For most people in need of more assertiveness, miracles would happen.
You’d speak up and get what you need from others. You’d say no more often and enjoy space and personal freedom. You would set goals that test your resolve and surprise yourself with great results.
You would become an empowered person.
Alas, there is one absolutely mind-blowing, hidden obstacle that prevents you from having the confidence required. And there is both good news and bad news that comes with this obstacle.
The bad news: It is a deeply entrenched blockage, so it won’t magically go away on it’s own (sorry). You have to do something very different within yourself and this requires a totally new level of awareness.
The good news: If you can accept this obstacle and see it as a problem to be solved, rather than ‘reality,’ you can let it go in a relatively short period of time. Then, the confidence to assert yourself appropriately will be yours.
You’ve already decided to be rejected.
Take a moment and let that settle in. Amazing when you really think about it, isn’t it? In your mind, there is no point in asserting yourself because you already ‘know’ the end result. And you are feeling the rejection already!
When you’d like to speak up, you think: What’s the use? People don’t want to hear what I have to say. They’ll just think I’m stupid.
When you really should say no, you think: If I say no, they’ll be really upset and probably hate me.
When you need to reach out for help, you think: Nobody cares about me anyway. What’s the point?
When you need to confront someone, you think: It will just be a huge argument that I will end up losing, so there’s no use.
When you consider new goals, you think: Who am I to accomplish all that? I don’t deserve it. Besides, people will know I’m a fake.
Rejection. Rejection. Rejection at every turn. So, you clam up, avoid confrontation, withhold your talents and continue to live a life that is much smaller than you are capable. It’s depressing, I know.
What would happen if you decided something different? What would you do if you really felt that by asserting yourself, you actually have a solid chance of success? What if you believed that people would genuinely respect you more and that you could handle that respect?
Rejecting yourself ahead of time really is a problem that must be solved if you are to practice mature assertiveness.
First, realize anticipated rejection is a false projection. It is not based in external reality. It is happening within you (although it may be based on a few unfortunate past experiences). The truth is, when you assert yourself, you do not know how people are going to respond in the present. Some may respond positively. Some people may have a negative reaction. That part is up to them.
Next, understand that if you are actively imagining rejection with consistency and subconscious commitment, then a part of you is seeking out rejection. That’s right. Seeking rejection. And this is the real problem.
Because rejection is familiar. The subconscious mind takes great comfort in familiarity. It clings to what it has learned. At some point in life – probably early on – you experienced a lot of rejection consistently, whether or not you recognized it as such. Your subconscious mind embraced rejection as a familiar reality.
It continues to seek out this accepted reality by projecting rejection wherever you go. In fact, if you are typical, you may run the rejection script dozens of times a day and feel low with each rehearsal. Around here, we call it a rejection attachment. Who can be assertive under these circumstances?
So, your subconscious mind needs to be reeducated so you can let go of the rejection attachment. Then, a state of acceptance can become the norm. You are the one to reeducate your subconscious. It can be an emotional process because there is often buried hurt and pain (and emotional exhaustion) from years of life spent feeling like others are judging you.
Yet, when you realize that you’re dealing with an old, outdated script that your mind is running on autopilot – and it has nothing to do with the present day you – then you can begin to make slow and steady progress. Soon enough, you’ll be putting yourself out there like never before, and letting others choose how to respond.
Some will accept. Some may reject. Others will not even pay attention. The ones who accept your ideas, needs and passions represent an unprecedented opportunity to grow your life in amazing directions!
To learn how psychological attachments (including the rejection attachment) create self-sabotage and what to do about them, watch this enlightening free video.
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Last reviewed: 1 May 2014