Rejection lurks around every corner in the arts world. In fact, for you, the creative or the performer, knowing how to tolerate, be with, and work with rejection is almost a career requirement!
Even if rejection hurts, you can learn how to turn in your favor. Rejection can actually guide you to find your true place in the world and in your art.
When you are aware of your fear of rejection, you can use it to create your life and career. You can embrace it as a normal part of your life and work. You can let it guide you and take you to the places where you belong. Despite being a nuisance, your fear of rejection, can help you discover your unique path as a creative. You can turn it into a a beneficial transformational challenge.
As an artist you need an open heart. Being vulnerable, in touch with your feelings, and ready to respond from that open and vulnerable place is so important to your creativity. And, at the same time, you must be strong and resilient. Keeping yourself emotionally present and open while riding the rejection waves and without sinking into your insecurities… it’s a fine balance, but it’s key to riding and maintaining your creative flow.
When you open yourself to be with and tolerate the difficult feelings that come with rejection – disconnection, loneliness, fear, shame, doubt – you can also become aware of the beauty that lies within the layers of rejection. When you experience rejection, your yearnings for connection, love, to be seen, valued, felt, and desired are revealed. When you make space for both the challenging and the beautiful feelings, you can find that special place where vulnerability and resilience become one. This is the emotional space, from which you can find your true place in the world.
But what about if your fear of rejection lurks in your unconscious mind and you’re not even aware of it?
Unfortunately, if you have a fear of rejection that operates in your unconscious, you may not be able to turn it into a beneficial transformational challenge. That unconscious fear will most likely control and interfere with your creativity, your intimate connections, and your professional relationships.
Without your awareness, you will put blocks between you and your creativity. You will create walls between you and people that you need to see you, discover you, and support your creative journey. You want to touch your audience and they want to be inspired by your art, but you won’t be able to reach their hearts if you’re unawarely worried about being dismissed or ignored.
How would you know if your unconscious fear of rejection is interfering with your creative life?
If you find yourself unhappy and unfulfilled in your career, your intimate connections, and professional relationships, it may be a clue that your unconscious is getting in the way. An unconscious fear of rejection is like the dark shadow that follows you wherever you are…
Here are four clues that you’re being sabotaged by your own unconscious fears:
- You feel like something may be wrong with you. Something is interfering with your ability to connect and express your creativity. Something is keeping you from making the authentic connections with the people who you most need to acknowledge you and your art.
- You find yourself trying to please others much of the time. Instead of being the artist that you really are, you’re trying to be someone else and trying to fit in where you don’t belong. Finding approval is one of your main motivations. And, even when you get the approval that you crave, it leaves you empty and dissatisfied.
- You feel lost and you can’t trust yourself. You’re confused about who you really are, and about your opinions, likes, and dislikes. You often feel unreal and inauthentic. You find yourself alone – unseen, misunderstood, and disconnected.
- Despite having big dreams, you play small. You have dreams of what you want to become, but you avoid putting your efforts toward these aspirations. You find it hard to get the motivation or have the discipline to turn your ideas into accomplishments. You avoid showing up, taking on opportunities, or healthy risks. You live in a fantasy world of your dreams instead of really finding a way to make them happen.
An unconscious fear of rejection can hold you back from finding and expressing your creative energy. It can interfere with you connecting with your talents and skills to transform your inspiration into your art. You can’t seem to find the courage to take what you create into the world. Creative blocks can indeed cover an unconscious fear of rejection.
But what really lies underneath your subconscious fear of rejection?
Most likely, this fear doesn’t really belong in the present. It’s an old fear. So old that you don’t even have awareness of how it happened or how it is impacting you. So old that it’s deceiving, showing up and controlling your life when you least expect it. So old that it makes you act irrationally and you can’t stop yourself.
Underneath that unconscious fear of rejections is your longing for finding your true place. Let that longing guide you and take you to your place. Let your desire lead you to your beneficial transformational challenge.
There is a place where you can find comfort in who you are and in your own values, strengths, beliefs – and even in your flaws. You can get to a place where you can trust your own creative ideas, and even if may feel scary sometimes, you can let them free in the world to find those that will value and appreciate you.
What does it take to let go of this unconscious fear of rejection?
Yes, rejection hurts. In fact, there have been neuropsychological studies showing that it can activate the same brain pain centers as physical pain. We humans have a deep need to belong, to be loved, appreciated, and valued. These needs are biological, emotional, spiritual, and transformational. It is through authentic love, appreciation, and admiration that we become our best – we bloom, we survive, and we thrive.
When we feel rejected, it signals that we may not be worthy of those things.
Your needs for authentic love, bonding, and belongingness are REAL. And, while rejection can challenge these needs, it can also help you move away from where you don’t belong so you can find the places where you do belong.
And yet, lingering unconscious rejection triggers early memories of moments of not feeling loved, valued, and appreciated for who you are. These old signals interfere with the way you’re able to feel and get the love, belongingness, and the appreciation in the present moment.
You can get stuck in a spiral of “I don’t belong” and when you’re there, you cannot see how to use rejection to help you navigate to your true place in the world.
It is through facing old feelings of rejection that you can find your place where you genuinely belong now. There is hidden potential in rejection.
But, to find that potential, you need to be able to look at yourself and see the unhealthy lengths you’ll go to in order to avoid feeling the pain that’s associated with rejection. When you can see what you do to avoid facing these old fears, you can begin to refrain from engaging in self-defeating strategies.
As you stop old, self-defeating responses, you can start seeing your fear, acknowledge it, heal your old wounds, and then transcend it. You can start reclaiming your freedom and find what you long for: genuine love, appreciation, belongingness, and a sense of being valued.
In finding your fear of rejection there is power. The power of finding your true place.
Contact me to set up a free 15-20 minute consultation to see if psychotherapy can help you further your career and your personal life.
I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. I help creatives and performers with emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creative blocks / creative issues, relationships, and addictions – to be and live their own best version. You can read more about Therapy for Creatives and Performers here.