Running from rejection: how to overcome our fears

How self-love is the tool that's helping us all to be just that little bit braver in our romantic relationships

Kate Benson
15th November 2021
Image: Pixabay
Rejection is scary. Or is it?
I have realised that it does not have to be scary at all. Addressing my anxiety and reading content by Michelle Elman, Florence Given and many other amazing writers has helped me to realise my self-worth and learn about good communication. If I know how worthy I am - then why does it matter if someone I am interested in does not fancy me? I now know it’s their loss.

Realising and accepting that not everyone is going to fancy you, just like you don’t fancy everyone - has helped me with rejection a lot. If somebody replies to me saying no, I respect them for being honest and good at communicating. Ghosting is harder to process, and that’s a whole other topic in itself.

The reason I was so scared of rejection was because my self-confidence was so intertwined with other people's approval; if someone I fancied did not like me back, this would crush my confidence and it would take weeks to recover. I didn’t realise it wasn’t actually about them - it was about me. A rejection confirmed that I was unfanciable and unworthy.

Apply the principle of not giving a f*ck what anyone else thinks.

The embarrassment from facing the person again, and other people finding out, adds to the fear of rejection. For this, apply the principle of not giving a f*ck what anyone else thinks. People may have a judgement - not everyone is going to like you, but who cares? Even better on dating apps; you definitely won’t see them again (except maybe an awkward walk past on the street- ‘why do I recognise them?’).

If someone rejected me now, I would feel the initial sting (it’s not the nicest thing to hear), but I would be fine. If anything I would feel proud of myself for having the confidence to have asked the person in the first place.

Image: @florencegiven on Instagram

When I was younger, my mum told me to tell my friends who I fancied as a way of alerting the person in question as the news spread. I interpreted this very wrong and have spent FAR too much time getting absolutely nowhere, hoping the person would hear and make some unrealistic romantic gesture (my mum is a strong independent woman and would never encourage this). Now that I realise I can take it into my own hands, I do. I am not wasting any more time or energy. As soon as I notice myself thinking about someone - I give myself an ultimatum. Either you stop right now (as the Spice Girls would say), or ask them out. 

Even though I sound like I have it sorted, I am definitely not fully over this fear. I also realise rejection is more complex than I can cover in these 500 words.

I still take hours to decide whether to message and ask someone on a date - sometimes I even have to get my friend to click send. Asking someone in person is still too scary right now. I aspire to have that confidence, and most importantly, I know that one day I will.

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