Saturday, February 18, 2017


A Life-Long Problem For So Many People

It's irrational most of the time, but for some people the fear of rejection is a painful reality. I, too, struggled with it most of my life, especially during my early years and into my 20s. 

One example came to mind when I was writing this post. As a minor seminarian, I was a ninety-pound weakling and we were "required" to play sports. I was not bad at handball and tennis, but for me, team sports were always a source of regular humiliation. I can still remember sitting on the bench as players were selected from the best to the worst. It seems that I was always sitting there till they got to the part where they decided who "had to take" the rest of us. 

Those of us who have struggled with and overcome the fear of rejection, know that, like an addiction, there will always be a residue. I believe that most of us never really "got over it," we are just "in recovery" the rest of our lives.

The secret for overcoming the fear of rejection is not to run from the possibility, but to embrace situations where it is a possibility, but not necessarily an eventuality. It's like the fear of public speaking. The path to getting over the fear of public speaking is to do public speaking until the fear subsides.  The path to getting over the fear of rejection is to stick your neck out and find out that it does not always happen. In fact, the probability of the opposite happening is more probable. Like the bashful young teenager who is so afraid of rejection that he never asks a girl out, the only way to get a "yes" is for him to stand up to his fear and ask anyway. He may be rejected, yes, but again, he may not! He won't know for sure till he takes the risk. Nothing is going to happen, for sure, without taking a risk.

The biggest growth steps in my life have occurred when I decided that I was going to stick my neck out and not be held back my someone else's opinion of what I could do or not do. I have been amazed at how much I have been able to do when their opinions are stood up to. It often occurs to me just how much I may have missed when I didn't do that in the past.

In my work down in the islands, I often stop to imagine what other people will think if I think too big.
I know that when I do, I have to stop and tell myself to go ahead and stick my neck out and see what happens. Often, I am shocked by just how many nice people say "Yes, I'll help."

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