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Last Updated on February 9, 2021

How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection and Embrace Failures

How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection and Embrace Failures

No one really likes to be rejected, right? Sure, some people deal with it better than others. Like if you’re a sales person and hearing “no” fires you up and gets you excited to find another way to get to “yes.” But those people are rare.

For the vast majority of us, hearing “no” or “you’re not good enough” or anything along those lines can have any affect ranging from mild annoyance to life-altering, catastrophic thoughts.

We all handle it differently. But we would all be better off if we just learned how to beat the fear of rejection and be able to handle whatever life throws our way.

But first, let’s talk about the word “failure.”

What Does Failure Really Mean?

To most people, “failure” is a dirty word. It’s just about the worst word you can be associated with. Because who wants to be labeled a failure, right? Or even have a singe failure in your life?

But let’s get real. ALL of us “fail” from time to time. And l really hate the word failure. It is so negative and implies that there is something wrong with you – or that you did something wrong.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of us. We’re all different, and we all have our own talents.

So instead of defining failure in terms of shame, look at it as a learning experience.

For example, let’s say you’re divorced. Some people would label that as a “failure.” You know… a “failed” marriage.

Sure, it’s true that the marriage ended in divorce. But why is that automatically a failure? Hopefully you learned something about yourself, marriage, and what to do better next time.

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See? “Failure” can really be a learning experience. And it can make your life better.

Now, let’s look at how you can overcome the fear of rejection, so you don’t see yourself as a “failure.”

How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection

Now that you hopefully realize that “failure” is not a death sentence and can actually be a good thing, let’s look at how you can beat the fear of rejection.

1. Redefine the Meaning of Rejection

Just like we’ve re-defined the meaning of “failure,” we also need to re-define the meaning of “rejection.” Most people think it means you’re “not good enough.” But what does that mean, really? That’s not an objective, truthful statement. Instead, it’s completely subjective.

For example, let’s say you went on a first date and they never called you again. Sure, you could look at it as rejection and that you’re not good enough for them. Or, you could see it as a blessing. Thank God that person didn’t like you, because now it frees you up to find someone who really does. See the difference?

2. Examine Your History with Rejection

We all have a past, and it starts with our childhood. Some people are lucky and are born into loving families who build up your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself. But not all.

A lot of people are born into families who tear them down and make them feel “not good enough.” And as a result, they probably have a self-fulfilling prophecy going on in their lives.

Whether it’s not getting the jobs they want, or accepting bad behavior from romantic partners, your history with rejection is directly related to how you deal with it.

3. Look at What You’re Doing (Or Not Doing)

Sometimes we do play a part in the rejection. That doesn’t mean we’re a bad person, a loser, or a failure. It just means that we can examine our behavior to see how we can change it so we can be more successful.

For instance, maybe someone broke up with you because you were chasing them and acting needy. Well, you can change that next time! Or you didn’t get a job because your interview skills weren’t up to par. Well, you can change that too!

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See what I’m getting at?

4. Expect the Rejection

This is not what it actually sounds like. I’m not suggesting that you see yourself as a loser who always gets rejected, so you always expect it.

What I really mean is that we usually put too much negative energy into what we fear. In other words, if you envision yourself getting rejected by someone (or something), then you can get “comfortable” with it.

If you “expect it,” then when it happens, you won’t be as devastated. This is tricky to do while keeping a positive attitude, but it can be done.

5. Let Go of the Victim Mentality

“Why me? Why me? Why do bad things always happen to me?” That’s called a victim mentality. It implies that you are powerless in life and that you have no control over what happens to you.

That is totally wrong. Sure, we can’t control everything that happens to us. What we CAN control is how we react to it, how we think about it, what we do with it in the future. That is all within our control.

But if you have a victim mentality, you’ll never be happy.

6. Develop Realistic Expectations

Say if you just graduated college, and you applied for a six-figure job that requires ten years of experience. And you don’t get the job. Ummm. Why would you? Your experience doesn’t match the requirements. So technically, you weren’t rejected. You just had unrealistic expectations.

This goes for anything else in life. Sure, we’d all like to date a super model who is a millionaire, but come on, how many of those do you now? Exactly my point.

7. Look at Life as a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Sometimes we get over-ambitious or impatient with the things we want. We live in a culture of people who want immediate gratification. We want it… and we want it NOW.

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Well, life doesn’t work that way. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” Just because you’re getting rejected now, doesn’t mean you will always get rejected. It just means it’s not the right time.

8. Embrace Rejection as Part of Personal Growth

You can get rejected, wallow in your negative feelings and never get over it. Or, you can look at rejection as way to grow as a person.

What did you learn from getting rejected? How can you improve the way you think, or what you do?

If you just let rejection ruin you, and you don’t use the experience to grow as a person, then you are probably doomed to repeat it.

9. Rejection Gets You Closer to What You Want

Just because someone or something didn’t want you doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone or something (or many) that DOES want you!

I look back on my life and realize that everything I got rejected from was leading down a different path, which turned out way better than my original plan.

But the problem is that you can only realize how great the rejection was in retrospect – once you gain some insight when it become the past.

Trust me, it does happen if you have the right attitude.

10. Trust Yourself Enough to Know You’ll Survive

Ironically, sometimes being rejected isn’t the REAL fear. That sounds strange, right?

The REAL fear is not being able to cope with the rejection. You think that your world will fall apart, and you will crumble as a person.

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But think about it. If you get rejected, how is your life any different than it was yesterday? It’s NOT! And you survived yesterday just fine, right? It’s just that your expectations were violated. You survived before, and so you can survive this too!

11. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

There is a great song by Garth Brooks that I absolutely love, Standing Outside the Fire. If you’ve never heard it, some of the lyrics go like this:

“Life is not tired, it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.”

He’s talking about the fire of life. Not everything in life feels good. We all have challenges. But if you choose not to put yourself “out there” because you fear rejection, then you miss out on all the good stuff too.

If you don’t try something out of fear of rejection, then you’re not really living. You’re just surviving.

Final Thoughts

As I hope you can see by now, rejection is all in the mind. You can’t feel rejected unless you allow yourself to feel rejected. Sounds crazy, but it’s true!

So, don’t take rejection or so-called “failure” personally. We’ve all been there. And the difference between people who are resilient to it and keep going and those who don’t, is a simply difference in perspective.

Featured photo credit: Casey Callahan via unsplash.com

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection and Embrace Failures 7 Hidden Causes of Fatigue And Steps to Prevent Serious Health Damage 13 Things to Remember When Life Gets Rough How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results Why It’s Okay to Hit the Wall and How to Overcome It Fast How to Become a Motivational Speaker (Step-By-Step Guide)

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Published on February 19, 2021

8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful

8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful

Whether it’s planning a public speech or a kid’s birthday party, our intentions lean toward success no matter the endeavor. And whatever success we are hoping to attain, there will likely be obstacles that we must face. When these obstacles surface, we can either shy away and miss our chance or meet these challenges informed and ready.

Although obstacles can seem like the outside world is plotting against us, in reality, these external challenges are merely triggering hurdles that already exist within. They might be memories or beliefs we have about ourselves that act like mud and slow us down. We can be trapped by our own self-sabotage.

What could happen if you knew about and prepared for these obstacles beforehand?

If you knew what you were up against, perhaps you could come equipped with just the right tools to get through anything that threatens your chance at success. Perhaps you could take an obstacle that felt like a mountain and turn it instantly into a mere molehill!

Here are 8 of the greatest obstacles you must overcome on your way to success:

1. Perfection

One of the most common obstacles we face is the need for perfection. Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, shared that her mother always used to say, “done is better than good.” Anyone prone to perfectionism is going to find it difficult to remain on the road to success if everything has to be “just so” all the time.

Perfection is the killer of creativity, vitality, and accidental discoveries! There are so many instances of people fortuitously discovering things that we use every day.[1] If they had been so concerned with perfection, they may never have enjoyed the success of their “mistakes!” Plus, learning from our mistakes is how we develop and grow throughout our lives. Therefore, “perfect” will never provide a straight shot to success.

How can you stop going for perfection? Just as it may have taken years of practice to “perfect” a skill you have acquired, it takes practice to undo perfectionism.

Try the following:

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  • Try new things and let go of your expectations.
  • Don’t do everything on your “To-Do” list. See what happens when you leave it for tomorrow.
  • Learn how to prioritize (no, everything isn’t equally important all the time).
  • If you’re feeling particularly rebellious, send an email with a typo in it!

Have fun with this and learn how to laugh at yourself. Welcome to the wonderful world of being human.

2. Fear

Fear is triggered when we have a thought or perception that we are not safe and secure. This is quite a useful tool when there is a real threat to our safety. However, when the threat is imaginary, fear can actually prevent us from doing the work we need to do to achieve our goals.

As with perfectionism, the best way to deal with fear is to become more mindful.

Here are some steps you can try in working through fear:

  1. Sit with the emotion of fear and notice where you feel it in your body. Notice the thoughts that accompany the feeling.
  2. Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen and write down your answers.
  3. Visualize yourself experiencing your worst fears. How did you feel imagining your worst fears coming true?
  4. Ask yourself when you have felt this way before. How did you cope with it that time? What strengths could you use in your previous visualization?
  5. Imagine yourself using your strength with the imagined worst fear. How does it feel to know that no matter what happens, you have the tools and resources to handle it?

In this exercise, we’re trying to be okay with the emotion of fear. Fear is actually trying to help by keeping you “safe.” It calls upon memories of when you were threatened in your life. But when we spend all of our energy trying to prevent the feeling of fear, we make it stronger. We also deny ourselves the memories of all the times we have faced our fears and triumphed.

Allowing the fear to be present and calling upon memories of making it through challenging times helps to convince our minds that, as President Franklin Roosevelt said, the “only thing to fear is fear itself.”

3. Lack of Clarity

Imagine that you are going on a trip and you need to pack. Your suitcase is out, but you don’t know any details of the trip. You haven’t decided where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, or what you’ll be doing. How easy will it be to pack for this trip?

If we’re trying to run our careers or lives without clarity, it can be nearly impossible to figure out what we need to be doing to get to our destination of success. So, how do we get clarity?

Author and speaker, Simon Sinek, had some excellent advice for businesses on how to get clarity, and it applies beautifully to just about any area of life. According to Sinek, when clarifying your “message,” you should start with your WHY.[2] In other words, why are you doing what you do? Once you are clear on your “why,” it will be much easier to figure out your “how” and your “what.”

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Let’s go back to the packing analogy. Perhaps your why for vacationing is to get some much-needed rest as you have been stressed out lately. That tells you that a quiet vacation might be better than one with lots of museums and crowded attractions. Your “why” tells you that you don’t want to be very active, but you do want to take care of your body, mind, and spirit, perhaps by spending a few days at a nearby spa. Less travel means less stress. Looking at the spa, you see they have a 3-day retreat. Now, you know how to pack.

See how easily those details fell into place once you got clear on your “why”? Imagine what success you could achieve once your “why” is uncovered!

4. Making Comparisons

It’s natural for us to compare ourselves to other people. That’s how we know whether we’re doing things correctly or not and how we can continue improving. When we get into a habit of making comparisons all the time and feeling bad about not being able to “keep up with the Jones’,” this can pull our energy down. And when our energy is down, so is our motivation to keep working toward our goals.

As with perfection, it’s important to be mindful about how much importance you’re placing on “keeping up” with what you think everyone around you is doing.

Want to stop sizing yourself up to others? Try the following:

  • Notice the feelings that come up for you when you compare yourself to someone else.
  • Ask yourself, “what information am I really getting from this comparison, and what’s helpful about it?”
  • Keep the helpful bits from that line of questioning and let go of the rest.

Remember that when you compare yourself to another person, oftentimes you are seeing the potential that already resides within you.[3]

5. Untamed Inner Monologue

How do you talk to yourself? Do you tend to say uplifting and encouraging things to yourself? Or is your self-speak often negative? An untamed inner monologue can serve as a great obstacle to many people.

Many people grow up with the idea that the inner monologue is what drives us to become better people. We get “tough” on ourselves to prevent laziness or sloppiness. If unchecked, the monologuing can quickly become negative and purely critical. Despite our intentions for self-improvement, this constant habit of pointing out what’s “wrong” with what we do and who we are can become a huge energy drain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, overcoming negative self-talk is good for our health.[4] Some of the benefits of maintaining a compassionate inner voice include lower levels of depression, better immune function, and improved coping skills in stressful times.

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Activities to develop awareness about your inner monologue and make it more compassionate include:

  • Keeping a thought diary (there are so many great apps for this!).
  • Reframing negative self-statements neutrally or compassionately.
  • Asking yourself what a trusted friend might say to you.
  • Thinking about what you might say to a friend if they were in your shoes.
  • Considering EFT Tapping or saying affirmations.
  • Allowing yourself to follow the inner critic down the worst-case-scenario path (this version might have you laughing at how ridiculous your inner critic’s imagination truly is).

6. Unclear Boundaries

So far, we’ve covered several ways that internal boundaries are necessary on the road to success. These include monitoring your fear, limiting your need for perfectionism, lacking clarity about what you want, making unhealthy comparisons to others, or having a mean-spirited inner monologue.

How about those boundaries we need to clarify with other people in our lives? To be clear, boundaries are not about saying “no” to everything and cutting yourself off from everybody. Healthy external boundaries are about being communicating to others about what you want, how you want to be treated, and what your plans are.

If we have unclear boundaries with others, success will result only by accident, if at all.

People pleasers and empaths especially know how challenging it can be to set boundaries with others. The desire for harmony can be so strong for some people that they convince themselves that it is easier to let others make the decisions rather than risk creating conflict.

The problem here is that no matter how hard we try to avoid conflict with others, we will create conflict within ourselves that results in roadblocks to success. If you have trouble setting clear boundaries with others and you want to be successful, start building your muscles around this skill slowly.

Here are a few steps:

  1. Identify little things that you like and want.
  2. Tell people about what you like and want in your life.
  3. Notice what happens in your body when you say this out loud.
  4. Identify things you don’t like or want.
  5. Notice what happens in your body when you think about these things. (Your body is really smart when it comes to telling you what you don’t want!)
  6. Tell trusted people what you don’t like or want.
  7. Notice how it feels in your body to say this out loud.
  8. Practice saying “no” to something really small that you don’t want and work your way up to bigger things.

Without boundaries, it’s like being water and trying to hold a shape without being in a container. You get to create your own container and watch your success take form.

7. Unreasonable Expectations

It’s important to dream big. It’s how we allow inspiration and big ideas to come to the surface of our awareness. But if our dreams are not grounded in the reality of our current resources, we might be headed for some disappointment or even worse, the loss of our dreams!

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Setting reasonable expectations is the bread and butter of success. If you haven’t been introduced to setting SMART goals at this point in your life, it would be a good idea to try it out.

It might not always be possible to know whether or not something is reasonable, especially if you’re trying out a brand-new-to-you project. If the expectation is for a new project to work without any bumps or glitches, this is likely to be unreasonable. The consequences of this experience could be losing your drive to succeed.

If the expectations for a new project include the idea of bumps and glitches that hold seeds of learning and growth, then even the perceived “mistakes” will turn out to be a success. This has the positive benefit of fueling your motivation to keep working toward even more success.

Be mindful of where you set the bar—neither too high nor too low.

8. Unreasonable Definition of Success

What is your definition of success? Asked in another way, from what perspective are you seeking success?

It’s easy to think that success means achieving the goal(s) you set for yourself. But there are so many ways to look at success. You might be missing out on some opportunities to really feel like you are shining in your life.

An unreasonable definition of success might be one that only allows for one specific outcome. If that outcome is not reached, then success is not the result. But if we allow for multiple definitions of success, we might find that success is much easier to come by than we previously thought!

To expand your definition of success, ask yourself the following:

  • What would need to happen to make me feel successful?
  • What else could happen to make me feel successful?

Keep brainstorming all the outcomes you could experience to create a feeling of success.

Final Thoughts

Being successful requires overcoming a lot of obstacles, and many people will fail at some point. The key is to tackle these obstacles one step at a time. In the words of Joyce Brothers, “Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”

More Tips on How to Overcome Obstacles

Featured photo credit: asoggetti via unsplash.com

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