Friday, 5 July 2013

Experiencing, Understanding and Eliminating Fear of Rejection

I consider myself a man of deep intellect and this has gotten me through my life both positively and negatively depending on my reaction to emotional responses. All of my personal growth comes not only from experience but also reflection, responsibility and understanding of my weakness or areas for improvement. As a man I have suffered from many of the common areas of improvement most men face such as physical and emotional fears and insecurities. For the most part in my life I have conquered many of these fears through application. Some of those fears might include stage fright, fear of physical harm, fear of failure, etc. Throughout my career as an MMA fighter and my early experiences as a musician I've been lucky to overcome many fears men and women suffer from their whole lives. With my experience as an MMA promoter I also got to experience the failure of my businesses and have faced that and learned valuable lessons from it.
Another important fear every man and woman needs to face is the fear of rejection. This may be the rejection of a loved one, a stranger, an important client, a colleague or simply a stranger on the street. As mentioned above the first step to conquering a fear for me is experiencing it first hand then understanding it and ultimately overcoming it. Luckily as a 29 year old man I've had plenty of experience so now is the time for the logical aspect.

First and foremost we have to understand what rejection is as an emotion. In early human existence and for close to 9000+ years (and still to this day in many areas of the world) humans interacted in tribes of between 50 and 150 people. These tribes were tight knit communities of people who all knew one another. Members hunted together, mated together, socialized together and protected each other. Because of this tight relationship, rejection posed a serious emotional and physical danger. Rejection in a tribe could literally mean exile into the wilderness to face predators alone and of course meant certain death. Throughout evolution many animals and mammals have created a hard wiring of emotion attributed to this fear. In fact, rejection "piggy backs" the same pathway as physical pain. This means that our minds may perceive rejection as an actual physical pain. This creates an extraordinary concept for me in many ways.

If rejection can be perceived as physical pain and I have been able to overcome the fear of physical pain throughout my martial arts career then there is absolutely no reason that I can't completely eliminate this fear in my life as well. So how does one overcome a fear?

Experiencing - I believe the first and most important aspect of overcoming a fear is to experience it first hand. Luckily in our society fear of rejection does not mean certain death and can be experienced without any physical pain. Chances are most of us have experienced rejection at one time in our life but if not I say get out there and see what all the fuss is about.

Understanding - Well this step is easy if you're reading this article because we're already in the process of learning about rejection as an emotion and its origin.  Keep in mind that you are not your emotions but rather you are a conscious being experiencing your psychological emotions. Dig deep and search for more articles on overcoming fears in general and you'll be well on your way to a much more fulfilling life as fear is a primitive emotion trumped by our logical intuition and experience as the dominant species on Earth. Fear, in my opinion, is no longer necessary to our species.

Overcoming - So now we've experienced and understand rejection as an emotion. The next step is to overcome it. Like any "pain," repeated response can create a deep psychological issue or can create a physical or emotional "callous," allowing us to lessen the reaction and control our response. The choice of which outcome you manifest is completely yours. A valuable step in this process is creating a gap between the physical stimulus (ie. a break up or flat out rejection from asking someone on a date) and the emotional response you elicit. Continue to observe your emotional response as its happening so you can logically react and respond to it. Remind yourself that you are not your emotions.

It's also been said that because rejection piggy backs on the pain pathway in the brain painkillers such as Tylenol can actually lessen the response your brain perceives. I personally don't like to become dependent upon anything for pain but would rather learn to accept and embrace the pain so as to understand it and release it. The choice is yours! Choose freedom from emotion and happiness; as happiness is your gift to the world.

Article inspired by "Ten Surprising Facts About Rejection" and "David Deangelo - Controlling Emotions."