Rejection is something that no one wants to feel because it hurts. People want to feel like they belong and be able to connect with others, but the harsh truth is that not everyone will accept you. Whether it is for a job, dating, or friendship, it is not a pleasant experience. The fear of being rejected can be powerful enough to limit your success or life experiences. So, it is possible to work past that fear. Here are some tips on how to overcome your fear of rejection.
Validate Your Feelings
Rejection hurts no matter what situation you find yourself in. Other people might try and encourage you to get over it, but if you happen to have a higher sensitivity to rejection, the pain can still linger. According to Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., rejection can also involve other uncomfortable emotions, such as embarrassment and awkwardness. Before you start trying to recover from the rejection, it is important to acknowledge your feelings. Trying to ignore your feelings will not allow you to manage the overall fear of rejection.
Stop Thought Spirals
The fear of rejection can lead you to imagine the worst-case scenarios of situations that have not happened yet. People with the fear of rejection can stop themselves from being successful because the scenarios that they create can start small and grow big quickly. If you are rejected from one job, your fear of rejection can make you worry that the other jobs you apply to will not accept you and will make it impossible for you to advance in your career, and so on. According to Legg, this type of negative thought spiral is called catastrophizing, it is usually not realistic, and you can combat it by making actionable backup plans or coming up with counterarguments to your fears.
Reject Negative Self-Talk
An important aspect of trying to overcome your fear of rejection is changing your mindset. Your fear of rejection can stem from expecting what may not happen. According to author Carla Valencia, you should not anticipate negative things, instead, try to focus on the positive that can occur. If you find it difficult, you can also surround yourself with optimistic people that can help you see the good in the rejection. Being rejected can make you feel like it is your fault, and cause you to self-criticize, but if you change your perspective it can help you look at the situation in a different light.
Remember Your Worth
Rejection can be frightening when you spend too much time reading into it. For example, you could have gone on a few dates with someone, but they suddenly stop responding to your calls and texts. You may begin to think the rejection is because of who you are or if you are not attractive, but it could just be that they think you don’t match their needs. According to Legg, building up self-confidence and self-worth can help you remember that you are worthy of love, and will lead you to be less afraid of continuing your search for it.
Do Not Take It Personally
Sometimes, rejection is not due to who you are. It can be that the other person is not searching for what you have to offer or they are just not searching at all. According to Myke Macapinlac, creator of Social Confidence Mastery, if you want to learn how to overcome the fear of rejection, you can’t take anything personally. Sometimes you try to approach someone who already was having a bad day or the person who turns you down doesn’t know you as well as you wish they did. People can be rejecting your approach, but not you as a person.
Learn from Rejections
The way to get over your fear of rejection is by learning from those in the past. You could ask yourself what you could have done differently to get better results. It can become an opportunity for self-discovery and growth. An example could be if you got rejected from a job, instead of mopping around being sad, look at what you could fix on your resume, so you get accepted the next time you apply somewhere. In a romantic rejection, you can reflect on what you are seeking in a partner and the qualities you have to offer. Reframing your fear as a chance for growth can make it easier to try for what you want and lessen the pain if you fail, according to Legg.
Face Your Fears
The most important step in overcoming your fear of rejection is putting yourself out there, even though you could experience rejection, but you might not. Brian Jones, a therapist in Seattle, suggests creating a “fear hierarchy,” or a list of steps associated with your fear of rejection, and work through them. You may not be ready right away to put yourself out there but taking it a little at a time can help lessen the fear.