There was a time when being rejected by the group could be life threatening. Imagine living thousands of years ago. People relied on each other just to stay alive. That fear still resides within us, even though it’s no longer necessary.
Just because the fear of rejection is no longer useful doesn’t mean it’s easy to overcome. The fear of rejection is among the most influential of all fears. The fear of others judging you can be very limiting.
Try these strategies to let go of this fear and welcome greater confidence and joy:
1. Consider the worst outcome that’s likely to happen. If you ask out that pretty woman, what is the worst likely outcome? Do you think she might say, “No”? Odds are that it won’t even be that bad. She’ll probably find an excuse to let you down gently. Then again, she might say “Yes”!
- If you try for that great job and don’t get it, what do you stand to lose? A few hours of your time?
- Interestingly, the scariest situations often have little to no risk, but a huge potential for something good to happen. What are you really risking?
2. Make of list of the positive potential outcomes. That beautiful stranger might turn out to be your soulmate. That new job might be the best job you’ve ever had. Make a list of everything good that might happen.
3. Take a deep breath. Your body can lead your emotions. Deep breathing oxygenates your blood and slows your heart rate. Deep breathing feels good. Focus on your breathing and remove your focus away from your fear.
4. Act anyway. Fear and discomfort are lousy excuses for not doing something, provided your life isn’t in danger. Your subconscious is lousy at judging the effects of emotional threats. You have nothing to lose. Allow your logic to overrule the uncomfortable feelings you’re experiencing. With practice, your body will adjust and stop making you feel bad.
5. Remember that the world tends to make erroneous rejections. Many college basketball teams rejected Larry Bird. Many bestselling novels were rejected numerous times before someone finally published them. Even the Beatles struggled to get a record deal.
- Fools that don’t know any better reject even the most talented people.
6. Examine previous rejections. Consider the times in your life that you’ve been rejected. Was it horrible? What did you experience? Now consider your successes. Was your greatest success worth the greatest rejection you’ve suffered? Of course it was.
7. The fear is the worst part. The rejection itself is much less painful than the anticipation of rejection. Keep your thoughts focused on a positive outcome. You can sneak around the fear of rejection and enjoy greater success.
8. Give yourself the opportunity to be wrong. Most of us are much worse at predicting the future than we think we are. Even if you’re quite sure you’ll be rejected, you’ll frequently be wrong. Instead of assuming you know the truth, prove yourself right or wrong by taking the leap. Let the world decide. Never assume you’ll fail. Prove it.
9. Use rejection as an opportunity for growth. When things don’t work out, you’ve been provided with an occasion to learn something valuable. What can you do better next time? What mistakes did you make?
Avoid allowing the fear of failure to control your actions. An exciting and fulfilling life requires risk and hope. Allow yourself to fail, but avoid allowing the belief of failure to paralyze you. You never know the outcome until you try. You might surprise yourself and end up enjoying the best thing that ever happened to you!