Rejection is such a harsh word. When I hear this word, I feel a clenching inside, almost a withdrawal from the word itself. I have recently been hearing a lot about it and doing some studying around it. My feelings of being rejected started way back when I was a child. When I was 10 years old, my mom became pregnant with my first brother. I was so excited. A baby! One that I could love and help take care of and play with. My sister, on the other hand, was rather ambivalent. She didn’t seem to have near the excitement that I did. When Charles was born, I was thrilled. Finally, he was here! But things didn’t go quite as I expected. In fact, it was heart breaking to me. That baby, from the moment he was born, wanted nothing to do with me. As soon as mom set him in my arms, he screamed. Every. Single. Time. But when mom placed him in my sister’s arms, he smiled. No screams. No crying. Just a happy baby.
Now, you might say that this was a baby. He didn’t know. But to my 10 year old psyche, it was complete and utter rejection. I wanted him to love me as I had loved him from the moment I knew he was coming. He wanted my sister instead. Things remained this way for two years. Then my brother Samuel was born. He did love me from the first. He let me hold him and play with him and he was happy to be with me. I know all my brothers love me and accept me today, even Charles. But at the time, it sure felt like complete rejection of me as a person and a sister.
Become Aware of What it Does to You
As I have been reflecting on my life and really studying what I have allowed rejection to do to me, I have been learning some things. I recently heard Brendan Burchard speak about his five personal musts to reach success. Number three on his list was stop fearing rejection. His view on rejection is that it almost never happens. We allow ourselves to clutch to the few rejections that have actually happened and freeze. We stop allowing ourselves to be free within the world. He also said: “Rejection will not hurt you as much as fear”. How true is that? I mean really, our fear is what hurts us. It truly injures us and keeps us stuck. However, the rejection is just a moment in time. Fear grips us and holds us hostage for as long as we don’t let it go.
Decide to Take Action
Another thing that came across my path was a Ted Talk done by Jia Jiang. Jia wanted big things for his life and decided to pursue them. His idea was rejected and he was stuck. He didn’t want to feel that rejection again. You may have heard of this guy, he did an extraordinary documentary about asking people for crazy things so that he could overcome his fear of rejection; basically he was looking for rejection. He had 100 crazy requests but he started getting yeses! The thing that really stuck out to me was this. He said: “If you don’t ask because you are afraid of rejection, you are rejecting yourself”.
Ouch. I don’t want to reject myself. Good grief. But it’s true. If you have an awesome message or product for the world and you are too afraid of the “no’s” to share it, then you are automatically saying your message or product isn’t worth the risk. Is that true? No!
Take Small Action Steps
Each of us has something unique to offer the world and if we aren’t sharing it, then we aren’t living up to our fullest potential. We are living in a box made of fear. We are limiting our impact and mark on those around us. That is complete and utter rejection of who and what we are. Not good.
I teach my clients that taking small steps can make a huge impact and be more sustainable than taking a big leap all of a sudden. I did and still do the same thing when I am working on overcoming this deep rooted fear of rejection. These steps take a different form for each person, but the opportunities are always there. Wherever your fear of rejection lies, there are always small steps you can take until you feel more confident to take the leap and put yourself out there in a big way.
So, I encourage you. Let your light shine. Take a small action step today and work on releasing that fear of rejection.
Sherry Parks is a Rediscovery Coach who helps women rediscover themselves and reconnect to the core of who they are.
To contact Sherry for more information about coaching join her women only Facebook group Lives in Balance.
Originally published at medium.com