Fear is an emotion. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. Fear is the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it. In extreme cases of fear the response could be to freeze or feel paralyzed. Fear always relates to future events, such as worsening of a situation or continuation of a situation that is unacceptable. Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stimulus which causes stress and ends with the release of chemicals in the brain which make the body react physically such as fast breathing, racing heart, butterflies in the stomach or cold sweat. The stimulus could be the sight of an insect or even an auditorium full of people waiting for you to speak. Some communication leads to conscious thought and action while some produce automatic responses. We don’t know what triggers it but could be from some deep seated emotion in the mind. Some experience from the past, embedded in the sub-conscious, will associate with the stimulus of a current experience. Example, sight of a dog will associate with the pain of a bite from years ago.
Fear of rejection is a powerful fear that often has far reaching impact in ones’ life. For some people this can be crippling and if left untreated the fear of rejection can worsen with time and gradually take over every part of a sufferers’ life.
In a professional setting fear of rejection tends to affect the ability to succeed. Job interviews, business dealings create stress and anxiety. The fear of rejection makes one behave in ways that can be a hindrance in performance at interviews or handling projects. Humans are social creatures and are expected to follow basic social niceties in public. The need to belong is a basic human condition and the fear of rejection can sometimes lead to situations that may be illegal, immoral or simply distasteful to you. This can be a problem created by peer pressure.
Fear of rejection brings out behavior which is stressful in itself. People suffering from fear of rejection find it very difficult to say no and thus cause major inconveniences or even hardships in their own life. They may take on too much responsibility increasing their own risk for burnout. With this fear people often go out of their way to avoid confrontations. Refuse to ask for what they want or even speak up. They tend to ignore their own needs or pretend they don’t matter. Sometimes they are so uncomfortable showing off their true self but unable to entirely shut out their needs, end up behaving in passive aggressive ways such as to procrastinate, forget to keep promises, complain and work inefficiently on projects taken on.
Fear of rejection stops us from going after our dreams. Putting yourself out there is frightening for anyone, but if you have the fear of rejection, you may feel paralyzed. Fear of rejection may stop you from reaching your full potential. But, one must remember that rejection doesn’t always mean that it is you with the problem. The opposite person will reject you for reasons which are not at all your fault. An employer will not give you the job because maybe you do not fit the profile for the position. Recognising your own limitation is a step in the right direction. You can change yourself to reprogram your sub conscious mind to be more positive and thus take on challenges in life.
Ironically, the fear of rejection often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Confidence is nearly as important as intelligence in determining our income level. As a general rule, the lack of self confidence that is inherent in a fear of rejection makes us more likely to be rejected.
Experiencing fear every now and then is normal part of life. But, living with chronic fear can be both physically and emotionally debilitating. Not participating in daily activities because you may be confronted with social interaction will not help to lead a fulfilling life.
Simple solution such as talking out loud about your fear can make it seem less daunting. However, one must be careful in the choice of confidante because the fear of rejection may push you into circumstance of being controlled or manipulated. Fear is not a simple emotion. If you’re having trouble overcoming your fear on your own, find a professional to help you.