In the spirit of remaining transparent and vulnerable, I thought I would take a huge leap out of my comfort zone, and share with you something I’ve just discovered, or finally realized, about my
tender open raw heart self.
I have an enormous fear of rejection.
Not jut normal fear, like public speaking or not being invited to the best party ever, but all-consuming fear that has found its way into the tiny crevices of my subconscious and now permeates much of my thinking and decision making. I had no idea. Well, I probably had some idea (it really does feel pretty bad not to be invited to great parties), but I never acknowledged it to the point that I gave it any real attention. Just this week, however, it’s become the star of its own little show, which is probably a very good thing.
I fear rejection to the point that I hold my affection, attention, emotion, wants, needs, desires, hopes and dreams back from my own husband. Oh yes, this has all the makings for Wife Of The Year. I’ve noticed that I am so afraid that I’m not a perfect wife (beautiful, thin, successful, perky, happy, sexy…) or that I don’t keep the house looking amazingly clean and running seamlessly 100% of the time (spotless, shiny, quiet, organized…), heck, even 50% of the time (that would give me an “F”, right?), that I hold back from being my real, true, authentic and uninhibited self. I don’t like him to really know how much I miss him when he’s gone traveling on business, or to really know that I’m dying to spend some time alone with him, just to connect emotionally, so I hold my excitement back, or don’t ask him for the time I need, on purpose. Sometimes, I don’t like for him to see my aging, sagging body because I’m afraid he won’t like what he sees, so I hide it from him.
It goes beyond my marriage, too. There are days when I’m so afraid of being rejected, I sometimes don’t ask friends to meet for lunch, or go to a movie, because what if they say no? At times I take it so personally, it’s as if they’re rejecting me and not legitimately busy that day. And when I’m interested in a new business or career venture, there have been times when I’ve talked myself out of it before it even started, because I’m so afraid I’m not going to live up to someone else’s expectations, even before I know what those expectations are. I don’t tell friends or family what some of my goals or dreams are, because what if they think my dreams are stupid? What if they’re right and they are all stupid?
Don’t get me wrong, I have days where my jeans fit great, the humidity is low and my hair isn’t completely 80’s, I’ve had enough sleep to make me insanely witty (or enough wine to make me think that I am) and I feel confident. But I have a LOT of days where that is not the case, where my vulnerability is palpable and my skin is thin. Underneath all the fear is an even deeper issue of self worth. I know this, and I know that so many of us wrestle with it. That doesn’t mean I always know what to do with it.
I’m thankful for my recent insight into this very imperfect side of myself, because we can’t address something we’re not aware of, and I intend to make this something that I work on improving. Not just for myself, but more importantly, because I’m a role model to my young daughter, and my heart breaks to think that she might ever feel like this. I can do better. I owe it to her to do better.
Don’t leave me hanging, ladies, I know I can’t be alone in sometimes feeling like this (or guys as well, if there are any men reading this). Does anyone else struggle with a huge fear of rejection? Have you learned to somewhat overcome it? Please feel free to share your comments here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.