The fear of rejection is a challenging fear to deal with because it is so engrained in the social aspect of human nature. It requires a wholesale change in perspective. However, there is great value and freedom in overcoming it. With some self-honesty and persistence, you can use the following process to learn how to overcome the fear of rejection.
Before I show you the process of how to overcome being afraid of rejection, it can help to look at the roots of this fear.
What you’re really afraid of with rejection is the fear of abandonment or being alone. This is rooted in being afraid of suffering as you subconsciously believe that being abandoned socially will make it harder for you to survive. This fear of suffering is therefore ultimately rooted in the fear of death and the unknown. These root fears are certainly not easy to overcome, but exploring and understanding them can loosen the grip of the fear of rejection.
Again, given how engrained being afraid of rejection is in human nature, there is no quick fix, but you can be transformed with time and persistence. Learn more about the process of addressing the roots of fears in How to Overcome Fear in 3 Powerful Steps.
Now that you have an understanding of the psychological source of this type of fearfulness, the following process will help you overcome it.
1. Notice when you feel the fear of rejection.
The fear of rejection often shows itself in the form of other emotions or behaviors. Sometimes it is not easy to realize or acknowledge it. When you’re experiencing this fear, it’s important to catch it. A good way to know is if you find yourself being defensive in a way that is emotionally uncomfortable. When you notice this, it’s helpful to take the next steps in the process. If the timing isn’t right to do it when the raw emotion arises, note it for later so that you can explore it further.
2. Experience the physical sensations of the fear.
Fearfulness takes a very clear physical form in the body. Allow the fear of rejection to fully arise and notice the uncomfortable physical sensations that come with it. Notice where exactly these sensations reside. They might be noticed in the face, arms, chest or stomach. They can be anywhere or many places at once. Become aware of where it’s located and allow yourself to feel the uncomfortable sensations fully.
3. Fully accept the fear.
Now that you’ve noticed and experienced the physical aspects of the fear, it’s time to fully surrender to it. Say “YES” to the fearfulness, its uncomfortable physical sensations, and all thoughts about outcomes related to it. Let it be there without trying to make it stop or go away. You can also do this with the root fears that were described at the beginning of this article. This can be a challenging step, but it’s a critical part of how to overcome being afraid of rejection. This surrendering of the mind opens up a perspective that is filled with inner strength.
4. Become aware of what is aware of the fear.
As you say “YES” to the fear, notice what is aware of the fearfulness in that moment. You have fearful physical sensations and thoughts, but those sensations and thoughts are observed by something within you, and that is your consciousness. Your consciousness senses the sensations and thoughts, but it is unfazed by all of it. It simply observes the sensations and thoughts as they come and go.
5. Allow your awareness to take the forefront of your experience.
When you become aware that your consciousness or awareness is not fazed by the fear, your mind indirectly gets permission to let go. This is how your identity can shift from hanging on to the fear to pure awareness. This shift will naturally help you realize the strength of awareness in your experience, which enables you to fully overcome being afraid of rejection in the moment. Learn more about how to experience this “observer” or “witnessing” perspective in How to Find Yourself Through Awareness of Awareness.
It can also help to realize that the person or people that you are afraid will reject you will only do it out of their own misled fears. Whether you have made a mistake or just acted in a way that they disagree with, if they reject you because of it, they are simply afraid to continue to associate with you because of their own root fears, which are often also related to rejection. Seeing this reality can help you accept the possibility of their rejection, and you now get the opportunity to break the pattern.
As you become more familiar with this process, your fearfulness of rejection will occur less frequently in your life, and the reaction will become weaker and less gripping. You will instead find yourself experiencing more inner strength, courage, and confidence, and eventually this fear will not be an issue at all.
Don’t be discouraged if the information about awareness or observing the fearfulness from the perspective of consciousness doesn’t resonate with you at first, or if you have a hard time experiencing this directly. The important thing is that you are persistent with the steps and that you allow yourself to fully feel and accept the fear of rejection. With time and patience, you will find that letting go of this fear becomes a natural part of your life and gives you a lasting experience of well-being and fulfillment.