Have you ever avoided asking a particular question because you were afraid the answer would be no? Have you ever avoided trying something new due to an immense fear of failure?
Did you say yes? Yeah? Me too.
Most of us have done this on at least one occasion. We’ve weighed the consequences of missing out on something great against the potential pain of rejection, failure, and embarrassment and decided the former was less detrimental to our human composition (or if we’re being honest, our fragile ego).
This is actually a real condition called rejection sensitivity dysphoria - commonly experienced by people diagnosed with ADHD. But it doesn’t have to hold us back from personal growth and experiencing new things.
When I feel this fear, I like to remind myself of these quotes:
- You’ll never know the answer if you don’t ask.
- You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take (cheesy, I know, but true!).
- The worst that can happen is they say no (seriously, how bad is that?).
- Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
One way to play defense against this sensitivity is exposure therapy. This tactic is used for various fears, anxieties, and diagnoses. Some are more serious and must be monitored and practiced very carefully - for example, people with severe allergies trying immunotherapy. For RSD, there’s a fun little game we can play to help desensitize ourselves.
All you do is make it a point to ask some questions in your day-to-day life. Not just any questions but ones that will more than likely lead to a response of a resounding “no.” Maybe even a “no way f**ing way! Are you crazy?” For example, next time you’re in the drive-thru line at Chick-fil-A, ask if you can get a free milkshake.
Another step in becoming more open to rejection is becoming confident in yourself. When we’re more sure of ourselves, we stand by the decisions we make, the ideas we have, and the interests we pursue. In turn, you will be less deterred by what others think of you, aka, not afraid of them rejecting you.
Rejection and failure go hand in hand. Failing at something feels like rejection. When it comes to health and fitness, many people have aspirations they are afraid to pursue due to the possibility of falling short.
Where would the world be today if everyone with a new idea avoided sharing it if everyone who had a dream avoided pursuing it? Nowhere near where we are today, that’s for sure. So next time you find yourself holding back because of preconceived judgment, rejection, or failure, remind yourself of the achievements of someone you look up to admire and the path they took to get there.