I’d rather consider myself a failure, unworthy, and feel rejected up front, before taking any social risks, because I know I will ultimately be rejected anyway.
This line of thinking and feeling often prevents us from making efforts toward success. Why try if we already know how horrible it will be when we fail and feel humiliated? It’s a mental and emotional trap that breeds chronic misery.
I certainly have done my share of emotionally spinning on anticipated rejection. Early in my career, I’d regularly turn down speaking engagements. Some of these were excellent opportunities. Yet, I’d feel the emotional stranglehold of fear, imagine myself up there making a fool out of myself, and decline to put myself in that position.
Interestingly, I wasn’t saving myself from suffering. I suffered through every speaking invitation, feeling the horror of rejection without ever setting a foot on stage! On top of that, I’d feel like a loser for not taking the risk. So, my mind and body were full of rejection, much more so (I imagine) than if I had bitten the bullet and accepted the opportunity.
No, I wasn’t sparing myself feelings of rejection. I lived in them.
Contrast this with the speaking invitations I did accept, even though I was nervous. I struggled. I prepared myself for the worst. I got through it somehow, gave the talk and (what do ya know?) was typically commended for a job well done. And I felt great. No sustained feelings of rejection. I battled the fear, but somehow knowing I was fighting it made me feel better about myself.
How about you?
Do you often consider yourself unworthy, a failure, or rejection material up front, before you even give yourself a chance to succeed? If so, aren’t you experiencing the humiliation before giving yourself any chance of success (or failure)?
For me, the ordeal was the result of a psychological attachment to rejection. I had gotten so used to it growing up, that I unwittingly opted to feel that way as a default. In order to move beyond it, I had to see my state as one of self-sabotage. If you’re not familiar with the deep, inner workings of self-sabotage and psychological attachments, you may find this free video very enlightening.
Mike Bundrant is author of the book Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage.
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