If your fear of being rejected is preventing you from taking a risk, whether it be career or relationship related, don’t let it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always “No.” And if the answer is “No,” well you’ll just be back in the same place as if you hadn’t asked. So why not risk it?
Whether it is your project proposal getting shut down or a “Thanks for applying, but…” email from a job you want, there are a variety of situations related to work when you can be rejected. This can be discouraging and perhaps you’ll feel like you should give up. Don’t! Just because one time your idea or application wasn’t accepted, doesn’t mean you don’t have something to offer next time. Keep thinking of solutions, keep applying to positions you want, keep taking steps towards what you want. Doing nothing after an initial rejection will never help you succeed, trying again might.
I don’t just mean romantic relationships either, this encompasses potential friendships, networking connections, mentors, and even family. When you feel a connection to someone, naturally you want to pursue it, but sometimes the feeling isn’t mutual. I always try to give the person a semi-graceful way to bow out of exchanging contact information, making someone feel pressured into interacting with you is no way to develop a healthy and worthwhile exchange. Much of the time when someone rejects you, it has nothing to do with you personally. There are often outside influences that result in them severing the relationship between you two. Often there is nothing you could’ve done differently that would have changed their mind. Of course you should acknowledge how this makes you feel, but try to step outside of it as well, put it into perspective and move on. After all, no matter how you felt in the moment, in reality you’ll be fine whether they stick around or not.
Sidenote: Do not employ the same technique of trying again as in the work rejection situation. You need to respect people’s right to not want to connect with you.
What To Do About It
You could get angry, defensive. Or you can turn that negative emotion into something better by accepting what has happened and going forward. In terms of work, re-evaluate what didn’t get your idea accepted and then improve it. In terms of relationships, ask yourself, do you really want to try and pursue having someone in your life who has made it clear they don’t really want to be there? Personally, I prefer to spend my time and attention cultivating meaningful connections with people who value and respect me as much as I do them.
There’s no way around it, being rejected hurts. Your ego gets a little bruised, maybe you question your worth. That pain is what stops many people from even attempting to get what they want. It is up to you not to let it.