One of the main symptoms associated with people who struggle with social anxiety is a fear of rejection. People who struggle with a fear of rejection, developed this fear in their early life experiences.
It is common during the holiday season, for people to seek out cognitive behavioral therapy. Specifically, after Thanksgiving and Christmas. For many of these people, they have gone home for the holidays and experienced painful rejection from family members. The stories carry the same theme, with different details. The person for some reason or the other, has felt that he or she never truly belonged with their family. They felt that they have been treated unfairly and held to unfairly high standards, which in most cases they have met, now they are at a place where they want to process their painful feelings of rejection.
Rejection from others, is an Illusion
Firstly, rejection from others is an illusion, in reality no one can reject you but yourself. What we often perceive as rejection is a lack of compatibility between two or more parties. Let’s a take for example, that you were recently gifted a pair of tickets to a basketball game. You then approach an acquaintance to attend the game with you, however this acquaintance does not like basketball-at all.
If this acquaintance is honest with you, he or she will tell you “no thank you.” If you are highly sensitive to perceived social rejection, you might reach the conclusion that this acquaintance does not care for you. Regardless, even if your conclusion where the case, it still wouldn’t be rejection but a case where you and the other party have little interests in common.
It’s About Compatibility
Assume the acquaintance, who does not like basketball, agreed to go with you to the basketball game. It is highly likely that in the company of this acquaintance, that you will not enjoy the game. As it would be become apparent to you that your company is not having a good time, which you might find troubling. The solution would be for you to find someone else, whom you know enjoys basketball as much as you do, or go to the game by yourself.
We are no doubt social animals. This is the reason people who grow up perceiving rejection, fall for the trap of seeking external validation. The pursuit of external validation leads to a never-ending cycle of negativity from disappointment. This is because people who do this often, mistake poor compatibility with others as slights against their person-hoods.
The solution for the person with social anxiety, who dreads rejection is to seek validation from within themselves. Fundamentally, people are inherently good. This is the reason, people often will refer to their conscience when it comes to evaluating the moralities of their decisions. To see yourself as a fundamentally good person, you must come to accept yourself with unconditional regard. Judgments of good and bad should only be based on your actions.
Once you begin the practice of accepting yourself unconditionally, you will find yourself naturally drawn to people who also have unconditionally regard for themselves. So, looking for company to a basketball game, becomes a matter of finding someone who is passionate about basketball. Also, disagreements with family members during holiday gatherings, simple means that you and those family members have a difference of opinion.