Have you ever held yourself back because of thoughts like these?
– What if people don’t like me?
– What if people reject me?
– What if people are mean to me or belittle me?
Of COURSE you have. You are human. It’s ok to be afraid of people rejecting you – it doesn’t mean that you are lacking in any way. When we are rejected, our “lizard brain” kicks in. It produces cortisol and we want to run away…. Fight or flight! You’ve heard the metaphor “like a slap in the face”? It’s a very apt metaphor for how we feel when we are rejected.
But the problem is, you know that your fear of rejection is holding you back. Good news – this post will help you how to overcome fear of rejection!
This week I listened to an interview with a man called Jia Jiang on a podcast called Bulletproof Radio. Two years ago Jia decided to embark upon his own personal project called “100 days of rejection”. His goal was to desensitise himself from the pain of rejection and overcome his fear of being rejected by making 100 requests over 100 consecutive days.
On the third day, Jia went into a branch of Krispy Kreme and asked for a series of donuts made into an Olympic ring, fully expecting to be rejected. However, the assistant said yes, disappeared for 10 minutes and emerged having made him an Olympic ring of Krispy Kreme Donuts!
Jia recounts that he was completely overcome, surprised and touched at this “yes” as it was counter to his expectations during his experiment.
In fact, out of the 100 days of asking things which Jia thought were sure to get him rejected, he was only rejected 49 times. That’s right – the majority of times, even though Jia designed his requests to be rejected, he experienced the opposite.
What might you achieve if you gave up on being afraid of being rejected?
Rejection therapy did, as you’d expect, desensitise Jia and it meant he became more courageous and more adept at questioning the “nos” However, stretching outside our comfort zone is not always a upwards trajectory, as Jia demonstrated on day 97 of his 100 days of rejection. Day 97’s challenge was to give a speech on a street.
I guess that, like me, you’re probably thinking that by the 97th day, it was probably a breeze for Jia to give a speech on a street.
Jia was so afraid of being rejected by strangers, the build-up leading to him making his speech was a real psychological struggle. This is simply because our “lizard brain” takes over – the amygdala that kicks in to prompt us into flight or flight mode. We are biologically programmed to be part of the tribe and we don’t want to do anything that might threaten being excluded from our tribe.
“Sometimes no matter how hard you train yourself, the fear of rejection will still be there. However, you’ve strengthened yourself and minimized your enemy – fear. If you rely on the strength, and “feel the fear and do it anyway,” you will always be glad you did.”
Here are 12 lessons for overcoming fear or rejection that I took from listening to Jia Jiang:
I hope this post has given you some food for though on how to overcome fear of rejection. Let me know what works for you! And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please TELL YOUR FRIENDS… They won’t reject you for it! 🙂