Since October is the month of Halloween, I decided to use the month’s Monday Motivations to focus on overcoming some fears. I plan to be incredibly honest about some of the fears I struggle with and how I try to overcome them. The first one is perhaps the most crippling for me: The Fear of Rejection.
I read an article by John Amodeo, PhD who summarized the origins of this fear:
The fear of rejection is one of our deepest human fears. Biologically wired with a longing to belong, we fear being seen in a critical way. We’re anxious about the prospect of being cut off, demeaned, or isolated. We fear being alone. We dread change.
In my case, the fear is not based on being alone, rather, outright being rejected. There have been instances in my childhood when friends and family rejected me because I was different or held a different opinion. I feel these instances created this fear and I have allowed it to dominate nearly every decision since. I have allowed this fear to create doubt in my ability and have often struggled with the belief that I am unlovable or have little value to anyone outside of what I can provide.
The effects of this belief have led to missed opportunities throughout life including new jobs, new relationships etc. I have stayed in jobs that were unsatisfying and relationships that were unhealthy primarily because I was too afraid to try something new because of this fear.
How do I cope with the fear of rejection?
- Keep things in perspective. It’s not necessarily about you. It might just be bad timing or it’s the wrong path. Understand that, accept that and move forward.
- Keep a journal. Journaling helps you just get thoughts out of your head which is a major battle sometimes. It also gives you the chance to go back and read your thoughts to determine what is real and what isn’t. I’ve had some instances when I’ve read through my journal writing and realized that my perspective was wrong and I could look at it more objectively versus the thoughts running through my brain.
I hope if you struggle with this fear, these two methods will help you learn to keep it in check. I can’t guarantee this will be the silver bullet because I still struggle daily with this fear. They do help me keep it more under control.