Defeat Your Fear Of Rejection And Free Yourself From Social Anxiety
How do you feel about rejection? Do you hate it and avoid it at all costs? That might be part of the problem…Join Dr. Aziz as he shares why rejection is so painful and exactly how to overcome your fear of it. You will learn how to defeat your fear of rejection so that you can start talking to people, meeting women, and going after what you really want in life.
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Rejection – The Dreaded “R” Word
Welcome to another episode of Shrink For The Shy Guy. I’m your host Doctor Aziz and this episode is all about getting rejected. Oh, yes, the dreaded “R” word, rejected, the thing that we all desperately are trying to avoid and hope never happens to us and yet, inevitably, invariably, it somehow always does.
Even if we try to avoid rejection fully in our lives, even if we never take that risk and never ask that person out and never apply for that job, which is a pretty difficult way to live, to actually try to avoid all rejection, but even if we try to avoid most rejection, we end up feeling rejected anyway, don’t we?
Even if it’s not a direct rejection, we can just feel rejected. We can feel rejected when someone doesn’t make eye contact with us on the street.
So, there’s so many ways in which we can feel rejected. It’s an unavoidable part of life which sucks, I know, but this episode’s going to be all about looking at rejection, how you deal with it, what triggers it for you, and what you can do about it so it doesn’t hold you back so much in your life.
We all scared of rejection, aren’t we? I mean, I’ve been doing this stuff for 10 years where I’ve been really actively working on developing my confidence and putting myself out there, I still hate to get rejected. It still sucks.
Deep down, it’s just a really unpleasant thing and it makes us feel so uncomfortable that it leads to a universal fear of rejection and some people might say, well, I’m not that scared of rejection but really, if you look at the behaviour, the reason they’re not scared of it is they just tend to avoid situations that might produce rejection.
So, they don’t speak up. They don’t give a talk in front of the group. They don’t raise their hands. They don’t ask the person for their number. They don’t develop those friendships. They say, “I’ll wait ‘til the person comes and talks to me.”
So, these are all ways that we try to avoid rejection but underneath, we’re still scared of it.
How Are You Held Back By Rejection?
The first question I have to post to you today is how does your fear of rejection stop you in your life? How is it holding you back in your life right now? And also, what happens when you feel rejected? Because that’s the crux of it, right?
The reason we are scared of rejection is, you know, we’re not really scared of not getting the job or, you know, that person says no to our friendship request or she says no to going on a date. I mean, sure, there’s disappointment there, maybe you really wanted the job or really wanted to date her. So, the fear is not, oh, my god, I didn’t get that outcome and that’s – my life’s over.
The fear is I didn’t get that outcome and now here comes the pain, right? The pain of rejection that can sit with us and simmer with us for days and weeks and feel like a full by experience, it intends to feel all or nothing.
I remember when I was a kid, I used to go down to Los Angeles to visit my cousins and each year, they had a, you know, the phrase or a word that was kind of the thing of the summer. I think my older cousin, Kevin, created them because he was, you know, the oldest and therefore the coolest and so it was ridiculous. So, sometimes it was, you know, “rad”, it was “rad” when you’re – one year, it was “budenski”, you know, like that was an insult you call someone like, dude, you’re such a “budenski”. I don’t know what that means but it was, but you didn’t want to be a “budenski”.
And I remember one year, Kevin didn’t come up with the word of the summer. It was actually my younger cousin, Paul, who for some reason, he decided that word of the summer was going to be rejected. So, what happens is that they had a pool down their place in L.A. which is a great place for a pool because it’s sunny and normal at times.
So, we’d be playing in the pool non-stop when we visited for the week in August usually and we play water, you know, volleyball in the water and Marco Polo and all the stuff and for whatever reason that summer, if he tags you in Marco Polo or if he, you know, spike the ball in volleyball, he would get it right in your face and we’re talking like, you know, 8-year-old kids or something and he put his finger right in my face and he’d go, rejected, rejected, rejected, rejected. He just keep doing it, you know, for like eight times he’d say it and, you know, it’s so ridiculous to imagine that now but at the time, it felt bad.
I was like, “oh, yeah, dude, I suck, ah, I’m rejected, I’m so embarrassed.”
And that is what rejection feels like in our bodies, doesn’t it? It’s that full body sense of crumpling in, I’m bad and if someone doesn’t want to talk to us or we don’t get the job or something, it feels like a full body sense of someone saying, you are rejected. Your wholesale bad as a person.
And so, that’s what we’re going to unravel today, you know, because the strategy of avoidance of trying not to experience it doesn’t work because it involves so much constriction and not putting ourselves out there and really limiting yourselves in life that it’s really not a viable strategy. You don’t want to live that way, not if you want to pursue any level of, you know, satisfaction and fulfilment in your relationships, your career, following your passions and your hobbies, all that stuff requires a different way of being than trying to avoid rejection.
So, we’re going to take just a brief break and we’re going to get back into rejection. We’re going to take a deeper look into what happens when you get rejected and some of your rejection triggers that somewhat causes you to feel rejection and the deeper reason why rejection hurts so much. And then of course, as always in the shows, it’s not just about insights but how do we break free, how do we take it to the next level and become more socially unrestricted, more liberated to be yourself. So, stay tuned. We’ll get into that right after this.
Your Rejection Triggers
Welcome back. I want to start by asking you a question. What happened – think about the last time that you felt rejected. We’re going to draw some of this and we’re going to create some awareness but just thinking about that, when was the last time I felt rejected? It could have been – it could be right now.
You could be sitting with that feeling and it could be from a week ago. And you might be thinking, uh, this is uplifting — but just bear with me. This is going to help you create some awareness and let me ask you this. What happened that led to you feeling rejected? There’s always something. There’s a little trigger. There’s something that happens. And then most importantly, what did it mean to you that a person did that thing or said that thing? What did you make it mean about you? That is the key power in terms of dealing with rejection. Those are just the questions to think about. Let me flash it out with an example from my own life.
So, just earlier today actually, I’d been running a test for this new program that I’m putting up, the 30 Days for Dating Mastery and I was doing a test with some people and they’re running for the program, we’re working out the kings and I got some feedback from a guy and it was mixed.
Here are some good things I like about the program and in the last paragraph of his e-mail was kind of a long somewhat sharper or what I felt was a little critical sense of like here’s where I wasn’t good and why didn’t you do that, what’s wrong with this and I really don’t think it’s worth this much and it was, you know, some part of me is like, okay, I guess this is good feedback but another part of me was like, damn, ouch, because that’s a little harsh and guess what? I felt rejected.
What is your rejection trigger? Now, for me in this case it is someone criticizing something that I created and perhaps criticizing it in a way that I felt was harsh or perhaps not, you know, balanced in terms of creative or constructive criticism. It felt just like here’s why it sucked and you’re not good enough. So, that was a trigger for me but what – there are so many triggers, right?
Now, those are the obvious ones. There’s the obvious trigger of you go talk to that woman and you try to start a conversation with her and she’s kind of, you know, lukewarm to not warm like (uhh) like she gives you a signal of stop talking to me or you ask for her number and she says no or there’s the rejection of you applying for the job and you don’t get it.
Those are the obvious ones but those aren’t the only times we feel rejected, are they?
You can feel rejected when you go talk to that person and they don’t respond immediately to what you just said or they look away slightly when you’re talking and in that moment, you feel like, oh, they don’t want to be talking to me and it’s a rejection trigger and you feel rejected even though they haven’t overtly rejected you.
And here is the kicker my friend. If you’re dealing with social anxiety, then what happens is you’re hyper sensitive to rejection so you’re going to start seeing rejection even when it’s not there, even if the person is just looking down, the person looks away because something moved in the peripheral vision and they reflexibly checked it out then you said to yourself, “they don’t like me, I’m rejected.”
But that is a hyper sensitivity. So, the real pain of this is not only – are we more sensitive to rejection when we’re anxious but we actually interpret it as happening more.
So, I guess the main question I have for you is paying attention to what are my rejection triggers. Another way of saying that is what has to happen in order for me to feel rejected and I want you to just reflect on your own life from the last few weeks even just the last few months. What has to happen in order for me to feel rejected?
And then the next thing to ask, and this is the most important question, is what does it mean? What does it mean when that person looks away? What does it mean when she says no to you asking for her number? What does it mean when this guy sends me his e-mail where he says he isn’t (liking) my program?
And this is the crux of handling rejection because the default meaning is, you guessed, it’s going to be negative. It’s going to be negative as shit. It’s going to be so bad. And the case of this e-mail, I guess where it first went right in my heart, it was, oh, my god, he says that my stuff is not good enough,
I’m terrible, I suck, I know my program wasn’t good enough. I knew I should have never created anything in the first place, oh god, I’m awful, right, and this just kind of crumpling in. Does that sound familiar to another type of criticism? That’s right, your inner critic — listen, like go back and listen to that show because the rejection that we feel is only partially from the outside, usually.
Now, of course if you’re in like an abusive relationship or something where the person’s lacing in to you, then yeah, they might, you know, dish it out 100 percent but for the most part, the criticisms we get are mild or partial or somewhat, you know, someone says I’m a little disappointed with this in you or you could be working a little harder here but we make it mean something way more extreme, something black and white, right? It’s like all or nothing. I’m a total failure now because they said I wasn’t working hard enough or I’m completely worthless and unlovable because she don’t want to give me her number.
So, the question for you is what do you make it mean? What have you been making it meaning? What are your default meanings for rejection? Take a moment to just think about those questions. Don’t just, you know, listen to me and say, oh. Yes, what else – what will he tell me? What are the meanings? No, I want you to think about it in yourself. What meanings do you give? And are those meanings helpful? Do they serve you?
We might say, well, I don’t have a choice to that. That’s just what happens but that’s what it is initially. But of course we have choice over time. Of course you can change these things overtime through intention, through your practice, through awareness, you can change these but the first step is becoming aware. What are my default meanings? So, what are you default meanings for rejection?
Take a moment to ponder on that. We’re going to be taking a brief break right now and then when we get back, we’re going to get in to the most important thing which is why do we change these meanings? What are more empowering meanings? What are more realistic meanings? What are the things I can do when I’m feeling that terrible rejection feeling in my chest, in my heart? How do I deal with it? We’re going to get into all of that right after this.
Changing What Rejection Means
Now, we’re going to get in to how to deal with rejection, how to handle it when you’re feeling that terrible sinking feeling right in your heart and it’s hollow and empty and aching in your chest and your throat feels closing because you feel like you’re not good enough, that – you know, deep rejection feeling. We’re going to talk about how to deal with that, how to get out of that, how to help yourself when you’re struggling with that.
But before we do, I want to start a new segment on this show which is – because I in my search for confidence have done all kinds of stuff and read all kinds of books and done every program under the sun than you can imagine and there’s a lot of useful stuff in those programs and some of that stuff is downright terrible advise which brings us to our new segment, Worst Advice Ever.
That’s right, worst advice ever.
And this relates to our topic of rejection because this advise is trying to help guys avoid rejection and not avoiding it by, you know, hunkering down and hiding but avoiding it by being kind of, you know, rejecting yourself which I’m not a big fan of. So, here is the advice. This is from a dating program.
I’m not going to say which specific one but it’s on dating program and they’re talking about status and they’re talking about how to appear that you’re high status, you know, like you’re very valuable and try the ways to make her feel like she’s lower status than you so she’s trying to get your approval which is a whole topic in itself. Let’s go get into it later.
But the one specific piece of advice they had was if you’re on a date with her and you sent her to a coffee shop, you know, sit back in your chair, lean back, which is that’s cool, you know, open body language but then, here is where the advice got really bad.
When she’s telling you about stuff and she’s talking to you, make sure that you don’t sustain eye contact, make sure that you look away, you know, not looking down nervously but just kind of look away to the side, check out the scene of the environment. Don’t give her the impression that you’re just fully absorbing what she’s saying. And what this will do is this will make you slightly uncomfortable and feel like she’s lower status and feel like she needs to work to gain your approval.
Now, this advice is just bad on many levels because first and foremost, I mean, here’s what we’re trying to do. It’s trying to help the guy who’s stuck because he’s over eager and desperate to please in dating situations and therefore is kind of finding that he’s not getting the response of attraction from women and there are many ways of dealing with that but pretending to be aloof, I don’t think is a good one.
I think what’s really much more effective and important is to look at that inner self-esteem stuff. And we go into that in 30 Days to Dating Mastery. Look at that inner self-esteem stuff so you can feel like you are valuable, that you don’t need to get her approval to be a good person.
And only from that place can you then engage with her and then you’re naturally not going to be getting off that vibe of like overly eager to please. And also on top of that, you know, what is dating? You know, maybe if dating could just be a passage way to get laid but you know, for a lot of guys and most guys that really feel like it’s underneath, it’s about true connection. It’s not about just the notch on your belt and feeling significant for a short period of time.
Sure, that gets all quick though. It’s really about how do I relate to this person, see them for who they are and help them see me for who I am and share who I am and feel that deep sense of connection and joy that comes from that. And that doesn’t come from looking disinterested and kind of gaming her into trying to get your approval.
That’s just another tactic that is born out of low self-esteem. So, in short, I think that’s a bad advice and I would strongly suggest, being your authentic self with her and not overly worrying about trying to look too cool and disinterested in what she’s saying which is part of my problem with a lot of the pickup artist stuff out there. It’s very much representing this front of, you know, I’m too cool for that and it’s really not who you are. As kind of – it doesn’t set up the best relationships.
So, now we’re going to move in to how to deal with rejection and here’s the thing, if you’re putting yourself out there and you are dating her and you’re being yourself and you’re not being hyper, you know, strategizing your head about how to get her and make her attracted to you and you’re just being yourself, you might get rejected. You will get rejected. That’s inevitable. So, how do we deal with it?
Well, the first thing is we have to find out what meaning we’re giving it and we have to change the meaning.
You have to come up with at least three alternative meanings.
So, if you ask a woman for her number and she says, no, I’m sorry, I don’t give my number out or you start a conversation with a woman and she doesn’t seem that engaged with it and find out what meaning you give it and say, “Okay, okay, I’m spiralling now into a sense of feeling – like I’m rejected.” What are three other meanings other than I’m a terrible loser and no woman would ever want to be with me so of course she said no? That might be your default meaning.
What are three other things that this could mean? And in this one, what you’re going to do is you want to search for the grey. It’s not all or nothing. It’s not black or white. Search for the grey. Say, well, maybe she didn’t feel comfortable. She doesn’t feel comfortable giving her number to someone she doesn’t know. You know, a lot of women won’t really do that.
You know, they want to date a friend of a friend or, you know, be familiar with someone before they give their number. Maybe she used to do that but then she had a terrible experience with the guy where she gave him her number and she didn’t know him that well and they’ve slept together really quick and she felt used and didn’t want to do that again. Maybe, in the example if you starting a conversation with the woman and she’s not that interested, maybe she’s having a bad day. Maybe she just got off the phone with her dad and he was being critical and she hates him when he does that.
You know, who knows what’s going on in someone’s life? It’s not just about you and your worth. In fact, that’s the last thing that factors into the puzzle. It’s not nearly about us as much as we think it’s about us as much as we think it’s about us. And that’s the thing, it’s often about the other person. What’s going on with them?
And even if there’s not – she’s not in a bad mood, maybe she just literally didn’t – doesn’t want to connect with you. She’s not that interested in you and even then, does that mean you’re a bad person? Got to find a different meaning for that, you know, she doesn’t like – she doesn’t like strawberry ice cream. So, does that mean, you know, you’re chocolate.
Does that mean chocolate’s bad? No, it’s her preference. So, okay, she didn’t like that. That wasn’t for her. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. So, you got to change that meaning, you got to find and ask yourself, what are three other things that this could mean?
Another simple tip, as you’re feeling rejected, your body language is going to start to collapse, you know, yourself like that — in like that, a porcupine going into it’s, you know, balling up with the spikes out. So, what you would need to do is you need to have an upright posture and you — I would suggest doing this a lot of the time but especially when you noticed that rejection, walk tall, walk upright, lift your chin up so there’s more and, you know, pull your shoulders back so your chest is more expanded because in that moment, we want to contract and feel like we’re bad and it’s not safe and we’re no good but we have to start counteracting that program and say, you know what, I’m going to open up to the world. I’m not going to let this stop me.
Another thing you need to do is you need to really kick up that self talk. You need to start speaking to yourself well. And you say, hey, man, I know this sucks, no one likes getting rejected. I’m sorry you experienced that and look, you’re being extreme. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re doing well and look at this, at least you’re trying this and hey, you’re doing that and really give yourself a pep talk. And I’m talking about out loud if you can, in your car, you should – man, if someone could record the pep talks I give myself, they probably think I was insane but it’s – that’s how you really get through it. Give yourself that pep talk and if you want, put your hand on your heart as you do it.
Kristin Neff and other researchers who looked at self compassion found that people put their hands on their heart. There’s actually release of oxytocin after – I think it’s 30 or 60 seconds which is a hormone that is released when a mother bond with her baby, if you were to take MDMA, that is released as well.
Serotonin, it gives people that sense of euphoria and connection with others. So, oxytocin is very calming bonding chemical and that when you put your hand on your heart, it actually can release that, so giving yourself a pep talk, putting your hand on your heart and holding it there and breathing into your heart.
Another thing you can do is talk to a friend, you know, so in that, going back to that example of that negative feedback, I got – I started doing all these things and another thing I did is I put a call out to one of my good friends and I just said, hey, and actually forwarded him an e-mail and I said, hey, can I get your read on this? Like I don’t know if I’m being overly sensitive or this was kind of harsh like – but I noticed I’m feeling rejected, what do you think? And he sent me a text a while later so I read it out, I’ll tell you what I think, do you have a moment?
And so I called him and we just chatted for 5 or 10 minutes and he gave me some great feedback kind of like, yeah, you know, there’s positive and negative in here but the negative did feel pretty harsh like I felt, like this guy is a little angry about something and he’s taking it out on you and I just got his perspective and he said, “Hey, Aziz, look, you’re putting yourself out there at a really high level and, you know, it’s a lot easier to be a hater than it is to really do what you’re doing.”
And it was such a great feedback and support and I strongly encourage you to develop those relationships in your life and we’re going to get deeper into friendships in future episodes if you don’t have those connections.
But man, that support is a key. So, whether it’s a good friend or a sibling or a family member or even a counsellor talking to someone about that feeling and taking the risk to be vulnerable really is going to help you feel like you’re not alone, help you move through that feeling.
And the final thing that I’m going to share about how to deal with rejection which I think is hands down, the most important thing you can do is to not stop. Don’t take the rejection and say, well, I guess I just won’t ask anyone out ever again or well, they don’t want me for that job, I guess I’m just not qualified so I won’t apply for jobs, you know, or he didn’t like my program, I guess I won’t create any more programs.
That is not what we need to do. We need to do the exact opposite of that and so – in that moment, you can take some small action. So, here I am recording this pod cast tonight after earlier in the day, I felt criticized because I thought my stuff wasn’t good enough. So, I’m like, you know what, that is total BS. I’m just going to take action now and it really helps. It’s very soothing.
So, now we need to get into your action step for this week. You action step is to do something this week that gets you rejected. Oh, yes, a teacher of mine called that rejection practice. You’re putting yourself out there in a way that is going to get you rejected. Now, I don’t mean you have to, you know, go grab a woman’s ass or something like that or do something totally inappropriate, don’t do that. I’m not saying you do that. Don’t do that but go talk to her in a reasonable way and try, you know, to connect with her but in your mind, you’re saying, you know what, what I’m really going for is a rejection. I’m trying to get rejected. I’m going to act my normal self and put myself out there and I’m going to try to get rejected.
You know, one powerful way I suggest guys to do this as one of the missions in 30 Days to Dating Mastery, his funny story is actually – I learned about this on the internet from some (youtube) video where a guy goes around and ask people, you know, he walks into like a lobby of a hotel and goes up to the employee working there and he’s like, excuse me, he’s like, yeah, and he says, can I have $100.00? And the guy kind of gives him a weird look and says, no, and he says, “Okay, thanks, and he walks out.
So, that’s guaranteed to get a rejection. The funny story about that is one of the guys who went to the program sent me an e-mail and it turns out that he was in a suburb and he asked someone. He said, excuse me, kind I have $100.00? You know, completely politely, non threateningly and the guy said, no. And then the guy went into his house and called the police and so the police showed up like 20 minutes later or 10 minutes later, whatever, in this suburb and they start talking to this guy and he said, you know what, what’s going on? Why did you do that? What’s going – are you on drugs? And he’s like, no. Why did you ask him the money? Oh, it’s just, you know, I’m practicing getting more comfortable with rejection.
And I just thought that story was hilarious and fascinating.
So, you run a little risk of potential police interaction, the first time I’ve heard of that but the reality is, you’re not breaking any laws and I – my initial reaction was fuck that, do it anyway, because you’re not breaking any laws and if that guy is so freaked out and he has to run into his house and call the cops, then he’s got some major issues of his own. And I mean, it’s nothing about you and hey, it’s even more exposure, even more rejections.
So, that’s good. It’s like medicine. So, if you could find a way to expose yourself to rejection, then that is going to give you a way to deal with it when you practice all the stuff and that’s the only way that you build up your tolerance to greater and greater things, to more and more rejection which is inevitable when you start putting yourself out there at a higher level. So, that is our show for the week.
Thanks for listening.
I hope this has helped you get a sense of how rejection is impacting you in your life, how you’re avoiding it, how you deal with the fear of it that gives you a sense of relief that the fear is universal, that everyone feels it even the person that looks the most confident in the world still feels afraid of rejection and it’s all just a matter of how we deal with it, how we manage the feelings afterwards and how we move towards it. So, thanks for listening to this episode of Shrink For The Shy Guy and until we speak again. Know that you’re awesome.