For those who fear rejection, one mantra to keep in mind is this, “you are not entitled to be liked.” This may seem harsh at first, but when understood that others will always be available to you, the mantra becomes soothing.
According to Eric Berne’s transactional analysis model, each person operates within 3 ego states. The adult, the parent, and the child. Exploring the nature of one’s child ego state will provide insight into experiences with rejection.
The 3 ego states
The adult ego state refers to a person’s ability to be objective and make decisions based on what he is currently observing in his reality.
The parental ego state refers to how a person perceives the world from a place of morals and values learned from his parents or guardians.
For example, if you encountered a man in a clown costume in the grocery store, from a place of objectivity (which is hard) you will simply acknowledge that he is a man in a clown costume. You will not claim to know why he is wearing the clown costume. From a place of the parental ego state, you might assume that the man in the clown costume is going to perform at a children’s birthday party.
Now consider the clown costume scenario from the perspective of the child ego state. The sight of the clown will likely provoke pleasant feelings or not so pleasant feelings. Your reaction is associated with childhood memories associated with clowns. The child ego will either remember happy times with clowns or become afraid because of a bad experience. The child ego state is out of touch with the neutral reality of seeing a clown.
How this relates to being liked
For people who struggle with social anxiety, instinctual fears of being ousted by the group, tend to kick in. These fears are heightened by childhood experiences where they were rejected and did not understand why or how to fix it.
Biologically, we all have an instinctual desire to be accepted by the group. We are tribal beings and we evolved in a world where there was safety in numbers and survival depended upon belonging. If we were ousted by our tribe, (if we survived) we had a challenging time getting our needs met. Our desire to be accepted is evolutionary and most pronounced during childhood. As children, we were very aware of the importance of being loved and supported. Our very survival depended upon it.
How children are treated by the group and their family plays a big role in their development of confidence.
The concept of Eric Berne’s three ego states is useful for people who want to explore the root of their anxiety around rejection. If they can change their childhood perceptions of rejection they can experience the true liberation of being able to appreciate the mantra, “You are not entitled to be liked.”
Letting go of the need to be liked can free up a lot of tension and energy. It can allow you to relax and become at ease with people. It’s okay if a particular person or group does not like you, there are others out there who you can connect with. Once you are at ease, the people around you can also relax. This opens up new potentials of relating in a healthy way.
If you would like to learn more
Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach. Trained in transactional analysis as well as other forms of psychotherapy, Ugo is experienced in working with clients of all ages and backgrounds. Social anxiety can be overcome and significant life changes can be made with therapy.
If you are struggling with social anxiety or rejection, I am here to help. You are welcome to call and book your first appointment or fill out the contact form and click send.
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