The fear of rejection is something we deal with in social anxiety time and again, and truly all human beings deal with it in life.
I would say most people want to avoid rejection.
I mean it makes sense right?
Who wants to be rejected – it’s the worst thing in the world, worse than even death itself maybe?
Maybe, maybe not.
The Problem with the Idea of Rejection
You see, the problem doesn’t lie within being rejected, it lies within how we DEFINE being rejected.
For most of us, we have a bad definition, based on bad beliefs that generate low self-worth.
Certainly society has placed the fear of judgment and beliefs onto us, and it’s worked its way into avoiding rejection.
“What will people think of us if we say something and they reject us? Everyone will hate me.”
Sorry (or happy) to tell you, but just as you are very self-interested, so are others.
We all are quite self-interested. I’ve said this before, it’s like there a low-level, subtle form on narcissism (self-obsession) with those of us that have suffered, or are currently suffering with social anxiety.
These are the wrong kinds of conversations to be having inside our heads, my friends. They’re lies of the mind.
I have struggled with this fear of rejection immensely, but have made a lot of progress. I still do at times have it come up. We all do.
Do you think that when I first started this blog I wasn’t afraid of people rejecting what I have to say, especially still having some social anxiety? You bet I was.
What you have to realize is that the story you create, and live, around what rejection is and isn’t is what fuels it, and that story can be changed, and lived in a better way.
Rejection: What Is It?
I think most of us have a poor definition of rejection. It’s been drilled into us with TV, movies, and social conversations all around us.
It’s time to see through The Matrix, don’t you think?
According to Dictionary.com the original meaning of rejection was “to throw” or “to throw back”.
But when you “get rejected” what is being thrown back?
Somehow we think people are rejecting us as a human being.
I say this is not the case, especially in terms of strangers you don’t know, but are afraid of in public.
They don’t know you at all, there’s no way they could actually reject “you.”
So in those cases it’s not even possible for them to throw you back, or even reject “you”. They don’t have that much power over you. It’s you that’s doing it.
In fact, I would say you are rejecting yourself, before they have a chance to know anything about you, to avoid rejection, which they can’t really do.
That’s right, you are rejecting YOURSELF.
Why Would You Reject Yourself?
Rejection is almost never about you, and it’s about them.
It is much more about their preferences, their desires, their path in life.
But you make it about you, and that’s the real trap here. There’s that narcissism again.
Just as rejection is about them and not you, do you see how you’re making rejection about you, AND it’s coming from you?
From your beliefs, your feelings, your way of showing up in the world.
You’re assigning what happens other people’s actions to the definition of rejection.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
In a sense, you get to have control because the known outcome that it currently in your control is always the same.
You avoid talking to people, avoid leaving the house even, so that you won’t be rejected.
This is safer than being in the unknown, which in reality will be better than what you know, but what you know is safe.
Remember, by definition you can’t really be rejected, you are rejecting yourself, with YOUR definition of rejection, the one most of us have.
It’s actually kind of normal to have this definition, I’d say.
It’s time to get abnormal then (in a good way)!
You need to start feeling out of control of the outcome in order to make progress. It’s this control over the outcome, that is a major part of keeping things in place.
Better to Just Stay Alive, than to Be Fully Alive
As human beings, we are tuned for survival and doing what has worked up to this point, even if it makes us unhappy. We seek safety, to stay alive, and we all have this mechanism.
It works to keep us alive, but often at a great cost. The cost of our lives.
So rejecting oneself first gives a known outcome, which is safer than the unknown, the uncertain, even if it’s a better outcome in the long time.
Our ancient biology hasn’t kept up with our social, cultural and technological advances it would seem.
Except for that, knowing this, we can become conscious of it, and change it!
Because we have the technologies of psychology, therapy, coaching and the like to help ourselves do this.
So which would you rather have?
Stay alive, stay safe, keep things in the known realm and suffer – where the cost is a less fulfilled life, unfortunately.
Stepping into the unknown, with the possibility of having it be better than you could have imagined, be bolder, let go of control of the outcome.
Yes there will be pain, it will be tough, but the hope of lessening suffering and feeling more alive than eve, lives on this path.
What about People Close to Me?
Now let’s talk about people you do know well, like friends and family and their rejection of you.
This is harder to see, because we will be even MORE emotionally involved. But it’s the same answer!
Their rejection is about them not you. We take that rejection and make it about us, again and again.
If we come from understanding, compassion, acceptance then we can start to see it’s about them, that they need something different, and it’s about their beliefs.
I don’t believe people can reject all of you. They may find something they don’t like about you, or that they don’t want to deal with, but that’s all about them.
What if your new life story included redefining rejection as an irrational, disempowering conversation, that isn’t really happening?
Start redefining rejection as about them and not you. See what happens.