I lied. This post isn’t about how to deal with rejection; it’s about how to make sure our fear of rejection doesn’t hold us back.
I’m a strong believer that taking the initiative is the best tack in most situations. For example, you should always ask people out instead of waiting around for someone to ask you out, but this means putting yourself on the line and making yourself vulnerable to rejection, which is understandably a terrifying proposition to most. Rejection hurts because humans crave social acceptance and inclusion.
But time and time again, I’ve found that the pain of rejection goes away. And in most cases, I’ve built up my fear far beyond what was realistic. So now, when I feel like the possibility of rejection might hold me back, I ask myself, “What’s the worst likely outcome of this?” Rationally, what’s the worst thing that’s likely to happen?
Generally, the answer is not much. For example, let’s say that I like someone and want to ask them out. The worst likely outcome is that they’ll say no, and I’ll be mildly embarrassed for a bit. A worse outcome might be that they’ll laugh in my face and tell everyone to shun me, but that’s not a likely scenario.
Or take this blog. It’s scary writing down your thoughts for the world to read because you’re putting yourself up for evaluation. But the worst likely outcome is that nobody will read my blog anyway because what I’m writing is inane, so no one will criticize me anyway.
I’m not going to lie and say that rejection doesn’t suck, but by asking ourselves what the worst likely outcome is, I think we can put our fear of rejection into perspective and recognize that it’s often not as bad as we expect it to be. And once we’re okay with putting ourselves out there, we can reap the benefits of taking the initiative in all aspects of life.
When have you let your fear of rejection prevent you from taking the initiative? And if you overcame your fear of rejection, did you find that your fear was justified?