How to overcome the fear of rejection

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Probably the number one reason people don’t put themselves out there more to find potential partners is fear of rejection. You want a date, you want a relationship – but you can’t stand the thought of getting hurt in the process of finding them. Your desire for love and connection fades as bad experiences and insecurity take over – and choosing to stay home alone, instead of going out into uncertain and scary dating territory, becomes an easier and easier decision.

People who do this often end up being alone for very long periods – years and decades. They wonder why they never meet anyone, but they simply don’t understand they are the ones sabotaging themselves. There is no gain without pain – and dating is no different in this than any other human activity. You simply can’t shield yourself from every possible hurt because you will be automatically shielding yourself from truly living too. And connection. And love. And all those good things you are craving for.

You cannot succeed in anything if you don’t try. And not just try once or twice and then give up. You have to try until you get what you want. That’s the only magical formula that exists in life, in any human achievement. If you give up, that’s it. You can rely on luck to get you what you want, but that leaves you with nothing but hope. Ask yourself: is passive longing really better than active striving?

If we didn’t fear the outcome of our actions we would all be much more successful in life. So why do we fear so much?

Fear of rejection is essentially fear of disapproval. We all want to be liked and loved, that is one of the most basic human needs. But we can never be liked and loved by everyone we meet. Same as we don’t ever like everyone we meet, right?

GET TO KNOW YOUR FEAR

In order to beat this fear you need to understand it. You need to get to know it, and in a broader sense – get to know yourself. You can do this by examining what exactly you’re afraid of here, and what would really happen if what you fear comes true. Most of our fears are very irrational, and that is because we never attempt to rationally think about them.

So ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen if I get rejected? Why do I think I have to be liked by everyone? Why do I think I have to be liked by majority? What if I am liked by only a handful of people I meet, is that really bad? What are the real consequences of someone saying ‘no’ to me?

You have to always keep in mind that you only need ONE partner to be in a happy relationship. So if out of 100 people 99 rejects you or you reject them, that is perfectly fine. Because you’ve found your one! And that’s all that matters, really.

But in order to find that one, you might need to go through 10 or 20 or even 100 dates. Is it worth the effort for you? If it isn’t, then maybe you are not that keen to find someone after all.

REJECTION IS HUMAN, WE ALL REJECT – YOU INCLUDED

The pain you feel when you are rejected by someone is the same pain everyone else on the planet feels. We all get rejected. Even the most charming, attractive and beautiful ones. So don’t think about yourself as the only victim of this phenomenon. Look at it as a normal, natural fact of life. Rejection means: I don’t think we are a match. What it doesn’t mean is: you are not good enough for me.

But the problem is, we usually think the latter. We take it too personally. We think that rejection means there is something wrong with us. And that is what truly hurts – the thought that we are unattractive, unworthy, damaged goods. But if you reverse the tables – you will see that you reject others too.

And you do it from the same reasons they do – you simply don’t see a great fit.

FEAR GOES AWAY BY DOING WHAT YOU’RE AFRAID OF

The best way to beat any fear is to face it. Doing the things that scare you makes your fear go away. If you go out on dates or into social situations that scare you, you will gradually get much better at them. You will see other people are just like you, and they are all looking for the same thing – to overcome their loneliness and connect with others.

The more you socialise and meet people, the better you will become at spotting what you truly like and need. You’ll get to know yourself. You’ll get to know others. You might even begin to like it, instead of dreading it.

AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST… LOVE YOURSELF

The only way to completely take away the pain and anxiety of rejection is to truly love, appreciate and respect yourself. When you do that, you will know we are all equally worthy, and you will feel your value and quality so strongly that you’ll never get offended if someone says ‘no’ to you.

In fact, you will be glad they did it, because you’ll know that whoever doesn’t like you, clearly isn’t a good match for you. You’d find that out yourself sooner or later, but by rejecting you from the start, they are actually saving you time and effort.

Whenever you get rejected, think about it as being one step closer to your goal.

The people we admire for their great achievements had to fail many times before they succeeded, only we don’t know about that part because we only see where they are now. They had different paths to success, and yours will certainly different too. But the one thing they all share is: they kept trying until they succeeded.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK

I know rejection is a big and common topic and I’d love to hear what you think.

I am sure you had some experience with it, so don’t be shy – share it with me and the lovely supportive community that reads and comments here. Thank you!

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14 Responses

  1. Mr G says:

    Just don’t give a damn about that rejection and move on to the next person period!

  2. Sheila B says:

    I’m not bothered by rejection. I can’t find anyone to date in the first place. I am confident I do not need fixing. If all the men I meet that I like are married that is demography and not some failing of mine.
    OK then Petra – would you explain how you fixed yourself or made yourself better or worked harder to find your husband? I am sure on a previous blog you mentioned ‘luck’.

    • Petra says:

      Hi Sheila! I wouldn’t call it a failing – but yes we are all responsible for our “luck” in love. I wasn’t able to find anyone suitable and single too, for years… until I realised it was me who was the filter. I had a belief “all good men are taken”, and I thought I wasn’t good enough to be loved as I am. There was more than that, but those were two big issues. As a result, I kept meeting men who were either taken or not interested enough or I wasn’t interested enough in them. It went on for years, in 2 countries (very different demography). When I changed my thinking, everything changed. I know it looks like we are just experiencing reality, but the truth is – we are experiencing a version of reality we are creating and filtering. Demography is just an excuse. A good one, but still an excuse.

      • Sheila B says:

        Hi Petra thanks for this – I am I have to admit at a loss. Do you mean change thinking and hey presto that means I will be in the right place at the right time to meet someone? An important point in your post “I kept meeting men who were taken or not interested etc.” wow! You actually met men? Believe me I am educated, outgoing, adventurous, have resources, am fit. I certainly believe I deserve to be loved and no – they are not all taken for the simple reason there are many women who won’t bother trying to find a partner after divorce or bereavement.
        Anyway Would you please explain exactly where to go to meet someone. There will be other readers who are thinking the same. You said somewhere else about trying offline. Where exactly.?
        What should I be doing at the places I am supposed to be going to? In reality – once again I am totally at a loss.

        • Petra says:

          Hi Sheila – yes, I do believe our thinking and feelings are the biggest obstacles. If you remove your internal barriers love will come your way. It really doesn’t matter where you roam, it will happen. When it comes to going out and meeting people – I believe we all have enough opportunities to socialise (unless we live in a very secluded and remote place) and we can find places and activities where we’ll meet new people. But if the issue is internal, we’ll probably be meeting unsuitable partners or we just simply won’t be attracted to anyone. You can argue this isn’t true because your experience is different – but your experience is a reflection of your thoughts and feelings about yourself and your chances to meet a partner, and that’s why you need to tackle those thoughts and feelings to change the experience. Otherwise things will stay the same.

  3. Daria says:

    Hi Petra,
    I’ve been wondering – is this really true? I’m 24 years old and I have never had a boyfriend. I’ve never met anyone who was interested in me enough to pursue a relationship with me. There was one guy who was interested, but I wasn’t. Additionally, I have a younger sister who is constantly in different relationships since she was 13 years old. I’m unsure what’s wrong with me. I’m rather pretty, intelligent, funny when I feel comfortable and I have high standards. I have had several crushes since I started high school but nothing ever gone anywhere beyond that. I was once in love with a guy who later turned out to be gay. He was my friend for a long time after that, but we don’t really talk anymore. Nevertheless, I think he had a huge impact on me, because now I don’t see “normal” men as attractive. They’re often too simplistic for me. But I’m wondering if all this could be really caused by my beliefs. Since I remember I’ve always felt that I’m uglier than my sister (she is really pretty) and this is why I can’t find a boyfriend. I have also quite low self-esteem because of my father, who has never really cared for me, nor showed me that he genuinely loves me. I also, like you did, believe that all “good” and interesting men out there are already taken, because EVERY TIME I’ve met someone they already had girlfriends and weren’t available. I just can’t believe that it was a coincidence. Do I really shape my reality by my beliefs? If I start thinking differently, will I finally find love? I would really really really appreciate your answer, because I’m already losing hope that I will ever meet someone who will fall in love with me.

    All the best,
    Daria

    • Petra says:

      Hi Daria, I am sure your beliefs have an impact on your experience. It would be great to look at them more closely and find the culprits – and see how to go about changing them. If you’d like a consultation, let me know – writing back and forth is OK to give you some idea, but a call is a much better way to give you more precise and concrete answers, which you can take away and start making changes. Also if you haven’t read my “5 Key Reasons Why You Can’t Find Love” – that would be a good start. You can download it at this link or just give me a shout on email and we’ll set up a time for a consultation.

  4. Ms Jones says:

    I have written an on line profile and posted some nice photos of myself. I have gotten many replies. Most of the replies are”chats”. So far I have not had a “date”. And most of the men consider a “date” meeting me in their area at their convenience for a cup of coffee. This is so demoralizing I feel worse now than before. It’s worse than looking for a job. I know a lot of people have a lot of success with online dating, but it just doesn’t feel right for me. It is making me feel depressed. Does anyone else feel this way about Internet dating? What do you think Petra?

    • Petra says:

      Hello there. I don’t know why it hasn’t worked out. Maybe you feel you are not worthy of a date, or fear men you aspire to meet won’t find you attractive. The biggest reason we aren’t attracting the right kind of attention, love and partners is the way we feel about ourselves and our chances to find what we’re looking for. I know that’s a completely opposite point of view from the one we are taught to have – that things just happen randomly and we have no control over our chances to find love, but it is the right one. Do think about it, what is it that you feel or think that might be producing the results you are getting.

  5. Ms Jones says:

    Thanks for your reply. I was thinking of just withdrawing from this Internet dating site. I have a strong feeling it is not right for me. The men ask a lot of questions. A few seemed very interested. I think on this particular site there is a lot of chatting and not much dating in my demographic. It is is just a ” virtual” world. It’s okay, but it is not real.

    • Ms Jones says:

      I would love to hear from Internet daters around age 50 who have successfully met suitable partners on the web. How long did it take? How many emails did you exchange? At what point did the person call/respond to a call and meet?
      It seems to me that where I am it is just a way for the people to pass the time and converse. This is not the worst thing in the world, but it has not netted me any dates. I think the younger people seem to have more luck with this as they always seems to have their smart phones on and they can connect vey readily. Anybody? Any ideas? Like I said, many interesting “chats”, but that’s been it. The men tell me how beautiful I am. I give them my phone number and the best time to reach me. They keep replying and chatting, but never call on the phone. I just think this is not a very natural way for people of my generation to meet one another.
      Anybody from NYC had luck with this type of thing? Which sites? How did you do it? A few of my girlfriends have tried as well. Like me, nice chats but no reasonable dates at all.

  6. Ms Jones says:

    I would like to ask others on this blog about their experiences on the Internet dating websites, particularly around age 50. My experience so far is the people in my city, New York, like to chat. So far I have not met anyone.does anyone have an experience to share with me? I am wondering how long I have to “chat” to get a date. I even leave them my telephone number to call me. No call.
    They say they like my photos and profile, chat and that’s it. I don’t get it.
    I don’t know if it’s a New York City thing or a generational thing. Is it working out for someone of you? I would like to hear a success story. How did it happen? Are you around age 50?
    Thanks.

  7. Ms Jones says:

    Hi Petra –

    I appreciate your reply. I do not know if you understood my comment correctly. I was reaching out to other people on this blog around my age to see if they were having any luck with Internet dating. You already gave me your I opinion and I appreciate it. I was wondering how others in my generation are making out with “virtual dating”, particularly in NYC.

    Thanks!

    Ms Jones