-esteem. So make sure you have words ready to deal with rejection: if it’s a date who doesn’t want to see you again, for example, say, “OK, it was nice meeting you anyway, have a nice day.”
Or when you get rejected after the job interview, you could say “OK, I understand, thank you for considering me as a candidate. Would you mind telling me what I could have done better so I can improve on my next job interview?”
All of these things indicate confidence and so help to reduce your fear of rejection. I might add there is nothing wrong with playing at being confident – rehearsing it, even if you don’t feel it, is a good way to develop real confidence and overcome fear of rejection.
And further more, don’t take rejection personally. If you get rejected it can be a blow to the ego, but try to see it in perspective.
Getting rejected is inevitable in life. It will happen. If you accept this as a fact and decide to go for it anyway you become more powerful.
Note also that rejection only has the meaning YOU give it. So if your fear of rejection is based on the fact that rejection means you are unworthy and a loser, change the meaning you give it to something more productive, for example: “I did not get the outcome that I wanted.
This means I need to consider changing my approach. I can now use this knowledge to my advantage because I now know how not to do this! “
OVERCOME FEAR OF REJECTION
Do you fear new relationships because you worry that you will be rejected?
If the fear of rejection is stopping you forming new friendships or relationships, fear not! I will show you several techniques which will effectively overcome your fear of rejection.
Rejection causes so much difficulty because we link it to qualities that no-one wants: very negative views of oneself. (Loser, pathetic, inadequate…and so on. You no doubt know what I mean.)
But the more you think about the possibility of rejection, the harder it is to face another event when you might get rejected again!
And if you happen to be emotionally sensitive, or your self-esteem’s a bit shaky, or if you’ve had a dysfunctional or abusive childhood, rejection can seem like the end of the world. (Of course, a lot depends on how you define “rejection”. So at least some of this is “all in the mind”.)
However, whether you are sensitive and shy, or confident and out-going, you can change the way you talk to yourself about the your fear of rejection: sure, this means practicing some new ways of thinking about rejection, and you will need the help of some good techniques to develop more supportive ways of thinking.
But one thing remains: if you want to interact with other people and make friends, you have to accept that occasionally people will reject you.
To make fear of rejection less powerful, and reduce the possibility of rejection you can:
- Remind yourself what beating your fear of rejection will do for you (things like having a happy social life)
- Change the way you talk to yourself about rejection and stop tying your self-worth to acceptance and rejection
- Take small steps when developing new relationships
Know which people to look for (avoiding those who will reinforce a pattern of rejection)
- Perhaps – depending how brave you are – set out to experience rejection (that way you’ll learn fear of rejection is not so bad)
- Decide to make approaches to other people with an open mind about the outcome
- Make a lot of approaches to other people.
One way that you can lessen the fear of rejection is to develop relationships slowly. Your efforts can then be low key and casual, rather than intense. Also, check out a person’s body language and facial expressions.
Do they give you encouragement with smiles and nods? Is their posture open or closed? Do you sense they wish to carry on with the conversation?
If the other person shows no signs of rejection, and is enjoying your company, then you must overcome fear of rejection and make some invitation that will continue the relationship.
Although this may sound terrifying, and indeed may spark your fear of rejection, one way to get over fear of rejection is to put yourself into places and situations where you will get rejected a lot. This is a dramatic kind of therapy, but it is the choice of some therapists in the treatment of shyness.
If you actually confront the situations which cause you to develop a fear of rejection, dealing with the feared event will reduce its power over you. Use some techniques to develop new ways of thinking about rejection, so you can get over negative and self doubting thoughts.
If you have a profound fear of rejection, you may believe your self-worth depends on whether people “approve” of you or accept you. But judging your worth in this way is going to build low self-esteem, because you can become so overwhelmed by negative emotions that you don’t even see the flaws in your thinking.
By making many social overtures, you can clearly see that rejection is simply a part of life. It does not mean you are a flawed human being.
Another important point: even though you cannot control rejection, you can control how you respond to rejection.
If you condemn yourself and stop interacting if you think someone will reject you, then you will miss out on all the warmth, pleasure, fun and excitement that other people can offer you.
And it’s a truth that if you do not put yourself in a situation where a man or woman may say “no” to you, you will never be in a situation where they can say “yes”.
So, the more often you interact with others, the more likely you will be to overcome your fear of rejection. Even though some of those people will reject you, the odds of some people accepting you is still greater than it would be if you met no-one!