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7 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Rejection

Living with the fear of rejection can be quite detrimental to our quality of life as it tends to impact and influence many aspects of our everyday experience. You hold back your opinions about certain things because you fear that other people might disapprove or disagree. The fear of rejection has such a firm hold over your life that you are afraid to be different — afraid to be uniquely yourself. As a result, you end up copying how other people act, talk, and dress.

What I learned from 100 days of rejection - Jia Jiang

Subsequently, you begin to live this illusory life that has absolutely no basis in reality. There is, of course, nothing wrong with modeling other people. You do it all the time. In fact, everybody does it all the time without conscious thought or awareness. Modeling comes from your intention to improve yourself and your livelihood.

In other words, you are modeling others to improve yourself. On the other hand, copying is something that you do out of fear. You temporarily lose touch with who you are in a feeble attempt to please other people. This implies that you have an external locus of control, which means that your entire livelihood, happiness , and fulfillment in life is dependent on external factors. All the emotions you experience are primarily based on what other people think and say about you. As a result, your life is an emotional roller coaster ride. You have essentially lost all sense of identity and consistently struggle to find self-acceptance.

You might not realize this, but your fear of rejection is coming across as a sense of neediness. You rely on other people to make you feel happy, you crave positive attention, and you find it extremely difficult to say no. As a result, they will either manipulate you for their own purposes, or they will simply take you for granted. Either way, you lose. People like to associate with individuals who are confident and who value their own personal worth. These are the kind of people that are rarely manipulated or taken for granted.

They are the kind of people you should model and aspire to become. To live with the fear of rejection is to live a life of extreme dissatisfaction and guilt. All this, of course, stems back to a lack of self-esteem, which essentially sits at the core of our feelings of rejection. As hard as it might be to believe, you were actually not born fearing rejection.


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But today, there are real legitimate reasons why you continue to suffer from the fear of rejection. Here are some ideas of how this fear has continued to linger in your life. The primary reason the fear of rejection is prevalent in your life is often due to a lack of self-esteem. You fear rejection because you have a low value and opinion of yourself. As a result, you look to others for cues to help you feel better about yourself. Often low self-esteem stems back to childhood experiences. In fact, certain events might have taken place that naturally made you doubt your sense of worth.

It could even have been one significant traumatic experience of rejection that immediately transformed your view of the world and of other people. As a result, you became incredibly insecure in certain situations. This concept is not always used in reference to a man and a woman. When it is used in such a manner, it can have the effect of furthering the belief that when a woman turns a man down, she may not really mean it or may give a different answer in the future, thus implying that women, or any individual who rejects another, cannot be responsible for their own attractions or dating preferences and may not know what they want.

The "friend zone" can also be said to contribute to heterosexist beliefs, as another basis for the concept is the assumption that individuals are heterosexual unless they state otherwise, or that heterosexuality is the "normal" sexual orientation. Using the term friend zone is not necessarily harmful. A person who jokingly states, "I was put in the friend zone again," may be able to accept this and move on easily. However, the concept is considered by many to be grounded in ideas that can be harmful.

Thus, it may be helpful to find a different way to describe a situation where one has been rejected, and those who experience difficulty coping with rejection may find help and support in therapy. See More. Mental health professionals who meet our membership requirements can take advantage of benefits such as:. Get Listed Login. Good Therapy. Get Help Learn About. Overcoming Rejection. Contents v Rejection Overcoming Rejection. Fear of Rejection The feeling of rejection is believed to have developed as an evolutionary tool to alert early humans who were at risk of being ostracized from the tribe they belonged to.

Psychological Effects of Rejection Rejection can be extremely painful because it may have the effect of making people feel as if they are not wanted, valued, or accepted. For example, children who feel consistently rejected by their parents may find it difficult to succeed at school and in relationships with their peers.

How to Overcome Fear of Rejection

Some individuals develop a chronic fear of rejection, often as a result of multiple traumatic experiences with rejection early in life. Depression: Rejection has been linked to the development of depression in teen girls; however, others who experience rejection may also become depressed. Further, bullying , which is essentially a combination of ostracism and rejection, can have numerous negative effects, including depression, stress, eating disorders , and self-harming behaviors. Pain response: Research has shown that the brain responds to social pain in a way that is similar to the way that it responds to physical pain.

According to research, the same brain pathways that are activated by physical pain are also activated by social pain, or rejection. Receptor systems in the brain also release natural painkillers opioids when an individual experiences social pain, the same as when physical pain is experienced. Anxiety and stress: Rejection might often contribute to pre-existing conditions such as stress and anxiety or lead to their development.

Similarly, these and other mental health conditions can exacerbate feelings of rejection. Abuse: One study found that, in the male members of the study, the perpetration of abuse in intimate relationships was associated with the experience of higher levels of parental rejection in childhood.

Symptoms of posttraumatic stress and deficits in social information processing were also linked. Types of Rejection Rejection occurs in a variety of contexts, and any mental health implications by depend partly on the circumstances under which the rejection occurred.

Some common types of rejection include: Familial rejection: Rejection from one's family of origin , typically parental rejection, may consist of abuse, abandonment , neglect , or the withholding of love and affection. This form of rejection is likely to affect an individual throughout life, and it may have serious consequences. Social rejection: This type of rejection may occur at any age and can often begin in childhood.

Cognitively-based therapies can help us identify our catastrophic thoughts, question them, and replace them with more healthy, realistic thinking. If we can have a more friendly, accepting relationship with the feelings that arise within us as a result of being rejected, then we can heal more readily and move on with our lives.

A big part of our fear of rejection may be our fear of experiencing hurt and pain. We withdraw from people rather than risk reaching out. We hold back from expressing our authentic feelings. We abandon others before they have a chance to reject us. Being human, we long to be accepted and wanted. It hurts to be rejected and to experience loss. If we can notice our self-criticisms and tendency to sink into the shame of being a failure and accept our pain just as it is, we move toward healing.


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  • We can allow ourselves to feel sorrow, loss, fear, loneliness , anger , or whatever feelings arise that are part of our grieving. Just as we grieve and gradually heal when someone close to us dies often with the support of friends , we can heal when faced with rejection. We can also learn from our experience, which allows us to move forward in a more empowered way. We may benefit by processing our feelings with a caring, empathic therapist, as well as availing ourselves of trusted friends who know how to listen rather than dispense unwanted advice.

    It takes courage and creativity to bring a gentle awareness to what we may like to push away. As we become more confident that we can be with whatever experience arises as a result of connecting with people, we can initiate, deepen, and enjoy relationships in a more relaxed and fulfilling way. Thanks for reading my article. That's always been my take on rejection, and my fear If I'm rejected, then respect for the other's boundaries demands that I be OK with that. Even as the rejection has taken another moment away in which I may have counted as personal and social werewithal.

    Even as I lose another opportunity to practice personal skills Being a decent person requires finding equanimity, even joy, in the other's unilateral decision and moving on I don't learn as well from failure as from success. Rejection means my life experience counts for less. Because we become who we are in large part through our relationships, bcause we are social animals, we don't think experience gathered alone is worth as much as experience shared with others. We can't learn to be a lover, not in any way but vicariously, if another person does not consent and operate with us to provide that romantic experience.

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    We don't learn to be persuasive without successfully persuading others to our point of view. How many are required, really, before we earn the right to call ourselves persuasive? One a week, a few a month?