Fear of rejection encompasses a wide spectrum from mild apprehension to expectation of abandonment.
It begins so early in life that most people can’t even remember when they first felt it. It is natural when people are young to fear rejection. They are completely dependent on their nurturers to keep them alive and safe. Rejection could mean ultimate abandonment and the inability to survive.
As people go through subsequent relationships in their lives, they take those early memories with them.
If they were created as insecure children and their sequential relationships continue to end in rejection, they become more sensitive to that expected outcome and either inure themselves to it early, or live in constant readiness to be left behind once more. If, instead, they have been lucky enough to have had secure connections growing up and feel that they have desirable qualities and values to offer, their confidence grows with every successful partnership, and any discomfort about being valuable subsides.
As you enter each new intimate relationship in your life, you will bring those expectations with you.
If you are still unconsciously seeking familiarity and bringing partners to you who are replications of early caretakers, your responses will be very similar to what they were when you were a child. If you realize that you need to gain confidence in what you bring to the table, you will be seeking to be with partners who can validate your worth.
The problem becomes even more evident when people try to partner with someone that is societally defined as one of “higher value” than they are.
That may seem a harsh reality, but “marketability” is a real entity and must be taken into consideration. Rejection is less likely if people choose partners who are less “societally valuable” than they are. Here is where the anticipation or fear of rejection can become a barrier to self-transformation. Choosing the comfort of automatic security automatically excludes a person from taking the risks that could ultimately increase their confidence and worth were they to rise to the challenge of learning to operate at a higher level. Yet, with those risks, comes the potential to experience rejection.
The most potent solution to a fear of rejection, whether it is driven by terrifying expectations of abandonment or the quiet sorrow of loss, is to systematically and intentionally make yourself the best person you know how to be.
With each subsequent relationship, don’t focus on whether you were rejected or not, but what you learned about yourself and how you could transform from the lessons learned. At the same time, you analyze how and why you choose your partners, and seek to find those who automatically value what you currently have to offer.
There is not a person in the world that is not affected by the loss of an important attachment.
With each subsequent loss, most people become less willing to risk and more prone to greater fears in the future. They become “nothing ventured; nothing lost,” people whose past defines their declining hope and confidence in the future. If, instead, rejection becomes the bases for more exploration and knowledge of either poor choices of partners, or personal characteristics that need to be challenged, it will become the foundation for more success in the future.
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
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In order to find the courageous warrior, it will take mental discipline (re-framing defeating thoughts) and time to change our limiting beliefs from lack to abundance and from fear to love.
How much time is purely up to you based on how badly you want the shift. We must further know and understand that with each courageous move we make, we are actually strengthening our courageous warrior (self-esteem). As we do the work and grow to love and honor ourselves deeply, we naturally begin to lose attachment to the beliefs we have around rejection and consequently step more boldly into the world.
With that being said, let us take a look at a few facts that may serve to remind us as to why we are safe reaching out for what we’d desire:
There is a quote, and I paraphrase: I would rather have tried and lived than not try and not live.
Being courageous enough to go after what we desire, means we later have no regrets of what may have been. There is no shame in asking for what you want. Contrarily, it is courageous and honorable to ask for what you want! No great leader, inventor or artist was ever received on his/her first try. They had to fall down, get up, fall down, get up, fall down and get up. Overcoming the fear of rejection starts with changing one’s conditioned mind patterns and then boldly stepping into his/her life.
Be willing to do the work to find your courageous warrior within and make your life happen!
Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor –www.facebook.com/SweetEmpowermentLifeCoaching
Rejection is real.
When it happens most often “What is wrong with me?” passes through your mind at one point or another. It may feel like that is the only thing you can think about—like a broken record, it plays over and over again in your head. You want answers you may never get. And there you are, abandoned by someone who you thought loved you. Next move, how do you even begin to get yourself back in the game when you believe so deep down that you will be rejected again?
Take your time: There is no race to start dating again.
You need to take your time to heal and become whole. You’ve lost a best friend who essentially told you “Thanks but no thanks.” People we love and who are supposed to love us aren’t supposed to do that, but they do. From this you can learn how strong you are, even though you feel weak. But take the time to heal, without healing, you can’t give back to someone else when you do feel ready.
Vulnerability is scary.
That’s what made the rejection hurt so badly because you were able to drop walls with that person you weren’t able to with others. It was real. But in doing that you learned what it was like to admit your faults, weaknesses, and fear of judgment, which takes courage. Through those things, you were able to experience what a relationship is about and without those, you can’t love someone. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with the next man. In those moments is where you find the real connections that have value.
Enjoy dating for what it is, an opportunity to spend some time with a new person with no strings attached.
It may go somewhere, it may not, but no need to put pressure on yourself for it to go to the next level. Use it as a chance to begin to open those doors again. It will be a little uncomfortable and unfamiliar at first, but the more you do it the easier it becomes and you may find you even enjoy it.
If you don’t risk, then you have no chance of being hurt, but you also lose the opportunity to find something worth keeping.
Haley Gage, M.A., LAPC – www.simplifiedatlanta.com
The fear of rejection is a powerful fear that often has far-reaching impact into our lives.
Most people experience some anxiety when placing themselves in situations that could lead to rejection, but for others freezing behavior occurs. Every individual has experienced rejection, and each of us has made the choice to reject ideas, choices and other people.
As always, traumatic experiences that “stay with you” should be the focus of therapy.
My bias is EMDR therapy for traumas and fears to reduce or eliminate the distress. On the other hand rejection is part of daily life may not necessitate therapy, but there are important principles to follow to manage the negative experience. In terms of relationship, always remember we must risk in order develop a relationship because intimacy is involved. Practice your boundaries and discernment regarding who you reach out and open up to, and hopefully negative experiences will be few and far between.
Steps to consider:
1. Envision Success. Do not allow yourself to imagine rejection. Mental imagery actually contributes to the creation of behavioral patterns.
2. Accept yourself. Accept your imperfections, mistakes, and when you’re not as good at something as you’d like to be. Learn from the past and pursue personal growth but do not be self-critical and judge yourself. Self-judgment is a common and powerful form of self-rejection that leads to #3.
3. Do not decide what other people are thinking, you cannot mind-read.
4. Believe in your capacity to become someone who doesn’t excessively personalize things. Each experience or relationship is new, fresh and different. Process the disappointments, learn from them without giving them undue attention, and remember you have infinite value.
Marta Hatter, LCSW – www.revelationcounseling.com
Lessons. We all have them. But if you don’t really learn those lessons, you will repeat them over and over again, until you finally “get” it.
Relationships can be an important lesson, and along with the struggle and pain, you overcome some major life challenges. There’s confusion, insecurity, sadness, anger and broken hearts but they actually bring you to a healthier place – for the next significant relationship.
You become stronger and are able to overcome the peaks and valleys better with each lesson learned.
You become aware of what you want and don’t want in a relationship and are able to make decisions based on what is best for you. It is very liberating and empowering to know that if one person rejects you, that person was not really right and that someone better is coming along.
It feels good to be strong and responsible for how your life unfolds and to know that a rejection does not mean you are bad or unworthy.
It just means that you can change, if you choose, to create a better, healthier, more satisfying future for yourself. The more you value yourself, the easier it becomes to get past “the past” and move into the future with confidence and esteem.
The challenge of all relationships is to be yourself and to be comfortable in your own skin.
If you approach a new relationship from a place of fear or insecurity, it will be obvious to the person you meet. To attract the kind of man who sees you as self-confident and desirable, you need to feel it too. So, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable again — to get into a relationship and feel love and joy, because this time it may be the real thing, which is what you deserve and have been looking for all along.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
When you are first getting back out there in the dating game, it can feel a bit strange and awkward.
I remember when I was suddenly divorced after a seven-year marriage. I was only thirty-five, but I felt totally out of it. I was asking single friends, “Who pays for the date?” “Is the guy going to expect me to sleep with him?” I was completely confused, and then there is the issue of rejection.
What if I really like him but he never calls again? Well, guess what?
You will get some guys that say they will call and then never do, you might go on a date and the guy is eyeing the waitress or the gal at the next table, or he tells his matchmaker that introduced you that he just didn’t feel the chemistry, but that is okay.
You just need to get out there and meet new people and practice your dating skills.
There will be men that you won’t feel any chemistry with either and have to tell them that you just aren’t feeling it. I don’t call this rejection; I call it getting one step closer to finding the “one.”
There is a top for every pot, and if the guy sitting across from you at Starbucks doesn’t call you again, he is not YOUR pot!
Marla Martenson, Matchmaker – www.marlamartenson.com
1. Fall in love with yourself
When you are in love with yourself, you create space in your life for someone else to love you. When you truly accept who and what you are, people will come to love and accept it as well. Take time to get to know yourself. Journaling is an excellent place to start. Write from your heart! You’ll be surprised as to what comes up. Also, show yourself the love you want someone else to show you. Stop off at a flower shop and buy yourself flowers or treat yourself to a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant. Start to treat yourself how you want to be treated and it will come to you!
2. Let go of limiting beliefs
Unhealthy thoughts create distance in a relationship. The deeper the thought, the more distance created in a relationship. Feelings of not being good enough is a common thought women experience. Again, women internalize the situation and think there is something wrong with them when it comes to relationships. Feeling not good enough is a shame based thought that gets in the way of being vulnerable, which is required to be intimate. Working with a therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can assist in challenging deep seeded thoughts.
3. Trust your intuition
Sometimes being rejected isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes situations aren’t in your best interest. If there is a part of you that is skeptical about someone or you sense you might be headed down the wrong path in a new relationship, then trust your gut. This requires work from #1 because when you love yourself, you have learned to trust yourself. You always have the answers for yourself. If a guy has red flags in the beginning, then your gut might fear rejection because the situation will lead to that.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.browardcounseling.com
Learn Why Men Pull Away
There is a deep-seated “Gap” in communication that very few women (or men) understand.
It’s the #1 reason why men pull away.
To be truly irresistible to a man, you MUST understand this gap, and the way feelings of love get confused and entangled in a man’s mind…
It can be scary to enter a new relationship or to allow ourselves to be open to being hurt especially if we have had bad experiences in the past.
However, what I if was to tell you that our greatest healing and best possible experiences can come from having the courage to face right into our pain, to look at our experience of rejection and to allow it to be there. I don’t mean stay there and wallow in it. No, just to be prepared to feel what’s there and breathe into it and see what else is there. You see, it ‘s like peeling an onion. Beneath the rejection is always something else. The best way to overcome the fear is to face right into it. To allow it to be there and say gently “that’s ok, it hurts but I’m ok”.
Rejection itself does not kill us. It can teach us.
What meaning do we make of our experience? What stories do we tell ourselves about ourselves? When did I first feel this? Usually, the rejection started earlier in life, and the relationship experience is an opportunity for us to heal this earlier wounded and painful place inside of ourselves. In this way, we set ourselves free. We also are less likely to make big stories out of other people’s behavior because of our projections.
So, next time you feel like you are going to go to that place of feeling rejected, pause, stop, ask yourself, what meaning do I want to give this?
In reality it may be more about another person than about you! Relationships are our greatest teachers if we are willing to learn and facing the inevitable pain of being human is part of our development into mature human beings.
Margie Ulbrick, LLB/BA/GD SOCSCI – www.margieulbrickcounselling.com