“Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.” ~ Harvey Mackay
Have you ever walked into a room and thought something like, “I hope they like me” or “I wonder what they think of me?” Most people have experienced that feeling of wanting to be accepted. We all like to belong to something & feel accepted, right? That might be a family, a group, a club an organization or some other “thing”, but the reality is that we all want to be accepted.
Our need to belong, to be accepted, is one of our top basic needs, which would help explain why we have those feelings of trepidation as we enter a room for the first time or when we try something new. It also makes sense than that one of our top fears is rejection. The fear of being rejected is what causes the feelings of unrest as you face these situations.
Take a minute and think about the chatter going on inside your head during these moments. For instance, think back to a time when you started a new job, entered a classroom for the first time or even back to waiting to get picked for a team during recess. Let’s take the example of walking into a networking event or social group. What is the dialog going on inside your head? Does it sound something like this, “These people are all way better than I am.” Or “I don’t belong here. . . “ or maybe “Wow, they all look so nice, I’m not dressed appropriately.”? Do you experience feelings of self-doubt, frustration and/or embarrassment? These are not pleasant feelings and often may hold us back from putting ourselves out there. These feeling are a projection of self-rejection. You’re telling yourself and reinforcing the idea that you’re not good enough. If you believe, or are telling yourself, you’re not good enough, why should anyone else think differently?
You’ve heard me talk about self-love and self-acceptance before; it’s a “soap box” issue for me. Learning to accept yourself and love yourself the way you are doesn’t mean that you’ll never feel rejection or hurt again, it doesn’t mean that you have to remain where you are or that you’ll be good at everything you do. It does mean that you will be more confident and can turn that chatter into something more positive and beneficial.
Going back to our example, remember why you’re at the event. As you walk into the room hold you’re head up, know that there are plenty of other people in the room experiencing fear and negative self-talk. Remember, we all have different strengths and we can’t be good at everything and we certainly won’t please everyone all the time. Self acceptance and self love include accepting where you are today. If there is something you want to change, to get better at, take the necessary steps to do so, but don’t put yourself down for not being there today. Next time you’re facing the fear of rejection, give yourself some love before entering the situation and remember that you’re self-esteem comes from within, it doesn’t depend on others.