The fear of rejection is one of the biggest and most common fears people face. It’s the kind of fear that stops us from doing the things we want to do and living the life we want to live.
This fear is so strong that people would go out of their way to not get rejected. In fact, studies have shown that rejection uses similar neural pathways as if we would experience physical pain. That explains the pain.
However, what rejection really is? In our minds, we imagine being yelled at, being shamed, or something similar. Yet, if you look at it from a rational point of view, in most cases (probably a 90% at least) it’s just a “No thank you.” That’s it! No shaming, no yelling whatsoever.
So why does it affect us so much?
Let’s travel back hundreds of thousands of years to the caveman times when we lived in the tribes.
Getting rejected by a tribe could literally mean the difference between life and death. If you somehow managed to get yourself cast out of the tribe, you were as good as dead. In those harsh conditions, surviving alone was almost impossible.
This is why we have such a strong emotional response. Our brain - that uses the same hardware chip that a caveman had - simply freaks out and tries to keep us from harm.
Nowadays, it doesn’t matter how much you get rejected; nothing changes - except your chances of success. We’re not going to die no matter how many “tribes” reject us.
We all know the story of J.K. Rowling being rejected by 12 or something publishers for the Harry Potter book. Yet she kept persisting, and at some point, got a “yes.”
What we have to realize is that rejection does not say anything about us. It doesn’t define us. We’re still the same person.
By being afraid of rejection, we miss out on so many opportunities. But we would never know because we never try.
And the truth is, that there’s absolutely no way around rejection. It’s impossible always to get a “yes.” So we better accept it as a part of our lives. Rejection is nothing personal. It’s part of the deal.
However, if you constantly get rejected, then instead of becoming bitter, take it as feedback. It tells you that maybe there’s something to be changed in your behavior, attitude, or the way you come across.
Just remind yourself that there’s no limit on how many times you can get rejected - you can get rejected unlimited times.
Besides, the more you get rejected, the stronger your mind will become. The less you’ll care. It’s just a fact of life that not everyone will like you, and you will also not like everyone. That’s the way it is and the way it should be.
Last but not least, rejection trains you to not be dependent on the outcome. You’ll start to feel comfortable in your own skin. You’ll stay true to yourself and who you are without seeking approval.