rejection insights clifton NJ therapist

Fear of Rejection and Insecurities about Going After One’s Dreams

Feeling like others don’t support your dreams can be painful and frustrating. Trying to get others to see your value and finding people to support you when you’re feeling just slightly unsure of yourself can either lead to a positive outcome, as in feeling supported and encouraged to keep trying to do the things you want to do and go after your aspirations, or it can lead to painful feelings of even more self-doubt and a wish to give up, if others don’t seem to affirm your abilities and offer their belief in you and your ability to get what you want.

Growing up with people who chronically deflate your dreams, crush your ambitions, or question your motives or abilities can lead to outcomes such as: unconscious fears of success; self-sabotaging behaviors; anxiety symptoms (such as obsessive thoughts; difficulties making decisions; social anxiety and fears of rejection; avoiding things); and sometimes even depression. And when we doubt ourselves the most, we tend to either find people or situations that amplify our own doubts about ourselves and increase our feelings of insecurity and fears of failure, or we see rejection and criticism even where it isn’t.

What happens for you when you’re feeling insecure about your abilities, self-worth, or value to others?

Do you put your guard up, make a psychological wall between yourself and others so they can’t get too close to a place that feels raw inside? Do you start to worry, obsess, over-analyze, and use logic to avoid feeling your emotions? Perhaps you confide in people who tend to make you feel worse about yourself, something that feels bad when it happens but can also be a way of getting others to mirror the way things feel inside.

We all have defenses or self-protective strategies that we use when expressing or expanding ourselves makes us feel especially vulnerable. And sometimes feeling especially excited, hopeful, or good can lead to subconscious feelings of fear, loss, or old memories of disappointment or deflation. Starting to notice your patterns for dealing with the fears, feelings, and strategies that come up for you when feeling insecure or self-doubting can help disrupt negative cycles- such as feeling good and then “undoing it” with self-recriminations, self-doubts, obsessions, or worries about what can “go wrong”, as well as finding the wrong people or situations to interact with at times when you need support for your innermost strivings, even ones that feel fragile.

We often don’t realize how much we hold ourselves back based on expectations from the past (for example, stopping ourselves from feeling confident or excited because others have taken those feelings away from us in the past) as well as fears of being unable to tolerate disappointments. We try to avoid things that might hurt us- things like getting our hopes up, trying new things at which we might fail, or taking emotional risks with safe others- but we also avoid so much potential joy and satisfaction in the process.

Can you start to surround yourself with people who support your goals, give you a boost when you need it, and seem to make you feel better about yourself when you’re feeling the most in need of that? Give it a try and you might be pleasantly surprised at what that does for you!