Self Acceptance, Overcoming Rejection and A Comfort Zone Challenge
The past few weeks I’ve been writing a series on Relationships and Courageous Conversation. If you haven’t had a chance to read them yet, I would love to have you check them out. There is one post on Active Listening and another post all about my Relationship Checklist for communication. I feel like there is more to say on the topic of Relationships and Courageous Conversation, but I am switching gears for this week’s blog.
If you weren’t able to attend my most recent Therapy Thoughts Workshops on Self Acceptance and Overcoming Rejection, I thought I would recap our discussion and give you an overview of what we covered.
I feel like I owe Scott Allan a huge shout out and an even bigger “Thank you” for writing the book Rejection Free. This book has radically changed my life and how I approach the concept of rejection, and I have been able to implement much of it into my therapy and coaching practice to help many of my clients. In this blog post, I am giving an overview of the highlights of this amazing book and offering my own insight of how to implement some new strategies into your life in order to live free of rejection and to develop more self acceptance and confidence, and I highly recommend you read Rejection Free.
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I love how this book uses such practical easy to understand examples to keep in mind when thinking about rejection.
Not everyone will “like” you and that’s ok! I used to spend so much time worrying about making everyone happy, but this book helped me see that not everyone is my audience. Recognizing this was the first step to becoming rejection free in my own life. People pleasers tend to struggle with this one.
Getting rejected is not necessarily personal, and it does not mean something is wrong with you. How hypersensitive are you to rejection? Do you take rejection personally? What would it be like to recognize that rejection just happens, and it is not a reflection of your worth or value?
Rejection is not permanent, but overcoming it requires action. If you are rejected or told, “no”, how do you respond? Do you let it keep you down and stuck or do you use it a springboard to keep going and look for other opportunities?
There is no such thing as “normal”. I encourage you to embrace your weirdness from an authentic and vulnerable place and notice how freeing is it to just be your unique self.
Comparison only serves to rob us of our joy. There will always be someone who has more or who has done more or who seems more accomplished than you are. This is why it’s so important to remember that you are only in competition with yourself, and comparing yourself to others will not serve your own purpose or goals. When you find yourself entering into a comparison mindset, try to ground yourself back to your journey.
Rejection does not mean you should give up. Rejection is a normal part of life, and it should not be used a reason to stop trying. Sometimes you may need to change tactics or find the right audience or outlet for your needs, but rejection is not a reason to stay stuck where you are.
Perfectionism is a form of self rejection. This one was hugely important to my own life, and I see so many people struggling with their own versions of perfectionism. I think it may be the topic of a future blog, but for now, I encourage you to think about what it would be like to approach life by focusing on the progress you’re making and not just on the perfect outcome goal you’re striving for? Are you giving yourself credit for how far you’ve come or only focusing on how far you still have left to go?
Connection & Acceptance
We are wired for connection and want to be accepted. So much of our inner thought processes revolve around us worrying what other people will think about us and what we are doing or how they will respond to us. We often reject ourselves based on the outcome we are expecting to get before we actually give anyone a chance to reject us. If we go into a situation expecting to be rejected, it changes how we carry ourselves and the level of confidence we project. What would it be go into situations knowing you have awesome things to offer? How does it change your outlook to believe you have worth and value?
Fear of the Unknown
We so often keep doing things that make us unhappy out of fear of the unknown of doing something different. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. Rejection is a way to trap ourselves in our own mindset. If we buy into the fears of rejection, it solidifies the lies we tell ourselves about our own self-worth and value. This in turn impacts our ability to accept ourselves for who we are.
There is a difference between living in fear and living with fear. Instead of living in fear of what may happen in the future, what would it be like to embrace the fear and uncertainty as a part of the process of growth? After all, you’re not going to actually know the outcome unless you put yourself out there and try to attain what you want. How can you turn the negative into a positive for your life? Fear and self-doubt leads to self-rejection, and it very often involves that comparison I was talking about earlier in this post. What would it be like to choose yourself and to reject your self-imposed limitations?
The “Committee” in Your Head
I absolutely believe that we get to choose how we respond to every situation. When we face rejection, we have a choice to see the rejection as a set back or an opportunity for what comes next. Even still, what if you aren’t actually being rejected, but instead you’re just not fitting into someone else’s preferences, wants or needs? We get to decide if we are going to take any perceived rejection personally. In fact, 99% of all the rejection we face is internal not external. This means that we are doing a lot more self-rejection than anything else. Think about when you’ve said “no” to things you’ve been asked in your own life. Did you have some malicious intention to hurt the other person by rejecting them or did you just give voice to your preference?
We make up stories about the world around us and how we fit into it, and I would ask you to think about whether those stories are helping you or hurting you. Are you self-rejecting before anyone else has a chance to say “no” to you? Are you creating a kind of “tunnel vision” that you will be rejected no matter what you do? How does blaming, shaming and criticizing yourself help or hurt you? Rather than feeling so at odds with yourself and at war with your emotions, what would it be like to make room for all the emotions to exist in order to find an internal balance? By reclaiming your power and going after what you want, you will start building your self-confidence based on your own strengths and not the perceptions and preferences of others.
The Condition of Rejectionism
Rejectionism is more than a condition we suffer from. It can actually become a way of life, and it can keep us very trapped in our own way. You are never as stuck as you think you are, and if you want to break out of the trappings of rejectionism, you are going to need to use some courage, vulnerability, and authenticity. As a way to start, make a list or journal about how you keep yourself trapped by predictability. What would it be like to challenge the predictability and do things you normally wouldn’t do? What is the worst that’s going to happen? This is the basis for my Comfort Zone Challenge I’ll be talking about a bit later in this blog. The goal is to get out of your own way and challenge yourself to take back the power in your life.
Going for “No”
Have you ever heard of the law of averages? I’m not sure that’s the official name of this concept, but I’ve heard it numerous times, and that’s what I call it. It states that for every 100 times we ask for something in life, we will be told “no” 99 times and only hear “yes” once! This is huge to keep in mind when learning to ask for what you want. As I mentioned earlier, the way someone reacts to you is usually about them, but if you are too hyper-sensitive and take it all personally, you will continue to keep yourself stuck in inaction.
I will sometimes have my clients number an index card or a piece of paper from 1-100 and check them off each time they get told “no” during the process of asking for things. The goal is to fill up the page with the check marks as a way to show progress towards getting a “yes” rather than focusing on the “no”. It is so effective to see the progress in a tangible way rather than keeping it all internal.
Desensitize Fear by Asking
If asking for what you want is the key to desensitizing the fear of asking, and if we will absolutely not get what we want if we don’t ask, then we have to start asking. In the book Rejection Free, the author gives many reasons we come up with as reasons to not ask for things in our lives, and we have to work to push past them.
We know the answer will be “no”, so why bother asking? This goes back to the self-confidence I talked about earlier. If you walk into a situation expecting to be told, “no”, it’s very likely you’re projecting that into your ask. This is also directly correlated with the likelihood of achieving a positive outcome.
We will be embarrassed or humiliated if we are rejected. If you can learn to stop taking rejection personally, then the fear of embarrassment or humiliation drastically reduces.
We fear that we will be told “yes”. Sometimes we are actually afraid of getting what we are asking for. This is why it’s important to make sure you are asking for things that align with your goals and desires. For example, if you are asking for a raise at work if you take on more responsibility, make sure you are ready to take on those extra tasks, because you may be given exactly what you ask for.
We believe we aren’t worthy of asking for what we want. If we don’t believe we are worthy, then we will not feel as empowered to ask. It’s important to work on your internal feelings of self-worth and to get in touch with why you aren’t feeling worthy.
Our pride tells us we are begging or bothering people by asking. This one was huge for me. I’m not actually bothered by being told “no”, but I don’t ever want to be a burden or a bother on others. What I was finally able to realize is that I’m only responsible for asking. I’m not responsible for how someone reacts to my asking. If someone is burdened or bothered by you, they are in charge of giving voice to this. You’re not responsible to for their feelings, they are.
Our self-esteem tells us our needs aren’t important or we can do without. So many of my clients will do without or feel they their needs are unimportant. Going back to those feelings of worthiness, you have to reset and remind yourself that your needs are no less important than anyone else’s, but you have to be the advocate for them. If you want a new job, you do have to apply for it. The hiring manager isn’t going to show up at your front door and beg you to come to work for their company.
We fear we will be judged in big and small ways. The committee in your head gets quite loud at times and the perceived judgement is likely self-judgement coming from you. If someone judges you, that really does say more about them than you, and you get to choose how to respond. Just because someone else may judge you for asking for something, it does not mean you’re wrong for wanting it or asking for it.
You may be wondering what happens if we do push past all these reasons not to ask, and instead, we start advocating for our needs and wants? Try to remember that people who ask for what they want are usually going to face a good bit of rejection, but this is not a reason to not ask. The more you ask for and advocate for your needs and wants, the better likelihood you have of getting what you are asking for or you may get something even better. Asking opens up possibilities in your life, and it’s up to you to determine how to use this power.
Comfort Zone Challenge
When I was working with my life coach, Cassandra at Life Worth, she had me go on a #RejectionQuest to help me overcome my own fears of rejection. It quite literally changed my life, and with every new #RejectionTask I went on, I felt more and more empowered to advocate for myself. I realized the worst outcome of most situations was being told “no”, and I was able to overcome my worries that I am bothering or bugging people just by asking for things.
After the 30 day #RejectionQuest, I found myself wanting to continue pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone and out of my own way. This is how the Comfort Zone Challenge was born, and I am asking you to join me. Because I know consistency is the key to success, I decided to challenge myself to do something outside my comfort zone every day. These could be big things or small things, but they all count on this challenge. You could choose to do something as simple as sending a message to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while or a new contact on social media, or you could decide to apply for your dream job, even if you don’t think you’re completely qualified.
The goal of the Comfort Zone Challenge is to push yourself to get out of your own way. Start where you are and do what you can, and start leaning into your fears. Don’t let fear control the outcome of your life! Scott Allan gives some great steps and suggestions to start asking for what you want, and I have combined his list with a bit of my own flair. This list is what helped me begin the #RejectionQuest #RejectionTasks, and I hope it will help you get started on a Comfort Zone Challenge in your own life
Stop thinking about the negative outcome.
Visualize yourself in action of asking.
Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Remember that rejection is an illusion and mostly created in your own mind.
Keep on asking. After all, it is a numbers game…remember the law of averages.
Stop complaining about what you don’t have and ask for what you want.
Timing is everything.
Know who to ask and what to ask for. Be specific, clear and confident in asking.
Keep track of your score
We get what we give, so make sure you have balance to the giving and asking.
Believe you’re worth receiving.
Be grateful for what you get, even if it’s a “no”. See it as positive.
Visualize yourself asking. Role play in your head.
I do hope you’ll consider going on some Comfort Zone Challenges with me. If you are curious to see some examples of the #RejectionQuest #RejectionTasks I did as inspiration for you own challenges, I’ve included a couple of links to my favorites in this blog. The first #RejectionTask I went on was to Target. I had to ask to make an announcement over the intercom system, and even though they said, “no”, it empowered me to keep going on more #RejectionTasks. I also went #RejectionTask called a “selfie hunt” where I had to ask 7 random people to take a selfie with me and let me post the pictures on my Facebook. Although most people were a bit surprised by my request, everyone said “yes”, and it was such an amazing and empowering experience to step outside of my fear that I’m bothering people and have fun with it!
Rejection can feel paralyzing, so I’m encouraging you to focus on your progress, connect to your vulnerability, live your life authentically, take consistent action and remember you are never stuck!
Work with Me
If you are interested in setting up an appointment for therapy, life coaching, or consulting or if you would like more information about ways to develop self acceptance and overcome rejection in your own life, you can call my office directly at 314-485-9189 or feel free to send me a message. My direct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more life and relationship tips!
Therapy Thoughts Workshops
If you are local to the St. Louis area and interested in attending my monthly Therapy Thoughts Workshops, the next one will be on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 from 7:30pm-8:30pm. It will at the The Bike Stop Cafe in St. Charles. We will be discussing Sex and Relationships. No questions are off limits, and I look forward to a great discussion. The cost is $5 to get in, and this gets you $2 off any drink of your choice as well as entry into the attendance raffle drawings. I hope to see you there!
Therapy Thoughts Podcast
My Therapy Thoughts podcast will be re-launching in a few weeks, and I am so excited!!! It will be available in both audio and visual formats. I am looking forward to having this up and running again, and I’ll have more information as we get closer to the re-launch. Make sure you are following my social media platforms and make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you will be able to watch all the episodes!