Overcoming a Fear of Rejection


Many phobias and fears have roots in the physical world – but few can truly impact all aspects of our lives so deeply as the fear of rejection. It’s raw emotion – and it truly speaks to our highest vulnerabilities. No one likes rejection – and, to some extent, we are all afraid of it. The difference lies in that fear’s degree and power over you.

Exploring the Fear of Rejection

A fear of rejection reaches into every aspect of our lives – dating, marriage, meeting new people, job interviews and business dealings – there is no limit.

In dating, you might fear that you’ll get turned down or rejected if you ask someone out. Or worse, you become afraid that they will reject you later, breaking your heart. In marriage, a fear of rejection can go far beyond fear of rejection in the bedroom, ultimately growing into feelings of jealousy or resentment toward your partner as a result of your own inability to express yourself and your own wants and opinions due to your fears.

Socially, you might miss out on opportunities if your fear is so far reaching that you simply avoid social situations that require you to meet and interact with new people for fear of not fitting in or being accepted.

Professionally, your fear of rejection could hinder your performance in a job interview or, worse, prevent you from going for what it is that you truly want professionally because you are too afraid of them saying “no” or not making the cut. Later in business, you could miss key business opportunities if you are simply too afraid of a prospect or potential client turning you down.

Yes, it takes guts and plenty of confidence to go after what you want – and there is always a risk of someone saying no. But, as they say, “you will always miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” So how do you move past your fear of rejection to explore life when you know you are putting yourself at emotional risk?

Common Coping Mechanisms

Many people who experience a fear of rejection develop various coping mechanisms – unfortunately, many of these devices are to their detriment.

For example, many people develop a “mask personality” of sorts – a carefully manicured and packaged persona that they use when interacting with others that is not actually their true self; though intended to protect their true self’s emotions and feelings, it also prevents them from developing true, meaningful relationships.

Many also go out of their way to avoid confrontation, causing them to bury their own wants. Unfortunately, this is not a natural behavior on a consistent basis as we all have things that we want or opinions. All too often, these people over time develop passive-aggressive behavior as a result of not getting their desires met or heard. This behavior is not necessarily intentional – it may manifest in ways, such as simply forgetting to do something, such as keeping a promise, working inefficiently at something, or simply producing low caliber work products.

Beware of these mechanisms and carefully evaluate if any of them sound like you. While they may help you to bury your fear in the short run, the only way to truly heal and move forward is to conquer your fear head on.

Overcoming the Fear of Rejection

Many people have success by simply creating and reciting their own mantras and encouragements. By forcing themselves into a situation, they are able to better explore the results. For others, it’s about visualizing success and letting go of their own propensity to imagine the worst case scenario.

The path to overcoming a fear of rejection is a bit different for everyone, but there are hundreds of techniques and options available to you.

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