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Psychology Says the Fear of Rejection Can Be a Source of Strength

Psychology Says the Fear of Rejection Can Be a Source of Strength

We all fear rejection and I get it, it makes sense.

Our ancestors had to stay together to survive. If someone was rejected, and became an outcast, that person would  have most likely died off if he was alone in the wilderness.

It has also been said that the human brain treats rejection in a similar way it process physical pain.

Rejection can really suck sometimes.

And it’s true, because I remember the days when I used to be a lost cause. In the 4th grade, I used to have anger issues, emotional problems, and ADHD (still have ADHD)

So whenever someone got me angry, I wouldn’t be able to control my anger and I would beat up anyone who annoyed me. (It felt like a blur of rage and I couldn’t think straight…and before I knew it, it was over)

And I didn’t want to be that kid who was known as the bully because deep down inside I didn’t want to hurt anyone.

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But eventually I became an outcast, rejected by everyone. No one to talk to, no one to connect with, and no one to consider a friend for 4 or 5 years straight as a kid.

And the amount of pain, hatred, despair, depression, anger (at myself, at the world, and at God), and hopelessness was so overwhelming that I almost ended my own life.

But thankfully I was able convince myself that I am still way too young to end my life. I still have another chance to have a new life if I went to a high school where I knew absolutely no one. So I painfully waited until I graduated. (there was so much more to this story, but that’s another topic.)

Fear can create doubt if you don’t feel competent.

But when I first started high school, I still remember the fear I had about rejection. I absolutely did not want to be in the same situation I was in when I was in the 4th – 8th grade.

So I studied the popular kids and studied what made them so popular and I copied them. (I knew I was socially awkward because I haven’t had a conversation for 4 – 5 years…besides with myself)

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But I found out that it was hard to act like them because I still had that fear inside of me whenever I talked with anyone.

I would ask or say to myself, “What if I sound dumb? What am I even doing? This isn’t who I am. What if they don’t even like me?”

And I began to let the fear control me from not taking action to improve myself. (I began to ask questions that made me doubt myself.)

Fear can control you IF you let it control you.

Then all of a sudden, a whole year passed by and I made some progress, but not enough. I didn’t want this fear to hinder my growth and stop me from obtaining my goals that I need in my life.

I began to embrace the fear and understand that it is necessary to have fear whenever you do anything that creates fear within you. (Making a change in your life is one example that creates fear)

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You cannot block out fear and you have to understand that fear will always be there. It’s when you don’t let your fears stop you from taking action.

Trying to not numb yourself of fear is a bad idea.

But some of you might say, “Well can’t we numb ourselves so that we don’t feel fear?”

Well yeah you can, but Brene Brown says that you can’t selectively numb emotions. In her TED talk she says when you try to numb fear, you actually numb all your emotions. (including happiness, and all the other good emotions)

And from my experience, when you become numb, you don’t feel anything. Nothing hurts you but nothing makes you happy. It feels like anything I do is meaningless and that nothing matters in life. (So I suggest you don’t numb yourself, it’s boring either way)

How does fear become a source of strength?

But you might be asking now, “I understand that we need to embrace fear because it will always be there. But how can the fear of rejection (or any kind of fear) be a source of strength?”

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It becomes a source of strength, when you absolutely refuse to let your fears control you like you are some mindless puppet. Having courage, or strength, doesn’t mean you are fearless. It means having the strength to do what is necessary, in the face of fear.

You are more than some mindless puppet who lets your fear controls all your actions.

Instead of focusing on your fears and how afraid you are, you focus on performing the task at hand. (We are not completely ignoring the fear, you understand that it’s there but you don’t focus on it to make it worse.)

Example: Soldiers who go back for their wounded members during enemy gun fire show extreme courage. Even though they are afraid of dying, they still continue on in the face of death to save their fellow soldiers.

“Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.” – Dr. Robert Anthony

So be afraid, it’s okay. Just don’t let fear overwhelm you and make decisions for you.

Featured photo credit: Courtney Carmody via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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