Do you hold back from trying to start new relationships because you often worry that you will be rejected?
If a fear of rejection is holding you back from forming new friendships or relationships, there is help available. You can learn to greatly overcome your fear of getting rejected.
One of the reasons why rejection can cause us so much difficulty is that in our minds we often tie rejection to so many other ugly words that cause us even more pain. Humiliated. Inadequate. Useless. Loser. Not good enough. Pathetic.
The more we dwell negatively upon an instance of rejection, the harder it becomes to get up the courage to face another occasion when we might get rejected again.
Rejection is often much more troubling to those people who are very emotionally sensitive, who have low self-esteem, or who have had a very dysfunctional or abusive childhood.
There is good news though. Even if you are very emotionally sensitive or shy, even if you didn’t get much emotional support as you were growing up, you can still learn to change the way you talk to yourself about the experience of rejection.
You will have to practice a lot to change the way you think about rejection, and you may need the help of a good therapist to point out new, more supportive ways of thinking.
If you have decided to continue interacting with other human beings and try to make some of them your friends, you must be prepared to accept this fact: occasionally some people will reject you.
As terrifying as this may seem, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood that rejection will occur, and you can actually learn to make rejection a less painful experience for you.
Here is a brief summary of steps you can take to overcome your fear of rejection:
- Remind yourself why you want to overcome your fear of rejection. Remind yourself that your goal is to have a happy social life.
- Change what you say to yourself about rejection. Don’t tie your self worth to whether or not you get accepted or rejected by other people.
- Take a series of baby steps when developing new relationships.
- Look for signs of receptiveness in the other person.
- Deliberately set out to collect as many rejections as you can
- When you are out making approaches to other people, tell yourself that it’s just practice, it doesn’t count.
- Make many, many social approaches to other people.
One way that you can lessen the likelihood and frequency of rejection is to allow your relationships to develop slowly. Take baby steps. When relationships develop slowly, you must still make efforts to approach the other person, but your efforts will be low key and casual, rather than intense.
During each interaction with the person you wish to befriend, notice that person’s body language and facial expressions. Are you getting encouraging smiles and nods? Is that person’s body posture open or closed? Do you sense an eagerness to continue the conversation?
If the other person shows signs of enjoying your company and seems eager to continue your conversations, then he or she will probably be receptive to any overtures you make and any invitations you extend.
Although it may sound terrifying, one of the best ways to overcome a fear of rejection is to deliberately put yourself into situations where you get rejected a lot. This strategy is actually used by some therapists who specialize in the treatment of shyness.
If you actually confront the situations in which you feel anxious, your anxiety may lessen as you become more used to dealing with the feared event. But you may need help from a therapist to show you how to subsitute new ways of thinking about rejection in the place of your previous negative and self attacking thoughts.
By proving to yourself that you can face up to your fears, they will eventually lose their power over you.
If you are terrified of rejection, you may have thoughts like, “My self worth depends totally on whether other people approve of me and accept me. If people do not approve of me, I’ll be completely devastated and feel horrible because it means I’m worthless. If anyone rejects me it means that probably everyone will continue to reject me my whole life.”
We can become so completely overwhelmed by the negative emotions that follow this sort of thinking that we don’t notice what distortions we have introduced into our thinking processes.
If you persist in developing the habit of making many social overtures to other people, you will come to realize that occasional rejection is simply a part of life. It does not mean you are a flawed human being.
Even though we can’t control whether or not other people reject us, we can control how we react to rejection.
We don’t need to condemn ourselves when we are rejected, and we don’t need to stop interacting with other people just because there is a chance they might reject us.
When we give up interacting with others, not only do we give up some occasional pain and discomfort, but we also miss out on all the potential warmth, comfort, fun and excitement that other human beings can offer us.
Remember, if you never put yourself in a situation where someone can say “no” to you, you will also never be in a situation where someone can say “yes” to you.
The more often you put yourself in situations where you interact with others, the more you will face the likelihood that some of those people will reject you.
But you will also increase the odds that some of those people will accept you.
The main person whose acceptance you really, really need, is YOU!
This article is by relationships author Royane Real, author of the special report "How You Can Overcome Your Fear of Rejection" To improve your social life and overcome loneliness, download it today at http://www.lulu.com/real