Deep breaths everyone because I’m about to tackle the elephant in every room, the fear in a lot of hearts and the ghost that follows us all around. Rejection, or more to the point, fear of rejection.
I’m so often scared and anxious of being rejected, and until recently that was difficult for me to admit out loud. Why? Like with millions of our insecurities, society doesn’t help when it comes to being able to share. It likes us to paint a mask of strength on our faces, like a second skin of fake confidence and self-esteem, and to soldier on through life as the strong, independent people it wants us to be. Well, we are strong. And we can be independent. We truly are those things but at the same time we can be equally scared of being rejected. And those emotions can coexist.
When I think of the fact rejection is so natural a feeling, it’s surprising to me that it’s managed to gain this seemingly ominous and childish reputation. It’s as natural as hope and love. It’s as commonplace as anger or jealousy. But admitting it is to risk being seen as a sad, desperate individual. As someone who is likely to be found on the bathroom floor, mascara running down our face with an Adele track screeching in the background. As a loser who can’t control their sense of self-worth. And until recently, when I had to challenge my own fears by putting myself out there in a way I was not totally comfortable with, I felt like that too. God forbid I get rejected! How embarrassing, right?!
But now? Now I see that being scared of rejection is just another fight or flight reaction. A moment in our lives that prompts us to fight for it, or run as far away from it as possible. So when you have a romantic love interest, you want to message them, you want to suggest a date, you want to see where it’s going to lead. But the fear of them not feeling the same way, of saying no, of turning you down is stopping you asking at all. And sometimes it’s good to wait, to know you’re really sure about someone. Just don’t let that cautiousness turn into fear. So before you hesitate any longer, realize your emotions for what they are. Just emotions. You cannot predict the future, you cannot read their mind and possibly know what they are thinking until you ask them.
Are you going to fight or take flight? The obvious, albeit a thousand times more difficult, answer is to fight. And RISK the rejection. That’s right! Risk it. Risk it with all you have. Approach the thing you fear because it can only end one of two ways. 1) Either they like you back and you were essentially fearing nothing at all, a monster that turned out to be a tree. Or 2) Or they reject you. So, you have a little cry, feel a little shaken and then move on. Move on safe in the knowledge that you haven’t lost anything because you can’t lose something you never had to begin with.
Rejection is just another way of sorting out who is meant for you and who isn’t. Who has your heart and who doesn’t. And who deserves it too. Something I’m a big fan of is listening to your gut, and letting it lead you into a worthwhile fight. Fight until you get rejected, and if the worst happens then whack on some Adele again, and pick another fight to fight! It’s cliche but there are plenty of fish in that sea and you only need one to work out because at the end of the day… not every fish in the entire ocean will be yours to catch.