Fear Of Rejection: Its Origin, Effects, And How To Overcome It
Being rejected is one of the most painful experiences most of us go through at some point in our lives. It makes us feel like a failure, judged, and not accepted by the people we care about. No wonder many of us have a fear of rejection and tend to avoid rejection by all means.
Avoiding rejection, however, does come at a great cost. It can limit you from reaching your goals in many areas of life.
Think about it, you could have written a book, but you did not because you fear people will not buy your book. You could have landed a business deal, but it failed because you are too nervous thinking, ‘What if they do not like me or my ideas?’
Marisa Peer, a world-renowned speaker, therapist, and best-selling author, has helped thousands of clients release their fears and phobias. In her 30 years of experience working with clients all over the world, time and again, she has been observing how avoiding rejection is only making the fear stronger.
According to Marisa, the most effective and fastest way to overcome the fear of rejection is by working with the root cause that is hidden in your mind.
In this article, you will learn what fear of rejection is, how it can affect your life, where it comes from, and above all, how to use the power of the mind to overcome it.
What Is Fear Of Rejection?
Fear of rejection is being afraid of unacceptance by the people around you. It could be you are scared of people not accepting your appearance, behaviors, the way you speak, or even your presence.
In real-life, being scared of rejection could look like this:
‘I am going to talk to my manager today and see if she is willing to raise my salary. Oh, but James has better results than me. What if my manager does not think I deserve the raise? What if I cannot convince her? I should just keep this to myself…’
There are many other ways this fear can show up in your life.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of being scared of rejection are:
- Difficulty to say ‘no’
- Taking on too many tasks
- Refusing to ask for what you want and need
- Procrastinating or working inefficiently on projects
- Being overly sensitive to criticism
- Difficulty to make new friends unless you are sure they like you
- Being reluctant to commit to and make a relationship work
- Working too hard to please others
- Blaming yourself when things do not work out
- Staying in an unhealthy relationship
- Hiding your true self
How Can Fear Of Rejection Affect Your Life?
This fear could negatively affect various facets of our lives, including career, relationships, and self-confidence.
- In business dealings. Instead of negotiating with a big client who is willing to pay more for your services, you lowered the fee and earned less than you deserve.
- In performance reviews. Instead of supporting your request for salary increments with performance data and asking to speak to the management, you decided to leave it up to their judgment. Therefore, you did not receive the appropriate bonuses and increments.
- In love relationship. You do not speak up when your spouse tells you to do things against your will. As a consequence, your emotional needs do not get fulfilled and with time both of you may become distant.
- In friendship. You choose to adapt your communication style and behavior to blend within a group of friends and be accepted. Over time, you may feel like you are betraying yourself as you are not living by your true values.
- When people criticize the way you look or talk, you feel inadequate or like a failure. As a result, you can have low self-esteem.
- You procrastinate taking action towards your dreams because you are afraid that people might reject your ideas. You think it is better to stay where you are because it is ‘safer.’
Why Are We Afraid Of Rejection?
Have you ever wondered where fear of rejection comes from, and why is it so strong?
It turns out that this fear is deeply ingrained in our minds because, evolutionarily speaking, it used to help us survive.
An evolutionary survival mechanism
Our need to belong and be accepted is rooted in human evolution. Thousands of years ago, it took an entire village to work together in order to survive in harsh conditions. Humans needed to be a part of a tribe to survive. If a person was socially rejected or kicked out of the village, they would die alone in the wild.
Although we do not live in dangerous environments anymore, our minds still associate rejection with death.
The reality is, rejection will not cause us death in this time and age. However, it still can bring forward feelings associated with the fear of dying.
According to the way the mind works, what we say and imagine in our minds influences how we feel. Whenever rejection happens, the mind instantly thinks, ‘I am going to die of shame if they reject me’ or create images of you dying in shame. This is one of the main reasons why the possibility of being rejected can stir various negative emotions and prevent you from acting on your goals.
We are built to avoid pain
If you have touched a boiling kettle by accident before, you will most likely never repeat the same mistake again. From a young age, we learn to avoid pain to survive. For every painful experience, our mind remembers the pain and fires alarms whenever we face a similar situation. It will tell you ‘Do not touch that boiling kettle’ when you see one again.
Similar to avoiding physical pain, humans would take any necessary measures to avoid the emotional pain associated with being rejected. In fact, a study by Naomi Eisenberger, a social psychologist, showed that rejection triggers the same brain regions that physical pain does. This means we avoid rejection just as we would avoid touching a boiling kettle.
Even though rejection causes us pain and discomfort, it does not harm us physically. It is a temporary emotion that comes and goes. If you choose to take action in spite of the fear, it will shrink in size, and you will become less afraid of rejection over time.
We tend to be risk-averse
Imagine this scenario: a friend offers to flip a coin and give you $20 if it lands on tails. If it lands on heads, you give them $20. Would you take that risk?
You would probably consider taking the risk if you were sure you would win. This tendency reflects risk aversion — reluctance to take risks unless the payoff is certain.
In the context of potentially experiencing fear of rejection, we are reluctant to risk our ‘lives’ being rejected by others because we are unsure of what people think of us. If we are sure we will not get rejected, most likely we would be brave enough to take action.
You see, life is unpredictable and risks are bound to appear in every decision. It may feel scary to risk yourself being rejected, but taking risks is part of the journey towards success. If you are not willing to take risks, you cannot get anywhere.
How To Overcome Fear Of Rejection Forever
Many people struggle to overcome their fear of rejection because their subconscious minds and conscious minds are playing a constant tug of war. The conscious mind is fully aware that we want to conquer this fear and take action towards our dreams. The subconscious mind, however, does not know what we want. Its primary job is to keep us away from danger, including rejection.
Unfortunately, the subconscious mind wins the tug of war most of the time because it controls 95% of our thoughts and actions. When the time we need to act comes, the subconscious mind takes over with thoughts such as, ‘Hey, you might get rejected. If you do, it is going to hurt you and kill you. Let’s go back to our comfort zone.’
During the three decades as a therapist, Marisa Peer has helped thousands of people overcome their fear of rejection and get free from other limitations that were holding them back. According to Marisa, you are able to train your own mind to overcome the fear of rejection and you also can choose to use a therapeutic technique known for helping people with similar issues.
3 ways to deal with the fear of rejection on your own
1. Reframe rejection as opportunities
For every rejection you experience, there is a redirection to a different opportunity yet unknown to you. Whether you are rejected by an interviewer or a love interest, a new door is opened for you at the same time, leading you towards other opportunities.
Whenever you face rejection, remind yourself, ‘I am not rejected, I am redirected to something greater.’
2. Talk to yourself like a dear friend
Do not beat yourself up when things do not work out as you have planned. Treat yourself kinder and shower yourself with praises as if you are cheering a dear friend.
Rather than allowing negative self-talk to happen, talk to yourself using more compassionate, affirming messages such as, ‘I have what I need to get through this,’ or ‘I am stronger than I think.’
3. Refuse to let rejection define you
Being rejected does not mean you are a failure. If one company turns you down, do not think that you are incompetent. If one person rejects you, do not think that you are unlovable.
Other people’s opinions and incidents do not define you. The only person who can define you is you alone. An effective way to do this is to praise yourself daily and boost your self-esteem. The higher self-esteem you have, the more resilience you will develop against rejection.
The most effective way to overcome fear of rejection forever
The most effective way to overcome a fear of rejection once and for all is to reprogram the subconscious mind to work with you and not against you using Rapid Transformational Therapy® (RTT®), a complete solution-based treatment created by celebrity therapist Marisa Peer over 30 years of working with people all over the world.
Rapid Transformational Therapy® (RTT®) combines the most powerful aspects of hypnosis, psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and more to help release your fears. It helps you go deep into your subconscious mind, access the root causes of issues you have been struggling with, and change the stories, words, and pictures in your mind.
RTT® can help you to overcome a fear of rejection in 3 simple steps:
- Hypnosis is used to help you get into a trance-like state and guide you to explore where the fear of rejection comes from.
- Rewriting pictures and words your mind associates with rejection with empowering ones.
- Making the new pictures and words familiar to your mind by repeating them to yourself every day and taking action. As a result, you will perceive things differently in your everyday life.
With the guidance of a certified RTT® therapist, you can replace negative pictures and words associated with rejection with the ones that bring positive emotions such as happiness and fulfillment related to achieving your goals.
This way, your subconscious mind will start associating rejection with safety and pleasure, and eventually, you will not be scared of rejection.
A Take-Home Message
According to Marisa, “The mind has the most powerful healing potential on the planet.” It can help you live a fulfilled and successful life, and it can also hold you back in many ways. It all depends on the words you say and the pictures you imagine in your mind.
Once you know how the mind works, it is easy for you to tap into its power and make it work with you and not against you.
You can overcome a fear of rejection by changing the words and pictures in your mind and relating the fear to pleasure.
Rejection-proof yourself and unlock your inner confidence with a pre-recorded hypnotic audio bundle. These audio tracks will help you reprogram your mind, regain your natural confidence, and rebuild your self-esteem.
If you feel like an individual approach works better for you, book a call with a certified RTT® therapist that will help you get to the root causes of your issues and conquer the fear of rejection once and for all.