How To Overcome Your Fear Of Rejection And Stop Feeling So Isolated
You know the feeling, and it can be scary to admit: you don’t know how to overcome your fear of rejection and stop feeling so isolated.
While it seems counterintuitive, some people are addicted to rejection and isolation. Live that pattern long enough it can seem normal, but even a familiar bad rut is still a rut and there’s no time like the present for busting out of it…provided you want to.
Time for a change
Are you ready to bust out of the rejection and isolation rut? It’s a big change to make, but it’s easier if you honestly want it. No one can make it happen for you, but expert guidance is always available for those with a genuine intention to change for good. How do you know if your intention is genuine? Because it’s all about you: this is something you want for yourself – not to please anyone else. If that describes you, right now, welcome aboard.
How to meet fear with confidence
First, let’s deal with fear in general, then we’ll visit fear of rejection specifically.
Will you agree that it is possible to be scared without negative consequences? Fear can help us stay safe; it doesn’t always have to be the big monster under the bed. Like many feelings, there is a spectrum to fear that ranges from immobilizing terror through anxiety to gentle concern to annoyance. Little things that bother us can be dealt with more easily than bigger scarier things such as losing a job or escaping a terrifying natural disaster. These sorts of guiding fears are useful since they propel us to find safety.
To deal with fear efficiently we must meet it full on. We’re going to discuss that next. The idea is that you start your practice with the little fears – things that just bug you. As you gain confidence in dealing with them, they will become more familiar and hold less of a bothersome energy for you. With more experience, you will become braver, and find that you are able to relax into that new, more courageous, less frightening place. When you are rested, your new confidence will help you confront bigger fears, perhaps the ones that cause you some anxiety.
When you have mastered anxiety and rested, take on the next level of fear. Over time – and it does take time and commitment – this practice will reward you with a confidence you may never have dreamed was possible.
How to meet your fear in safety
I enjoy taking on strong emotions, including fear, by setting them to music. There are so many ways to dial up scary music; use your favorite streaming source or sign on to one for free (giving up your email address is a small price to pay to be able to do this work in safety). Scary music for you may be different than for me, but lots of streaming services will offer you ways to identify a mood and then skip through songs until you find one that really makes the hairs on your neck rise.
Once you have one or two songs that give you goosebumps, you can sit with headphones and let yourself feel fear with complete assurance that you can turn off the triggering music any time, or play peaceful, joyous music to get you back to neutral. This simple exercise will get you safely engaged with the feeling of fear.
The scary music you chose is the soundtrack for your practice. Listen to it and connect the feeling with something from real life that scares you. All that’s necessary here is to allow the scary thing to fully capture your imagination while the music plays. You want that fear to do its worst! After all, sitting safely in a comfortable chair listening to music is about a safe as you can be, and since you can stop the music any time, you have complete control over the experience. You want to really feel the fear, and music helps do that for you.
Why train yourself to meet fear in this way?
Why do this? Because the more you train yourself to meet fear, the less power that fear holds for you.
Let me say that again: the more you train to meet fear – the more you become familiar with that process – the less it will scare you. All it takes is your commitment to fully feel the fear – to get close enough to it – so that you will recognize both when it arrives and when it goes.
Welcome the fear feeling and allow it to flow through you, leaving us in a more neutral, less frightening emotional state.
Most of us are good at noticing the arrival of fear, but not so disciplined at allowing it to flow through us. We tend to run away before the lesson in the fear takes up residence within us. The lesson is what we want, but we only get that reward when the scary energy has passed. This practice can help you understand why. What will you learn? Your own unique and beautiful lesson. When will that lesson become clear? When you no longer feel that the fear has hold of you. Holding on to fear is not the same as letting that fear flow through and away from you. Being perpetually scared restricts your ability to find the lesson that particular fear holds for you.
Fear of rejection
Social media, acquaintances, colleagues at work, random strangers – we live in a world where being liked has somehow become equated with self-worth. In reality, it’s not that way, but all of us are subject to this particular fear at some point in our lives. Sometimes it visits us often; at other times it can persist for years. Fear of rejection is a valid fear to meet and overcome. Your awareness of it means you’re ready to do exactly that.
I feel that popular music plays into our fears. Music about victimization, mistreatment, self-image, co-dependency, and loss of relationships tends to feed rejection, often without an offer of hope and encouragement. This means that it’s easy to find music that enables an isolated, rejected feeling!
To work through that isolated rejected feeling, you need to go there with intent. Music helps put boundaries on this practice; you can allow the feeling for one or two repetitions of a song or short playlist – whatever amount of time provides you with a sense of completion around the fear of rejection. Stay as scared as possible for as long as possible! You will know your practice is complete when the prickly, icicle-like fingers of fear lose their grip on you. It’s fine to repeat this process several times to reach that place; that’s why it’s called practice.
After you’ve mastered fear of rejection…
But wait: that’s it?
Good question. Yes: that’s it. It’s simple, really, but it does take effort and commitment to master any fear – to reach a place where the scary energy dissipates and you can think clearly about what to do next.
In this practice around fear of rejection, you may find that there are degrees of fear: rejection in a relationship breakup can feel different than having a project rejected by your boss, for example. Each type of fear demands its own practice, and the same process applies to them all.
What’s that process again? Instead of running away to hide, safely meet the fear for what it is – one kind of emotional energy that human beings experience – and let it move through you with conscious awareness that it will do exactly that. Stuffing that fear deep inside restricts its flow and, like a rechargeable battery, there’s only so much emotion any of us can contain. Trapping it inside isn’t healthy. If you allow that energy to flow, you may find that it can also power some useful activity.
The confidence your practice has given you needs to become part of your real life. In some small way, use that confidence to act without fear of rejection. For example, offer to bring a colleague coffee. Do something kind for someone who doesn’t expect it. This, too, is part of practice: what we master in the practice room must eventually be ready for the concert stage, and often we test our practice in smaller ways before the big performance. Practicing small acts “in the wild” allows us to continually build confidence in our new skills.
Connecting the fear-busting practice that you do safely in private with ever-more-meaningful real-life acts is your way forward. The point is to gain practical, useful experience with the energy of fear in a new way – a way that offers your less-fearful self an opportunity to feel acceptance, not rejection.
When fear hits back
We really have no control over how others will respond to what we say or do. This type of practice can’t change others! Instead, it changes our own ability to become resilient in the face of fear of rejection. The practice of allowing that fear to become familiar allows us to use the very power that formerly scared us to enhance our confidence.
We need that confidence because rejection isn’t going away. What does go away as we become more adroit practitioners is our fear of rejection. One benefit of this practice for fear is that rejection bounces off our psyche like rainwater off oilcloth. Ironically, fear itself supplies the energy to do this!
Fear will hit back. There will be attempts to use your mastery of fear that fail. Life is like that. But persistence in practice is all it takes to be successful. Build on the little steps up to bigger ones, and know that you will achieve the confidence you deserve. It’s normal to try, fail, and feel discouraged. It’s also normal to win. Our clear intention and effort are enough; every time we fail but choose not to give up we strengthen our resilience.
Walking out of isolation into acceptance
Practicing in public is your opportunity to walk out of isolation and into acceptance. The example you set in public offers inspiration to others who are also bound to fear and rejection in the same way you used to be, and that example is admirable. You will find others reach out to you with questions that you can answer, and that you become stronger working together.
Provided you have put in the practice, this walk out of fear of rejection and into acceptance is a natural one. Take it. You deserve it. Let us know about your success. We look forward to that.
Your partner along the way
Would you like someone to walk beside you during this process? We can help. Reach out to us here.
How To Overcome Your Fear Of Rejection And Stop Feeling So Isolated