My fear of rejection has kept me small and misunderstood.
It took me a long time (up until my late 20’s) to truly understand the impact this has had on my life.
When I look back with kindness, compassion and critical reflection
I can see how I have sabotaged myself and negatively impacted those around me time and time again.
In romantic relationships.
As an employee.
In many instances I was scared to be myself as I had the belief that people wouldn’t like me if they knew who I was at a behind the mask. So I took my superpower of humour and used it as my only tool of connection, ultimately rarely letting friends see the whole me.
I wanted to be loved, so I love bombed romantic partners (sometimes for years) but believed that they would ultimately leave me, so when I thought our relationship was at its peak, I left first.
Many times I sat passively in meetings, scared to say a word in case I appeared ‘stupid’. I thought voicing my opinion or thoughts (if they were different to others around me) would make people like me less. When I did raise my voice, I felt unsafe in my body and was quick to deck chair if others disagreed. Instead of confidently raising concerns with compassion, humility and curiosity, I left jobs for other roles. I ran.
And now in my 30’s, as have started to step fully into running my own business, I get to take these lessons and address them head on. I have become conscious, and I am not willing to have the fear of rejection impact me for the rest of my life.
That’s not to say this won’t continue to come up from time to time, but being aware and keen to do the work helps us get curious and reach out for the support we need.
So what can you do if you know a fear of rejection is wreaking havoc on the person you are here to be? Well firstly consider reaching out to professionals you feel comfortable with (I myself use meditation to reprogram limiting beliefs with clients). But, you also may find the below helpful.
Step 1: Decide on what you would like your beliefs to be about yourself. Affirmations such as the below may be helpful.
‘I am unique and incredible just as I am’
‘I am lovable’
‘I have valuable contributions to make to the world’
‘I am safe to express my thoughts’
‘I am confident in my ability to share a message with kindness and compassion’
‘Others love me for who I am innately am, as I love who I innately am’
Write these affirmations or ones you choose often. Put them around your house. Repeat them at set intervals throughout the day.
Step 2: Visualise
Use a Creative Visualisation meditation or spend time imaging yourself in all different situations acting confidently. Your brain is this incredible thing that can’t distinguish between something you are imagining and something that is physically happening to you. Its all happening people! He he. So spending time in this state to build the reality that you want.
Step 3: Practice and collect evidence
When you notice yourself pulling back in a relationship or not speaking up at work, pause and take a breath. Get curious as to why you are doing this. Is it because you genuinely aren’t fulfilled in the relationship anymore? Is it because you genuinely have nothing you want to contribute to the conversation?
After you have taken a moment or two, practice pushing past old beliefs you may have had. In a meeting, speak up ‘I have something to contribute to xyz’. It doesn’t matter if the conversation has moved on, your experience, expertise and soul has something to contribute right now and that is important.
Step 4: Redefine the meaning of rejection
We sometimes think that something catastrophic will happen if we are challenged on our ideas or lose a friendship. But the reality is, likely we will learn something or we will get to have an open and vulnerable conversation with someone who loves us.
But ultimately, if we are solid in ourselves, and our abilities, rejection is meaning an opportunity to expand.
Has a fear of rejection impacted on your ability to express yourself fully? I feel like we are all a a part of a very big club.
Image: In the middle left and bottom there are three separate images of me. In each I am smiling but in the middle image I have my eyes closed. I am wearing my hair in a pony tail with a purple scrunchie and a vibrant purple, pink and green jacket. The background of these images is pale blue. At the top of the image is the text ‘The fear of rejection does not get to come with me’. On top of the bottom right image is the text ‘The Love and Purpose Project’. The entire background to the image is dark pink with squiggly lines throughout. The centre is lit up in a warm orange colour.