Fear of Rejection
It’s the stuff Gen X movies are made of! As a recovering people pleaser, this one sits strongly with me.
We all long to belong, and fear of rejection can raise its head in many different areas:
- Job interviews
- College applications
- Business dealings
- Meeting new people
What would you allow yourself to do if you didn’t fear rejection?
It’s natural to fear rejection. We don’t like being talked about behind our back or kept out of conversations. It’s hard to hear criticism. It hurts, and we fear the possibility of that hurt ever happening again.
So we find ways to defend ourselves from that fear:
- Being fake or putting up a front
- Trying to please everyone
- Avoiding situations
- Being passive aggressive
- Rejecting first
- Not speaking up
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What can help with our fear of rejection?
Have you ever let fear of rejection stop you from achieving a goal?
It’s not surprising if you did. Fear of rejection is linked to our need for belonging as humans (an innate, vital need). When we think about being rejected, we fear disconnection, and our need for connection tends to surpass any desire for pursuing another goal. In this way, rejection doesn’t respond to reason.
Did you know the same areas of the brain are activated when we experience rejection as when we experience pain?
So how do we address our fear of rejection? First of all, notice it and label it. Often that’s half the battle. Self-compassion techniques also help because they teach you to soothe that emotional pain you feel, even in fear of possible rejection. Finally, working with a coach or therapist can help you to see the underlying reasons behind the rejection so that you can address it specifically.