Everyone experiences anxiety. And many people experience the fear of rejection.
Scientific evidence supports psychotherapy as the first line of treatment for anxious tendencies and for anxiety disorders of all types. One of my clients, Linda (name has been changed), was feeling very apprehensive at one of our sessions. She wasn’t able to make eye contact and kept going on about how she was feeling undermined at work. She couldn’t understand why her co-workers were disrespecting her and why she felt so awful about everything.
Of course, the first thing I did was listen. I asked her open-ended questions to elicit more information and really tuned into how she was feeling in the moment.
But as a trained therapist, I had an even bigger role. I wanted to enhance her self-awareness. So I asked her, “what are you feeling?” At first, she had a blank stare on her face, but then she looked at me nervously and said “I’m ok.” I looked back and said, “I know you are okay, but what emotion are you feeling right now?” Linda had a puzzled look on her face.
What to me was an obvious question, to most clients, is not so obvious.
Knowing what emotion you are having is the first step in learning how to manage that feeling.
For Linda, her emotion was fear – specifically, fear of rejection. Although the narrative was that of the conflict occurring in her workplace, and her feelings of being ‘disrespected’ – the underlying feeling that she was experiencing that was making her upset, was her fear of being rejected by her colleagues.
We all have fears and they are normal. For Linda, her anxiety centered around social rejection, the fear of rejection Now, she doesn’t have Social Anxiety, which is a specific issue where one avoids social interactions due to belief that they are threatening, but for everyone, fearing social rejection is a real thing.
We are all social creatures, we want to feel safe and know that we belong. When this is threatened, or when we don’t experience safety in relationships when we are young, we end up projecting our fears onto every new situation that we have.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Whether you fear rejection or have a full blown Social Anxiety Disorder, psychotherapy is the best way to develop the self-awareness that you need to take control of your inner negative belief that you are unworthy and unlovable.
We also fear failure, the unknown, being out of control and pain and suffering – but I will share more about those fears in the coming weeks.
In order to heal from a threat, we need to face it straight on, investigate its origins, apply new coping strategies – and most of all, give ourselves a little self-love.
If you’re interested in professional support in learning how to move past your fear of rejection, we encourage you to book a complimentary 30 minute intake call with our Care Manager.
Leah Weisberg, RN BScN BC-NC
Leah is a Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse, Psychotherapist and Founder & CEO at Dynamic Health Collaborative. She is passionate about providing mental health services that consider one’s mind, body and relationships. In addition to providing private emotion-focused psychotherapy services, Leah teaches mindfulness classes, leads a team of over a dozen practitioners at her clinic, and collaborates with organizations on creating awareness of emotional and mental health concerns. She can be reached by emailing [email protected]