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Adam Willemse | Life Coach

Tag: fear

The fear of rejection

Do not take anything personally.

The fear of rejection is one of man’s greatest fears. It stands alongside other big fears like the fear of embarrassment or the fear of failure. Some people even have a fear of achievement! But rejection, that one is way up at the top of the list.

Rejection is such a big thing because people have the need to belong somewhere, we like to be associated with a specific group of people. It forms part of our identity to belong. We want to be loved and liked by the people we meet.

But the matter of the fact is we cannot be liked and loved by everyone we meet. We can also not please everybody. It will become very tiring trying to be everything to everybody.

If one of your ideas are rejected, try to reframe it in a positive way. See it as an opportunity to improve on your idea. Do not take it personally. (Do you remember me talking about The Four Agreements a few posts ago? This is one of the four agreements: Do not take it personally!)

Nothing people do to you is personal. They might think you are the problem, and you might take it personally, but the bigger issue lies with the other person since he or she brought up the issue. The other person has his or her own issues and anxieties on which he or she reacts. You merely triggered the thought in their brain. It is the thought that makes them behave badly toward you. The action is all theirs. You cannot take it personally. It is not your stuff. Don Miguel Ruiz , the writer of The Four Agreements, writes: “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”

You can also not assume what is going on in the other person’s head. This is another of the four agreements: Do not make assumptions!

Does this make rejection any less painful? No, but maybe a bit more bearable. If you keep telling yourself these things, you might handle rejection a bit better in future.

So if someone rejects you on grounds of your sexuality or religion or whatever, just remember that it is their issue. You are not the problem. Try to be empathetic and see where they are coming from. This might help you accept the situation and move on. The world needs more compassion anyway. Do not take it personally.

If you have any questions or want to discuss this post with me, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

What are you afraid of?

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime...

Okay, so you are contemplating coming out…or you have already come out to a few close friends… What is preventing you from taking the next step? What are you afraid of?

For me (and probably for most people) it was the fear of rejection.

I remember a conversation my mum and I once had in the car before I came out. She said that she doesn’t think being gay is a choice, because who in their right mind would choose to be disgraced by and shunted from society. That was such an “Aw, I love you mum” moment, but I couldn’t say it since I was still in the closet. To this day, this is still one of my main arguments when people tell me being gay is a choice.

Suppose being rejected is your biggest fear… Let’s start with and look at the bigger picture. Will it make a significant difference to the world (all 7.3 billion of us [as of July 2015]) if you came out? Not significantly, no. Would it make a difference to your continent? Not really, no. Will it make a difference to your country? Er, no. To your province or state? Nope. To your town or city? Well, depends how big the town is… City, no. Suburb? Maybe, depending on how many people you know in your suburb. Now it begins to come a bit closer to your skin. Would it really matter to your community? Well, maybe to the ones you choose to tell. Good point! To your friends? Same answer, depends on the individuals, or the specific circle. Now, let me ask you this, why only choose to tell some friends? Maybe, because you know how some would react, and maybe because you DON’T know how some would react. Am I right? I assume it will be the same with family?

Well, you assume you know how people will react. Never make assumptions (this one of the Four Agreements Don Miguel Ruiz writes about). Can you truly ever know how someone will react to a situation? Can you truly ever know how you will react to a situation? So, if you can’t know how you will react, how can you assume how someone else might react? The thing is you can’t. You’ll just have to see how they react.

The thought that keeps bugging me while I am writing this is, if someone reacts really negatively to you coming out, do you really want that person in your life? If someone rejects you for something you innately are, is it worth keeping them in your life? Do you need that rejection and negativity in your life? Will it contribute to your happiness? I don’t know. Am I wrong? All I’m saying is that unhappiness should never be tolerated. And that losing people along the way is a fact of life. I know, I know… I am one to speak… I hate losing people. I am a collector of people. Losing a friend is horrible, but sometimes it is inevitable… You maybe know this saying (cliché?): People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Man’s biggest fear is the fear of the unknown. However you look at it, all fears boil down to the fear of the unknown. How do you overcome the fear of the unknown? By making the situation known. Unfortunately you will have to gather your courage and just come out to know how people will react.

Leave a comment below and tell me what your biggest fear in coming out is or was. I would love to hear from you.

Alternatively, please contact me if you need any advice on how to come out, or if you have any questions about the above post.