Rejection hurts. There’s really no way around it. Most people want to belong and connect with others, especially people they care about. Feeling rejected by those people and believing you aren’t wanted; whether it’s for a job, dating, or friendship, isn’t a pleasant experience. The pain can cut pretty deep, too. It’s easy to understand why many people dread and even fear rejection. If you’ve experienced it once, or a few times, you probably remember how much it hurt and worry about it happening again. But fearing rejection can hold you back from taking risks and reaching for big goals. Fortunately, it’s absolutely possible to work through this mind-set with a bit of work. It is a pretty universal experience, and fear of rejection is very common. Most people experience rejection over things both big and small at least a few times in their lives, such as:
a friend ignoring a message about hanging out
being turned down for a date
not receiving an invitation to a classmate’s party
a long-term partner leaving for someone else
not getting the job you were hoping for
It never feels good when something doesn’t happen, the way you wanted it to, but not all of life’s experiences turn out the way you hope. Reminding yourself that rejection is just a normal part of life, something everyone will face at some point, may help you fear it less. If you’re more sensitive to rejection and spend a lot of time worrying about it, you might imagine a lot of worst-case scenarios that lead to unnecessary stress. Reframing your fear as a chance for growth can make it easier to try for what you want and lessen the pain if you fail. Try telling yourself, “This may not work out, but if it doesn’t, I’ll have a meaningful experience and know more than I did when I started.”
When it comes to romantic rejection, reviewing what you’re really seeking in a partner can help you work through rejection fears. It can also set you on a path to finding someone who’s a great fit from the start. Rejection can sting and make you doubt yourself. But fearing it may limit you, preventing you from experiencing much of what life has to offer. Choosing to look at rejection as an opportunity for growth instead of something you can’t change can help you feel less afraid of the possibility.