Hello Eye Wall Comrades,
I hope this day is treating you all well. You all know my saying: If there is anything going on in your life causing you to feel depressed or making you feel like you’re of no value and you need someone to talk about it with or someone with access to different professionals who can help you work through those issues, always feel free to reach out to me. I am all ears, and I will make the time to listen to you. We all need to vent, and I’m more than happy to listen.
We’ve all been there. Who hasn’t had to endure the bitter sting of wanting to express an affinity for someone we’re romantically interested in only to keep falling short of doing so, by either freezing up and not saying anything when the opportunity presented itself or by being so nervous we end up talking too quietly or saying or doing something really awkward (One time my hands begin actually shaking while I was speaking to this woman)?
Or, if we actually did manage to become involved with someone, based off the reasons our last romantic situation didn’t work out, we assumed the person we were with would leave or reject us for that same character flaws or shortcomings.
There is nothing wrong with not wanting to be rejected. It’s very natural to not want to be turned down in any area of life. The problem begins, though, when we don’t check our fears and when we let them begin dictating our actions.
When you begin allowing fear or rejection to begin driving your choices, you begin operating from a very unnatural state-of-mind.
If you don’t approach the lady or the guy you want out of fear they won’t like you back in the same way, your actions are now being dictated. Instead of considering they might actually be interested in you the same way, you’ve let the fear cause you to jump to conclusions. And, so what if they don’t like you back? That is not necessarily a knock on anything negative about you.
If you’re in a situation with someone and you constantly requiring them to provide you with physical and emotional validation to “prove to you” they’re still into you, when they’ve already said and demonstrated that they are, you’re letting fear of rejection dictate your actions. You’re afraid they’ll leave you, so you’re constantly questioning their motives for being with you.
If you’re consciously or subconsciously terminating relationships over issues that can be talked and worked through or if you’re sabotaging a healthy relationship out of some “reject them before they can reject me” nonsense, you have become subject to your fear.
And even outside of the realm of dating and relationships–maybe there’s an idea for some type of invention or an innovative idea of yours you think no one will find valuable.
Maybe there’s a career you really want to pursue but you’re scared of being rejected and or not accepted by those already in the field.
Or, maybe you’re scared to be passionate about certain interests, causes, and or hobbies because you think people will think they’re silly or worthless.
These are all examples of what can happen when you leave your fear of rejection unchecked, and the way you check it is by getting to the root of the fear. Overcoming your fear of rejection is about examining what happened in your life to make you fearful in the first place and about leaving it in the past once you do.
I’ll use myself as example: When I really began to do some self-inventory as to why I was so nervous to approached who liked or why women would stop talking to me out of nowhere even though I was being super accommodating and conversational at the beginning of situations (which I thought women liked), I discovered my fear of being rejected had to do with my desperate need for acceptance.
Rather than valuing myself as a man, I was seeking my validation from a woman. As silly as it might sound, I believe this insecurity stemmed from my childhood. I grew up as a black child with undiagnosed ADHD. I was chubby. I grew up in the suburbs for most of my life but went to school with other black children who didn’t. I was introvert, and I was, what most people refer to as, a total geek.
1. When you’re an undiagnosed ADHD kid, school is brutal. The children around you are able to learn and process information with relative ease while you’re struggling just to keep your attention focused on what the teacher is saying, instead of daydreaming of what color power ranger you want to be.
2. I was chubby as all get out. When you’re chubby, you’re an easy target to pick on by other kids. Nuff said.
3. Coming out of the suburbs instead of the inner city (economically deprived areas) like some of the kids I went to school with did, I was afforded better education opportunities just based on my geographical location. My area was littered with libraries, rec. centers, and summer camps etc. So, naturally, I spoke and acted differently. Unfortunately, we live under a system of racism here in America, so to them–because black children are taught to associate intelligence with “whiteness”–they’d make fun of me for how I talked (proper English) and the things I was into. (I spoked on this experience extensively in my first published book).
4. My father was an alcoholic. His addiction became worse the older I got, and, so, I couldn’t really have friends over, and when my dad lost his job, we didn’t really have the money to sign me up for sports programs and or didn’t youth clubs. So, I didn’t really get to develop my social skills nor learn how to communicate like a lot of the other kids did. So, I became and the awkward kid who kept to himself.
5. When you’re alone, you do things to keep yourself entertained. So, I began reading a lot about things like science, nature, and war. I became very knowledgable (for a kid) in different things, but I was ashamed of being curious about “nerdy” topics. I thought I was being “white” by wanting to learn about the world around me (again, a product of societal racism).
All that to say, I carried all that self-doubt into adulthood and into my dating life. And, once I figured out what I was doing and how it was affecting the success of my relationships, I decided to reconcile all that happened to me–things that weren’t even my fault I was holding on to from over a decade ago.
Because, it’s really not the “rejection” part we’re so afraid of; what we’re afraid of is being reminded that we’re not good enough. We have to dig deep to find out what sowed that fear, and we have to either get therapy or just, cold turkey, accept that what happened to us in the past was just a part of our experience and that it doesn’t define our entire existence.
If you’re afraid of being rejected, you need to look deep into yourself and figure out what your insecurities are and why you have them. And, just like I did, you’ll have to get to the root of those insecurities.
Put in the work it takes to resolve those issues and start valuing who you are as a unique individual man or as a unique individual woman.
That is how you overcome your fear of rejection.
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