The Fear of Rejection Explained

In theory, communication is simple. You send a message and the recipient receives it and acts accordingly to the content of the message in practice, communication is a far cry from its theory. Each and every day you can’t help witnessing people who are either unable to express themselves in a clear way or deliberately avoid doing so, out of whatever reason. Communication, by its very meaning, has always had to do with passing a message to another entity but obscure communication takes the essence out of it: The information shared. Instead of making oneself understood amongst others, misunderstandings inevitably are aroused the root of most conflicts.

There is one major reason that dominates all others why people opt to deliberately blur information clarity:


Probably the most common type of fear associated with unclear communication is the fear of rejection. The probability that your counterpart will disagree with or get hurt by the information you are about to transmit is often enough sufficient to drive people to withhold information.

The percentage of information transmitted is directly related to the level of self-acceptance and self-love. The more the person is in touch with itself, the less the damage an undesired answer can deal. A person with a high level of self-worth is hard to hurt  in any case, this person will have realized that any level of interpersonal incongruence has no impact on his or her worth and the level of validity of his or her perspective. A person with little self-worth that is out of touch with itself however is easy to hurt. Even small levels of incongruence in interpersonal communication will directly translate to a diminished experience of self-worth and a devastated validity of the person’s perspective.

Translated to real life experiences, the brink of a conflict sparked by incongruence in communication will be experienced much different. There are four major characteristics, when it comes to dealing with incongruence.

The Aware

A person that is very much in touch with itself will most probably reply: Okay. We’re out of congruence in this point. I have reasons to believe that my perspective holds true as much as you will have. Could you therefore help me understand why your perspective is correct? The dominating mind-set here is acceptance of the own perspective and understanding for the other’s perspective awareness that all perspectives are equivalent. This mind-set is growth-oriented and enables the person to experience new insights. The possibility that he or she might be wrong is none of a threat cooperation and learning better is the goal of communication.

The Egomaniac

A person, whose ego is really blown-up, will most probably reply: I don’t see why your point makes any sense. My perspective has to be closer to truth than yours, because so and so. Forcing the opponent into congruence is the dominating mind-set for the ego-driven person. In reality, this person also experiences fear  fear of not being right. In order to avoid being wrong, the person is very keen on its own perspective and would never allow the opponent’s perspective to hold true (which would mean defeat). This way, the person keeps itself from learning about new insights and while he or she may be able to convince his or her opponent by force, the discussion is ended with a mind-set of conflict and concurrence instead of a mind-set of cooperation. Ego-driven people often become hugely successful in life, from a perspective of monetary or other mundane riches, but often lack true friends and a loving relationship and hence are far from being happy or satisfied with what they have achieved.

The Preacher

A person with a lack of self-worth but a pile of knowledge will most probably reply: But see, my perspective has a point because so and so. Please understand.” The underlying phrase this person communicates is to beg for acceptance and praise. While generally open for other perspectives, this person experiences just too much fear to be able to give in – in the belief that they would lose themselves by doing so. Occasionally, such a person can be confused for an arrogant one because of the persistence of their arguments, even if proved wrong. The opponent to this person is like a life-threatening danger. This type of person is normally very well-educated and intelligent but has a hard time being respected and finding real friends. The pseudo-arrogant outside blocks the revelation of a lovable inside.

The Follower

A person with a lack of self-worth and mediocre knowledge will most probably reply: I see that I am wrong here. Sorry for being wrong. Thanks for clarification. He or she will never defend his or her perspective and willingly give in to whatever criticism comes along. Due to the lack of self-worth, this person will have no faith in the correctness of its own opinion the circumstance that others always know better is the dominating mind-set. Even if right, these people will have no faith in what they do or believe unless they are encouraged by others thereby making them dependent on their consent. This person is the archetype of the follower a person without own opinion that accepts whatever opinion the currently chosen leader has. For this kind of person it is normal to regularly change the leader in search for protection from the former leader as these individuals are easily abused when straying from their former leader’s opinion.

It only is the Aware that has the ability to communicate information just as it is: Acceptance of the own perspective and openness for the other persons. All the others have problems either to accept the other’s opinion, the own opinion or both and therefore are driven to conflict-laden communication and therefore problematic relationships.

Many people share the problems of the Egomaniac, the Preacher and the Follower in an age that is infested with so much information that conflict is almost pre-programmed, regardless of what we do or say. The probability that our own behavior is against someone else’s norm is steadily approaching one with a rising number of people around so conflict is practically inevitable it is a key ability to be able to deal with the fear of clear communication.

In order to become a human being that is able to safely navigate through these rough times, it is important to achieve a level of self-worth and self-acceptance that enables you to accept your opinion, even when faced with harsh opposition. Interestingly, your opposition can easily transform to an alliance from the moment you at least try to understand their perspective. Furthermore, people usually start to accept your perspective from the moment you wholeheartedly mean it people pick up on the slightest trace of self-doubt, so make sure that there is no more of it.

For all those who haven’t yet achieved this goal, the way towards it is the key. There are numerous ways to increase your level of self-acceptance. One of the easiest options to implement in daily life is choosing situations where you show self-acceptance in spite of the fact that they require a little bit more than you normally have. Thereby, you move out of your comfort zone into the so-called “learning zone“, where you experience discomfort without panicking. This way, you can gradually grow to become more self-confident situations that you have once mastered will be easy to handle in future.

A lot of small steps form a long way. If you are persistent, you will achieve what you want. If you are already there: Congratulations. You are amongst the souls that this planet is in high need of Be yourself and trust yourself.

About the Author: Simon Voggeneder studies the fields of mental power, healthy nutrition and natural training. Read his blog and improve your life now: Learn about training, nutrition, media, spirituality and self growth.

2 thoughts on “The Fear of Rejection Explained

  1. Tyler Willis

    Interesting post, IMO there are some cases when acting publicly as “The Follower” is advisable, especially when you are just learning an industry and working for people who are very good, however, it also makes sense to privately explore your opinions and test their validity.

    Awhile back I started writing a journal of decisions made in my projects and I would try to review it periodically — once I discovered that more often than not, discussion about my concern would have added something to the final situation, I moved from being a Follower to being Aware.

    The journal was very helpful in helping me personally gauge when I'd reached enough of an expertise in my field to offer good viewpoints.

  2. ishina

    Hi Tyler!

    I would agree that is of use to (outwardly) act as a follower when you try to initially learn from experts about a new field of knowledge. However, it is hard to change your relationship from being a Follower to an Aware communicator thereafter – relationships are often enough forged during the first exposures.

    Your perspective is valid all the time – but it has no inherent need to be true. It is your best knowledge at that time of point. If you are willing to learn – communicate it! Say what you think and proactively add the caveat that you are aware that you might be wrong. At this point, people usually are more than willing to share their knowledge with you, as they have a feeling that they can teach you 🙂

    From my experience, I have always felt good about teaching people thing I am knowledgeable about, if they contacted me without an inherent challenge permeating their approach.

    In love for life,


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