How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection

There is going to be a hundred thousand doors slammed in your face before one opens, so feel ok about taking rejection. – Heather Matarazzo

Rejection is probably one of the greatest fears that we need to learn to deal with in life. Rejection can cut like a stab in the heart. In an instant, you can feel as if you are drained of all blood. Dizziness ensues and you hang on to dear life, gasping for air.

I don’t know of anyone has the privilege of going through life without ever experiencing rejection at least once in a lifetime. I have certainly been rejected many times. In a few of these situations, mostly during a time when I was immature, I had thought that I was not able to survive past the rejection. In a state of utter despair, I would do things like driving dangerously, getting drunk till I puked and clubbing several times a week.

Through the years, I have met a number of friends and clients who have to learn better ways to handle rejection. Mostly these occur due to being spurned by their partners. They admit to going into depression and on the verge of suicide. With tears, at least two of them confess to wearing shades while stalking their partners for a period. Unable to eat or sleep, they had found it hard to function well.

Of course, the above took place after being rejected.

So if you had been rejected previously, you are likely to have felt bruised, traumatized and hurt.

It is all in the past, no doubt.

But then, you begin to develop a fear of rejection.

You fear being rejected once again.

Past memories haunt you, making it difficult for you to be free and move on.

Having a fear of rejection can threaten your future happiness.

The Fundamental Need for Non-Rejection

The opposite of acceptance is rejection. Feeling rejected rests on our core beliefs that we are not good or worthy enough. We find it hard to accept – real or perceived – when others do not accept us. The same holds true, be it in a romantic setting or not. We are social creatures and like having a sense of belonging. As social creatures, we want acceptance. Having acceptance from the world makes us feel wanted and therefore valued.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the third layer of human needs is love and belongingness. As humans, we experience the need to love and be loved by others. In the absence of love, we become prone to loneliness, anxiety and misery. Where the fear of rejection is strong, it can contribute to health conditions. In anorexia, for instance, the patient experiences an inability to accept his or her body as it is. There is a psychological craving for security to be found in acceptance by society.

Situations Where There Could Be A Fear Of Rejection

These include:

Some actors couldn’t figure out how to withstand the constant rejection. They couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Harrison Ford

1. Your job. Certain jobs call for a higher tolerance of rejection. If you are not able to deal with the fear of rejection, it is hard to do well in these jobs. They include doing sales, being a model, an actor or actress. You have to be thick-skinned as you are likely to be rejected with a “no” several times.

2. Job interview. Where the economy is not doing well or if you are hoping for a career change, chances are you may have go through a number of interviews before you land on an offer. You would like to believe that you are perfect for a particular job but the company director doing the interview may not think the same. And it happens over and over again for each interview. So much so that your loss in confidence starts to show with each subsequent interview.

3. Getting a date. Does getting a date seem hard to you? You have been hoping to get to know that girl or guy but you are feeling nervous about asking for a date. The fear of rejection is keeping you glued to your chair.

4. Relationship. You have had bad relationship experiences previously. Even if you are now in a committed loving relationship, the past memories keep haunting you. You fear being dumped, abandoned and rejected once again. And so you develop a dependency on your current partner. You are desperate that your partner reports his or her every move to you.

5. Bullying. Peer rejection can lead to bullying cases. You become a victim and you fear being victimized. To compensate, you may be prompted to join gangs or undertake unwise behavior.

Overcome Your Fear of Rejection

“A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” – Bo Bennett

1. Let go of the Past

Don’t allow your past to dictate your future. Let go of the past. The past is already gone. There are lessons that you can learn from.

Believe that things can change. You don’t have to live in fear anymore. Fear is just an illusion. Don’t allow fear to hold you back from living in the present.

2. Let go of Perfectionism

Wanting to be perfect can cause you to fear rejection. We learn about the fear of rejection early on in life. We learn about being obedient, docile and pleasing so that we are able to receive approval and validation by our parents or caregivers. We are taught to fit into a particular mold to be accepted. As a result, we began to believe that we have to be perfect to be loved and accepted.

The fact is that we are already perfect even with all our imperfections. It is important to be able to realize this. Sure, there are things that you can always work on to improve yourself. But that does not mean that you need to reject yourself, even whilst you strive for excellence. Doing your best is a great goal but you do not need to be perfect to do your best. Let go of the need to be perfect.

3. Let’s Switch Roles

Let’s flip things the other way. Have you thought about how many times you have rejected others? For example, when you switch from your regular hairdresser to a new one, how would the first one feel? Wouldn’t your regular hairdresser feel rejected?

For the most part, when others do not accept you, it is not personal. Stop taking things too personally. Avoid getting too hung up about having to be accepted every single time.

4. Work on Your Beliefs

You need to believe that you are very lovable and worthy, even if you are rejected by someone. This other person is not God, so why make yourself suffer when he or she rejects you? Why give this other person so much power as to determine your happiness?

Embrace yourself whole-heartedly and without conditions. You are deserving of love and affection. And you can start with loving yourself body, mind and soul.

5. Change Your Response

Being rejected is part of life. Learn to deal with it. Rejection will happen. If you have heightened sensitivities to the fear of rejection, then you will need to get over it. Do emotional release work.

Acknowledge this: People get rejected all the time for various reasons.

What is left to do is to build self-confidence and esteem.

It is how you respond that makes the difference.

Love and abundance always,
evelyn lim signature
Author. Adventurer. Life Coach. More About Me.

Share About Your Experiences

Encountered rejection or the fear of rejection previously? How did you handle it? Please share in the comments below.

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Galen Pearl - September 4, 2012 Reply

I have in mind someone who could so benefit from this post. I’m trying to think of a way to diplomatically offer it to him. He is so quick to perceive rejection even when it is not there. His life is so reactive to the perceived rejection, he can’t even see when people who care about him are offering support. He’s young, so I hope this is something he learns before he spends too much of his life in this defensive unhappiness. Great post!


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Galen,

I know what you mean by being diplomatic. It is an art to put things across without sounding pushy or offensive to the party concerned. Perhaps, the only way that he can learn effectively is to go through some challenging experiences. Hopefully he will be able to overcome his fear of rejection soon enough.

All the best,


Steve - September 5, 2012 Reply

I have to say that letting go of this need to be perfect was difficult for me. For some reason the idea of making a mistake was just something I couldn’t accept. But really all it was pointing to was a fear of rejection. I think you put it great by saying that you can do your best without being perfect. I still shoot for the goal of doing my best, but every once in awhile I get the nagging feeling of needing to be perfect. Still, life is too short to let any mistakes make me feel bad.


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Steve,

I have certainly the same experiences. The desire for perfectionism can sometimes afflict me. I have come a long way in accepting more of myself. Letting go of harsh self-judgements was something I had and have been doing.

I like how you have put it about life being too short to allow our mistakes hold us back.

Love and abundance always,


Kimbundance - September 7, 2012 Reply

I love this. Yes, fear of rejection is interesting. Because like you mentioned here that when people focus on the past too much, that opens up the fear too much, that isn’t even “real” it’s something in the past. =)
Enjoyed this article!


Evelyn Reply:

Hi Kimbundance,

Once I had the fear of looking into all my fears. But I am in a good space right now to look into those that hold me back. It is interesting that the fear of rejection affects us more than we know.

Thank you for your feedback 🙂


Law Of Attraction Practitioner Certification - June 19, 2013 Reply

Very good post. I am experiencing some of these issues as


Arjun - December 13, 2013 Reply

Hi Evelyn
In my case the fear of rejection occurs when I utter something unacceptable to the listner and I feel bad for him/her. I start to think that it was all my fault and why did I said so. So I decide never talk to them again for I committed a mistake that is unforgetable. And this doen’t end here, I keep recalling my bad experience which makes me feel even low and all this completely disturbs my peace of mind..
What should I practice to ocercome ?


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