"How can you let someone know that you care about them without facing the fear of rejection?"
It took me way too long to learn this.
Most of us think of romantic rejection as a negative thing.
If you like someone, and you tell them, and they don’t feel the same, we imagine that a lot of terrible things will happen.
- We imagine that we’ll feel unbearable pain & embarrassment.
- We imagine that we’ll like ourselves less.
- We believe that the friendship we have with that person will be permanently damaged or broken.
- We expect that other people will laugh at us, and respect us less too.
You probably know this on some deep level, but...
It's all bullshit.
Bullshit is when your mind interprets or predicts things incorrectly, and you embrace that belief without question, without checking your assumptions, or testing it to see if it's true.
For most of my life, I strongly, deeply believed that being rejected was very harmful. I believed that I would suffer and lose face. I believed that relationships would be destroyed, that I would lose friends and make enemies.
It was all bullshit.
But I deeply believed my bullshit. I embraced it without question.
The closest I came to questioning it was when I'd notice someone else who didn't seem to have the same fear of rejection that I did. They'd just walk headfirst into rejection, without pause, smiling all the way.
But instead of questioning my own bullshit, I'd think... what kind of madman is this? Doesn't he know that getting rejected is bad? What an idiot.
I held on to my bullshit tightly because believing it kept me in my comfort zone where life felt predictable, and safe, and warm.
And damn lonely, too.
Here's the thing...
Love, connection, friendship, relationships... winning at life involves risks, and that means practicing courage...
I wasn't practicing any.
But, my bullshit about rejection couldn't stand forever, because it had no basis in reality and it was keeping me from the things I wanted in my life.
Yes I wanted to feel safe and secure, but I wanted to feel connected with people too.
It came to a head one day when the pain of feeling lonely and disconnected, and not living the life I wanted to, exceeded my fear of rejection.
On that day, I got sick of my bullshit and I decided to see if my beliefs were accurate.
No matter what happened.
Here's What I Found...
Everything I feared about rejection was complete bullshit.
I wasn't just a little wrong. I was 100% wrong.
None of the things I imagined were real.
I've never seen any of the things I feared come to pass, ever. Not once. Even when things didn't go the the way I hoped, they were never bad like I imagined.
Every time I have feared rejection, and proceeded anyway, my life has been better after that moment of courage, than it was before.
Instead, here's what happened for me, every time…
I Felt Incredible Relief
All of the intense pressure and anxiety I felt at wanting to connect with this person went away.
That pressure felt intense because I wasn't being honest, or vulnerable, or authentic about my feelings.
I was hiding them,
We feel that pressure because our emotional brain is working hard to encourage us to take some kind of action. When we finally do, it can relax... and that feels amazing.
I Felt Self-Esteem and Self-Respect
When you practice courage, your brain gives you an internal reward.
You get a shot of happy chemicals at having done a good job. Why? Because your brain knows that your ability to succeed in life depends in part on your willingness to confront your fears and to take calculated risks.
And this wiring is deep in your mammal brain.
Have you ever wondered, what is it that makes an alpha male ( or female ) an alpha? How does he or she rise to the top of the pack?
Strength and size are factors, yes, but most important is courage.
Courage is the willingness to overcome fear, and to confront a threat, when it matters.
The reason a pack has an alpha to begin with, is that the alpha protects the tribe from danger. How useful would an alpha be if they're hiding in back?
In that role, courage is everything.
When you confront a risk, and feel fear, your threat-response system kicks in hard. Suddenly you're confronted with a fight / flight / freeze decision.
An alpha almost always chooses "fight"... to go towards the problem, rather than to run away from it.
Test it out, you’ll find deep self-esteem and self-respect in that place.
Most Likely, the Person Will Like You More
And this is true no matter how things turn out.
If you express your attraction and appreciation for someone respectfully, and give the other person complete freedom to respond however they want, the other person will almost always appreciate it.
People like to be liked, even if they don’t share those same romantic feelings right now.
Every time I've expressed attraction, my relationship with that person has grown deeper and stronger, rather than weaker.
Every single time.
I think I see a pattern here.
When you express your honest heartfelt attraction towards someone, it is not a pass-fail exam. You are simply showing appreciation for someone, and opening the door to future possibilities.
You Won't Die
Most importantly, no matter what your brain is telling you, you won’t die.
Your world will not implode.
You will not get booted from the tribe, left in the cold to get eaten by wolves.
This isn’t the last person on Earth who you can build a happy life with. There are about 2 billion more prospects you haven’t even met.
Your reptile and mammal brains evolved in a time when perhaps rejection was a real concern, with real potential consequence. Today, those concerns are bullshit, and they are holding you back in a big way.
But don't take my word for it. Be courageous and try it.
Live your life.
You absolutely owe that to yourself.
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