If I didn’t have a fear of rejection, I guess I wouldn’t be motivated to do anything well.
For me, the fear of rejection (in a broad sense) is one of the main reasons why I strive for perfection in everything I do. I would go all out to see to it that whatever I do is…say…’state of the art’. I am not a perfect human being. Nobody is. But they say you aim for the sky and you might still land on a star. That’s what I do. I strive for perfection in whatever I do. It could be a writing assignment. It could be dabbing on some eyeliner. It could even be nurturing a plant. I try to do it in the best possible way. Why? Because I don’t want anybody to say anything bad about it. I don’t want it to be disliked. I don’t want it to be rejected. Sometimes this does creep onto the edges of OCD. But it’s rare.
Fear of rejection is one major factor that keeps me going forward in my life. I fear rejection from my family if any of my words or deeds hurt them. And so I try very very hard to be as good as I possibly can. I never back-chat to elders. I am extremely careful of my conduct while outside. And so on and so forth. Did I lose the best period of my youth in the process? I don’t know.
I fear rejection from my friends for not being there for them when they need me. I have stayed awake overnight on the day before a University exam to explain a certain concept in Electromagnetism to several batches of my hostel mates. In the exam hall, I went mentally blank because of lack of sleep. I think I barely managed to pass the exam while all the others I tutored the previous night passed the exam with flying colors. I know this is self-destructive. But that’s how I am.
I fear rejection from my colleagues and seniors if my work isn’t what they expected. I have become a workaholic in the process. Does that bother me? No.
I fear rejection from random people online on places like Quora. This explains why I try to be as politically correct as possible in almost every answer I write. There have been times when I haven’t been able to do so, despite my best attempts. () People have hated on me in an almost unimaginable way. And the way such reactions hurt me cannot be explained. I usually curl up into my own emotional shell and refuse to come out of it. Such instances, though rare, have happened. And they have taught me to be even more careful about what I post online. I’m still learning.
I don’t say that my self-esteem depends on the opinions of others. My self-esteem is in a totally different plane, completely unrelated to any such fears. But for me, strange as it may seem, this fear of rejection has propelled me to be a much better person…professionally, socially,emotionally…than what I would have been if I didn’t have this fear.