Fear, in and of itself, can wreak havoc in all of our lives. It causes us to questions ourselves, blocks blessings and opportunities and also cripples us into inactive lives that only measure up to status quo. I don't know about you but that's not the type of live I want to live. In most aspects of my life I am a risk-taker and often put myself in situations that force me out of my comfort zone. But there's one area where that has not been the case. In relationships, which is where vulnerability is a requirement, I tend to recoil, act out or avoid them completely because of a fear of rejection. I'm not really sure where it came from or how it developed but it's there. As I look back on my past relationships, it's interesting to see how it has affected my emotions which in turn severely affected my actions. Moving about life attempting to avoid rejection is tiresome but more than that it's counterproductive to the end goal- a fulfilling and happy marriage with someone who I trust wholeheartedly and healthy and joyful relationships with the awesome people God has surrounded me with.
Maybe you can't relate to my fear of rejection- maybe you've never been rejected and have experienced complete acceptance of every aspect of your personality in every facet of life. But if that's not the case and you can relate to my fear of rejection I invite you to read on.
Vulnerability is a Requirement - not an option
Contrary to what pop culture might say is optional in relationships- the ability to be vulnerable is a necessity. In order to cultivate healthy relationships we have to be able to open up to people, let them see our true selves and trust that they can not only handle it but support us. Fear of rejection will stop vulnerability so quick you won't know what hit you. Walls start to come up and can become too tall for anyone to climb and too thick for anyone to breakdown. Those walls remain up and block blessings that would have entered your life through those relationships.
What if the rejection from relationships and opportunities is purposeful? What if instead of it being a fearful thing that we attempt to avoid- it's actually necessary to strengthen us for the bigger and riskier situations that we will encounter. So many times in life, I look back and say, "If I made it through that then I can surely make it through this."
So now what?
Like most fears though, acknowledging it and its consequences isn't enough to overcome it. We've got to constantly fight the urge to fall back on old defense mechanisms and push ourselves out of our comfort zones. I've found that it's helpful to take it one step at a time and use small opportunities to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable, situations where the risk is so small that the rejection would be easy to handle if needed. But big enough that whether we are rejected or not - we'll be stronger and more able to do it again.
Are you afraid of rejection? How does it affect you? Do you have any pointers that might help me or others who do too?
Michelle Perez graduated from Florida Institute of Technology and owns Michelle Perez Events, an event planning and design company. She enjoys crafting, reading, traveling and helping others in need or celebrating special lifetime moments.