The sting of rejection hurts, and there’s no way to avoid it. Even the strongest people often feel psychological and emotional distress after they’ve been rejected. The feeling to belong and connect with other people is an instinct born in humans, and the fear of rejection can make you shy away from good experiences.
Rejection comes in all shapes and sizes. You can be denied for a position you applied for that would bring more money to your family, or you can be turned down by a love interest who stole your heart. Whatever the vehicle that brings rejection into your life, it isn’t a pleasant experience.
Part of the reason why this heartache cuts like a knife is because rejection prompts the same region of the brain as physical pain. According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, the right ventral prefrontal cortex registers this emotional pain on the same level as something you experience in your body.
Given this scientific information, it’s easy to see why so many people fear rejection, and they will do anything to avoid it. Understandably, you want to do anything possible to shield your heart from any further distress.
Fifteen Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Rejection
The fear of feeling that kind of hurt can keep you from taking risks in life and reaching goals you want to accomplish. Thankfully, you can alter your mindset so that you can overcome this fear and live the life you’ve always envisioned.
Here are 15 ways to conquer your fear of rejection and learn that stepping out of your comfort zone will not always mean disappointments.
1. Know Your Worth
Many people struggle with the fear of rejection because they don’t know their worth. If you own a precious stone, like a diamond, do you see the value of this gem? Why wouldn’t you value your own life more than that of a rock?
Make a list of all your attributes. While you cannot put a price tag on your worth, you can certainly use this list to help overcome your low self-esteem.
2. Validate Your Feelings
No one says that rejection is easy, and when you’ve been hurt so deeply, it’s okay to validate that feeling. An easy way to get it all out is through journaling.
Write down who hurt you, the situation, and how you’re going to get over it. Don’t hold grudges but validate your feelings of unworthiness and move on.
3. Reject the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Do you know what a self-fulfilling prophecy is? If you believe that you will never meet anyone to share your life with, you won’t meet anyone. It would be best if you had the right mindset to achieve greatness.
People won’t be attracted to someone who is down on themselves, and neither will prospective employers. Stop letting the past dictate your future, as it’s doing nothing but holding you back.
4. Focus on How You Want to Be
Don’t focus on what happened yesterday but set your sights on your future. Vision boards are great ways to see where you are now and help you navigate the future. If you are continually turning around looking at all your disappointments, how can you focus on the growth and prosperity ahead?
5. You’re Not Alone in These Feelings
Fear can be isolating, and it can grip the very fibers of your being. However, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. People have been facing rejection since the dawn of time, and it’s nothing that’s going to go away.
You need to learn practical coping skills for when these low blows occur.
6. Use Positive Affirmations
Instead of speaking negativity into your being, why not try the power of positive thinking? Positive affirmations are a useful tool to help you boost your esteem. How can you feel disappointed in yourself if you are constantly reminding yourself of things like:
•I am loved.
•I will accomplish anything I set my mind to do.
•I’ll get the job I’ve always wanted.
•I am surrounded by people who are supporting me.
•I will find the man/woman of my dreams.
7. Face the Fear Head On
Have you ever heard of exposure therapy? Have you ever watched one of the talk shows where they bring people closest to their worst fears to heal them? Some people fear things like aluminum foil or mayonnaise, while others have more severe fears like driving a car or rejection.
This type of therapy is used commonly with people that have PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. In theory, an event that happened in the past is haunting you, so exposure therapy is a good choice. According to an article published by the National Library of Medicine, when a person is exposed to the stimuli in a safe environment, they can let their anxiety rise and then come back down.
Essentially, it would help if you faced your fear head on to learn how to conquer it. Put yourself in situations where you know you will be rejected and feel those emotions but move on. The more you are exposed to the situation, the less impact it will have on you.
Remind yourself continuously that rejection isn’t going to kill you. With every risk you take in life, there is a 50/50 chance of success. So, you have just as much of a chance of winning as you do of losing, but the only thing that will be hurt is your pride.
9. Redefine the Meaning of Rejection
Perhaps the reason why rejection hits you so hard is how you’ve defined it in your mind. You may see being rejected and relate it to a horrible childhood incident, or it may trigger abuse that happened to you. You need to redefine rejection and come to terms with what it means to you versus what it is.
10. Gain Proper Perspective and Clarity
It’s helpful to talk to someone else to help you gain some perspective from the situation. Maybe you asked a girl or guy out on a date and felt the pangs of their rejection.
However, it might not have been you that they were rejecting; it could have everything to do with where they’re in life. If you see the situation from all sides, it will help you put things into perspective and clarify things.
11. Don’t Give It Power
The more power you give something, the stronger it will be to overcome. If you have a sore on your arm, it will go away in a few days. However, what if you continually pick at this sore and aggravate it?
The bacteria from your hands can get into it and cause the germs to spread, which will cause an unsightly issue. A situation that could have taken a few days to recover from is now going to take weeks. The same analogy rings true for rejection.
The more you dwell on it and pick at the situation, the more pronounced the fear will become. Something that started small can fester into a huge mental stumbling block.
12. Use It for Self-Discovery and Growth
Most things in life can be used as a growing experience. Think of relationships you’ve had in the past that didn’t work. There are always some good parts as well as some bad.
You take the good things and carry them on eagerly, but you take the bad and use them as a lesson. Let your fear of rejection become a lesson that motivates you to greatness.
13. Try Therapy
Many different types of therapy can help you to overcome your fears. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most used ones today, and it’s extraordinarily successful. When dealing with mind over matter issues, having a professional who knows the mind’s inner workings can help immensely.
14. Learn to Meditate Away the Negative
Meditation is an excellent tool for clarifying the noise in your mind by learning to become centered. This ancient art has been used for centuries to help those that need grounding and clarity. Both guided and unguided versions can help conquer your fears and put anxiety to rest.
15. Set Yourself Up to Win
While there’s no way to protect yourself from being rejected, you can put yourself in situations where you know you’ll win. In card games, people stack the odds in their favor before making a bet, so they know they will be victorious.
Don’t try out for jobs that you probably won’t get, and don’t ask people out that you know you won’t be interested in. Ensure that you have a full house before you jump; it just reduces the odds and can subside your fear of rejection.
The fear of rejection and being rejected stings badly, and the worst part is that it can make you doubt yourself and your abilities. However, if you give in to this fear, it will limit you and prevent you from experience so much in life. Some of the worst things that happen to you in life can be used for growth and change.
The pain of being rejected will eventually fade and will become nothing more than a memory. It won’t matter as much then as it does now, but if you keep feeding this fear, it can impact you for a lifetime.
Don’t let yesterday stand in your way of a bright tomorrow. You have the power to conquer the fear of rejection and reach every goal you set.