How to deal with fear of rejection (and other fears)

fear-of-rejection
Fear of rejection is one of the biggest obstacles to finding the right partner. It stops us from dating, meeting new people, sometimes even from all human interaction.

When we are afraid usually our first reaction is to run and hide. Avoid feeling the fear at all cost.

Which can be great and easy when we are, for example, afraid of spiders. We simply make sure we don’t go near them.

But how does it work with fears related to relationships with people? Is avoiding them really the best way to conquer your fears?

Watch my new video blog to find out:

 

LET ME HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS

Tell me about one of your fears: how do you (or did) deal with it?
What’s been the best strategy that works for you?
What hasn’t worked so far?

You’re questions and comments are most welcome! Join the conversation below.

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11 Responses

  1. Aurelia says:

    Great video!
    I used to be afraid of men: I believed all men were unfaithful, immature, selfish, etc. Up until a year ago when I finally understood that this belief, this nagging voice, was not mine but my mother’s. Sure I have been in difficult relationships where I wasn’t treated the way I wanted to be treated. But does this mean that all my relationships with men are doomed to be a failure? What if she was wrong? It was time to give that belief a good kick in the butt! So I subscribed on online dating sites with the idea that I need to learn about men and more importantly about me.

    What is it that I fear so much about them? What kind of men do I like? How can I set boundaries that are right and healthy for me? What works for me and doesn’t? How can I respond versus react to certain situations? And I have been on countless dates (just dates, nothing more). And this is what I have learnt about myself: I am lovable, men like me. Maybe too much because they sense how nice and cool I am, they like my positive energy and they tend to very quickly consider me as their pillow. And some men can be very pushy and aggressive but they are a minority!

    I have learnt that I need to protect my energy and to share what I have so precious with the right persons. How? By having some standards. What works for me is to take the time: chatting online long enough before meeting, not being afraid to ask them what they are looking for to check if we are on the same page before meeting, and chatting some more until I feel comfortable to move one step forward. If the man rejects my standards, becomes pushy and tells me that there is something wrong with me, it’s ok, I don’t take it personally because now I accept myself just as I am. It’s not about me. It means we are not good for each other. I have also learnt that my past relationships that put my self-value to bottom rocks were because I wasn’t with the men who were right for me.

    I come from a very dysfunctional family (verbally and physically abusive mother, physically and emotionally absent father). Knowing that, fear of rejection and of abandonment is a topic that I know very well. I recently was in a short relationship with a man that seemed wonderful until he suddenly disappear before a date we had planned, leaving me horribly worried that something had happened to him (he texted me he was ill and his phone would go unavailable). Just to reappear a good week later to tell me how truly sorry he was, that he has issues to solve and that the fault is completely his, insisting on how lovable I am, and offering friendship if I wanted to. It hurt, very painfully. and I took the time to feel every emotions, I even wrote a letter to him that I never sent, just for myself as a healing process. And I took the time to consider his friendship offer. Why would I accept after his horrendous behavior? Do we have friends in common? No we don’t. Why would I want to ease his guilt? I took the time to think and I understood that I had to do what is best for me.

    I could let anger and resentment take power over me, because my mother was right after all. And wasn’t this a very good example of how untrustworthy men are? That would have been the appropriate reaction of course. But what if I chose to respond differently… I forgave myself: I decided to accept what has happened to me, not that it was ok for it to happen, but I decided that I would not be holding onto the past hoping that it would have been different. Instead, I chose to say yes to friendship (not in the hope that one day we will be together) because I saw it as an act of generosity, from him and from me, to love myself even more. Somehow, he set me free and his words were very kind to me. Rejection wasn’t about me at all, it was about a choice made given the context but changing the fact that I am loveable. I’m moving on but I’m not going to lie and tell it’s all easy. I’m still healing: I am writing my feelings when I feel the need, I am seeing my friends or texting them, I am keeping my routines, and I am chatting with nice men on dating sites and taking the time to open up slowly so that we can get to know each other one day at a time. This is what I wanted to share with you. Hope it would be useful, thanks for reading so far! 🙂

  2. Aurelia says:

    Rejection wasn’t about me at all, it was about a choice made given the context but NOT changing the fact that I am loveable

    • Petra says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It will be a great encouragement for many others reading and watching this blog. I agree with you and I am so glad you started separating from your mother’s influence. Our parents often teach us things that don’t serve us at all – so even though we know they’re doing it form the best intentions, once we are grown up it’s time to start reshuffling them and making our life our own. We all have such emotional baggage, but if we keep blaming others for it, we’ll never get rid of it. You did the right thing with the man who let you down, and it’s a great positive improvement you should be proud of. Respecting yourself is the way to a respectful and loving partner, and you are getting there. Often when we change our beliefs and behaviour, life sends us an opportunity to test how serious are we about it, and if we pass it and not go back to our old ways – we clear the path for new, better experiences. Wish you all my best.

  3. Accepting someone as a friend who messed about with our romantic feelings (perhaps without malice) is an admirable thing to do but I’m not sure if I could find the strength to do it. I don’t know if that makes me weaker than someone else who does it but from my experience it’s fairly difficult to make a friendship out of a failed romance credible and convincing. I’ve yet to try it myself but perhaps I will if the opportunity ever presents itself unless of course I suspect that the other person toyed with my emotions deliberately for their own crooked reason.

    • Aurelia says:

      I don’t know if that’s admirable. I just know for sure that I did what was right for me. I’m okay with who I am. Eventually, if we think that he messed me around, well that’s his own issue. I can choose to send back the harm to his owner with wisdom. We can’t put ourselves out for love and intimacy if we bargain cheap with our own feelings, if we are being dishonest with ourselves sooner or later it just doesn’t work for anyone. I think it’s important to leave a clean place within yourself, to respect who you are and to treat yourself well first. So that when you meet someone who is also respecting themselves, you play on the same ground and you both come as ready to receive and to give within your own healtjy standards. Otherwise, you play around and you just mess yourself up, and others in the process, until hopefully you finally get the message!

  4. Scott Jennings says:

    It’s not so much rejection that I fear but being chosen and then getting dumped shortly after.

    • Petra says:

      Why? Because you don’t do that? Sometimes we date and realise it’s not going anywhere, what’s the harm in saying – sorry, I think we are not such a great match after all. We all do it. All the time. Only it hurts more when someone does it to us – which makes absolutely no sense if we know that rejection is just choosing. Nothing more, nothing less – just a matter of taste.

  5. Scott Jennings says:

    I’ve never been in a position when I wanted to break up with someone actually. I hope I never have to because I’ve been through it and it’s soul-destroying but I won’t shy away from tough decisions if they have to be made.

  6. Dontay says:

    I sometimes, have a fear of talking to women because I’m afraid of rejection. I been rejected a lot in the past and Its not a good feeling at all. I’m 29 years old and some women say I look 18, I’m too young for them, or they might say I have a big head, I don’t get. I been single for 2 months now, I’m already tired of being lonely.

  7. Dontay says:

    I don’t understand why its so hard for me to find that true one. Maybe because the city I’m in, or maybe my looks or maybe I don’t have the personalty that women expect me to have. The longest I ever been single was 3 years. God said its not good for a man to be alone in I agree.