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  • Writer's pictureElfreda Manahan-Vaughan

Fear of Rejection

It seems extraordinary to think it but everyone in some way, or at some point in their life, feels like there is something wrong with them. We are terrified of rejection, whether it is by family, in a personal relationship, friends or at work. We spend our time trying to be what we think other people want and forget to be ourselves. I guess it comes from a primal instinct to stay part of a tribe so that we can survive, but where does that fit in our contemporary world?

We try to be the size or shape we think will be accepted and hate ourselves when we don't feel we are good enough. We take on tasks we hate or please others in work or at home for fear of losing our job or upsetting others and ending up alone. We take on too much responsibility or live with the pain of feeling like we don't fit in. For what? Because we are afraid that others will tell us something that we only really believe ourselves, that we are not perfect, that we are not special or that we are doing things wrong despite all our efforts. So what do we do?

The truth is, rejection is not an subjective experience nor is it a rejection of an individual but a rejection of the situation you are in. We choose our clothes and think we look good but years later cringe when we look back at old photos. We reject our former selves because of the change in our situation now. We reject loved ones because we lack understanding of ourselves and them. We are not rejecting them nor are they rejecting us. We are rejecting the now, the knowledge, experience and fear we hold in this moment. This changes and in time we may rekindle old loves or renew friendships because circumstance has changed. We need to be objective and not subjective in our view of ourselves. We often wonder who we want to be, but the truth is who are we trying to be and for whom?

Can you trust that there is nothing wrong with you? Can you be ok with who you are in this moment and stop trying to please others or be something you are not? This is not about hurting others or being selfish, it's about being aware that what we do is hurting ourselves. We create situations where we feel rejected because we are afraid of it but the irony is, so is the other person. We place rules on our encounters so that we don't get hurt by others but the rules only serve to hurt us. We need to remove ourselves from the equation, bring awareness to our self talk, our judgments, our fears and our thoughts of inadequacy and failure. We only exist in this moment and if we measure ourselves by our past, always living in our memory, then we reject the present and limit our future. We reject ourselves and that is where our real pain lies. Breath, pause, step outside of your internal dialogue and ask yourself who am I trying to be? If I wasn't afraid how would my life be different and how much more love and compassion would I have for myself and others.

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