There are few things that can be more debilitating than the fear of rejection. This fear usually stems from a deep desire to be loved and liked by everyone that we meet, which is an impossibility. You need to develop a thicker skin or to figure out some way to be able to reframe what rejection means, or else you will be stuck without the possibility of ever going beyond the first obstacle of life; which is fear. In order to be a successful person, you need to be able to overcome this fear. This fear is a terrible thing because it will stop you from taking action.
If you cannot act, if you can’t put yourself or your work on the line, then there is no possibility of you becoming a success. Begin by realizing that in order to succeed you must fail, because it is through these failures that you will understand what you are doing wrong. You can either see this failure as a type of doom that spells your future disaster or you can see this failure as a growing experience that will show you a better path.
This is the logical conclusion and one that can be easy to say but very hard to do. The reason for this is that this fear has very little to do with your work or who you fundamentally are as a person. This fear is completely related to your ego and its inability to feel pain. The worst pain that the ego can feel it is an attack upon itself. Since it is nearly impossible to get rid of this ego, the best way to deal with it is to either come to a logical conclusion that it can accept or to reframe the meaning of the pain that it is experiencing.
In order to begin to overcome the fear of rejection then, you must realize that is an inevitable part of life. There is no possible way that everyone will like you or that everyone will like or love what you do. Since you can’t please everyone, then you must prepare yourself for the eventuality that someone is not going to like what they see.
Fear of rejection can stop us cold and can make us stop trying. If you stop trying, you will stop making progress and without progress there is no growth. It is the case though that rejection must not be taken lightly, it must be understood as an obstacle to overcome. This obstacle means that someone did not agree with something that you did or perhaps they do not like you because of whom they perceive you to be.
In either case you must take this obstacle seriously. By not trying to ignore it or white wash it with some flowery positive words, you have a far better chance of overcoming rejections like these in the future. Taking responsibility for this obstacle allows you to look at it in closer detail and without the crippling emotional responses that we usually feel when we are rejected.
If you take responsibility for this rejection, you can begin to take a closer look at what the mistake was. Objectively study the reasons for your rejection and see if it is caused by something that you did. If it is, then try to come up with a logical approach that will allow you to not be rejected like this in the future. If you are rejected because of something that you are and cannot fundamentally or do not want to fundamentally change, then accept the fact that this rejection is something beyond your control. Taking responsibility for the fact the you have been rejected and objectively studying the reasons for this rejection will allow you to detach yourself emotionally. Through this detachment you can see whether this rejection is just, whether this rejection is teaching you something, or whether this rejection is a prejudice.
Another good way to be able to handle rejection is to reframe what these rejections mean. When you can’t find that objectivity because you are deeply hurt, it is sometimes easier to look at things in a different way for a while until you regain enough composure to find a more detached and objective view. Examples of good reframes are the following:
- Next time that you fear that you might be rejected, tell yourself that when your ideas are rejected you get the benefit of more information about what is and isn’t going to work. This allows you to get closer and closer to a successful outcome.
- Tell yourself that nothing that people do to you is personal. People have their own reasons and their own anxieties for whatever it is that they do or say. There is no reason for you to feel badly about what they say because any hurtful rejection from another person usually means that that person has many negative beliefs and anxieties that ‘they’ have to deal with.
A reframe like the ones mentioned above, can help you greatly in achieving a state of detachment. Through detachment it is much easier to examine any rejection that you might face and to grow from these whenever possible. There is no reason to fear rejection if you realize that rejection of any kind is always a lesson. It is your decision whether you wish to grow from this lesson or whether you wish to take it personally. Remember though that sometimes the lesson is simply the fact that you need to be able to understand that others will judge you through their own particular beliefs and ideas, which can be wrong. When this is the case, the lesson means that you need to understand that people aren’t perfect, just like you.