Fear of NO (aka Rejection)

I have a few fears (bears, crocodiles, needles…), but one fear I do not have is the fear of rejection or the fear of being told ‘No’. Fear isn’t something to discount and try to avoid completely ; it can save your life to be afraid of the bear facing you. You might not know to hide or run when faced with danger if you were not afraid of it. Fear is there to protect you. Sometimes, we experience fear because we have basically created a ‘bear’ in our mind. And that bear can be the word ‘No’. So you become afraid of being refused something you want, and therefore of asking for it. Or you become afraid of rejection, and you lose the playfulness that you could otherwise experience.

Imagine for a moment, that you have no fear of rejection, or of being told ‘No’. Wouldn’t it make you lighter? Would you try more things and with more enjoyment? If you took a ‘No’ to mean what it really means instead of the big scary bear in your mind, wouldn’t it be enlivening?

What does a ‘No’ really mean then? Let’s face the bear, so to speak, and see what is there. A ‘No’ can mean that someone isn’t available for your offer, or that you are not a good fit, or that they already have commited to someone else… Maybe it means that for the moment, they think your offer isn’t right, but maybe later? Or could they think they are not good enough for it? For many actors, a ‘No’ could simply mean that they need a taller person, or one that speaks Latin and juggles while standing on one foot ! :) I think you get the picture. A ‘No’ says more about the person saying it than it does about you. There are things to learn indeed from a seeming rejection, things we can improve in ourselves, our approach, or our ‘pitch’, as they say.

But I want to pause here and ask: ‘What is the bear in this? Why feel so threatened?’. It might be that you identify with the offer that is refused, or that you think the refusal dimishes your value, or that the opinion of someone has more value than it does, or any variation on this theme. But whatever it is, the lightness of being that you would gain from releasing your fear would create more opportunities for you to explore simply because your fear now blocks them from your awareness, and the opportunities that you would miss in the past might become available now, with this lighter you.

Be as the child, playing in the playground that this world is, and see where the NOs you encounter lead you ; be curious and alert. And when you find yourself paralyzed with fear, ask yourself what bear you might have created in your mind this time? And then laugh. :)

Caroline

PS : Feel free to substitute crocodile for bear if it suits you best ! Or if you live in Florida ! :)

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