Self-Rejection: What It Is and How to Overcome It

Self-rejection is one of the worst types of rejection because it starts in your mind. Let’s discuss what self-rejection is and how to overcome it for good. 

Self-Rejection: What It Is and How to Overcome It

If there's any force that can keep you away from achieving your goals and dreams, it's self-rejection

It's hard enough dealing with external resistance and the negative opinions of others, but a different kind of challenge arises when the push-back comes from within. 

Let's explore what self-rejection is, how it manifests itself, and how you can prevent it from taking control of your life. 

What is Self-Rejection?

What is Self-Rejection?

Self-rejection refers to any kind of counterintuitive behaviour through which individuals distance themselves from an advantageous personal outcome, either in thought or action.

When you self-reject, you constantly tell yourself "no" - not because you're setting healthy boundaries, but because you don't believe in yourself

Self-rejection is destructive because it prevents you from experiencing the joys that life has to offer. It prevents you from engaging in personal development and reaching your full potential. 

Here's the key issue: 

It's one thing to hear someone else reject you, but it's a completely different thing to hear those words come from your own mouth, or to feel those thoughts run through your own inner consciousness.

When others reject you, it may be easier to call it nonsense and brush it off.

But when you reject yourself, no one is there to defend you. Thus, you tend to actually start believing your own arguments.

As a result, this form of rejection can linger in your mind, replaying over and over again for weeks, months or even years. 

3 Common Ways That Self-Rejection Manifests Itself 

How exactly does self-rejection get in the way of your happiness? Let's consider three common examples of self-rejection:

1. Avoiding opportunities for growth.

One of the most common examples of self-rejection is deliberately avoiding any opportunities for growth and self-improvement. 

A lack of self-confidence consistently manifests itself in inaction. 

For example:

  • You don't apply to the kind of jobs that you really want. 
  • You don't go to events that could expand your network. 
  • You pass up free opportunities for information or mentorship.
  • You might even stop creating goals and plans for the future, because you think, what's the point? 

Self-rejection involves building a protective wall around oneself, hoping for things to stay exactly the way they are. People who self-reject tend to attribute success to other people, never imagining that good things could happen in their own life. 

2. Mental and physical neglect.

When you reject yourself, it takes a toll on your mental and physical health. For example: 

  • You stop looking after yourself.
  • You stop doing the things that refresh you and make you happy.

On a more extreme level, self-rejection can also lead to self-harming behaviours and drug and alcohol abuse. 

In the last section we talked about inaction. On the flip side, individuals who are trapped in a cycle of self-rejection may also overwork and burn themselves out in an effort to live up to the expectations of others, who they turn to for validation. 

3. Pushing away people who genuinely love you.

Why do we push away the people who love us and cater to those who don't? 

Because of self-rejection. 

Personally, I think that this is a particularly painful form of rejection, because you are so close to being loved and supported, and yet so far...

When you don't see any worth or value in yourself, you start to wonder what others see in you. When someone tries to lend a hand or reach out to you, you become suspicious. 

You tell yourself that the other person - whether it's a friend, a family member, or a potential romantic interest - can find someone better than you. 

Consequently, the negative feelings you have about yourself can cause others to feel heartbroken and alone, too. 

Remember: Self-Rejection is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Remember: Self-Rejection is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

We won't deal on the negative for too long, but before we move on, there's something you should remember:

Self-Rejection is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. 

Whenever you reject yourself, you paralyze yourself before you've even tried.

You isolate yourself from people and opportunities, which means that you stay stagnant and leave yourself with zero chance of getting the result you actually want.

But this only happens because you've blocked your own path. 

I saw a quote the other day that said: 

"Don't reject yourself before someone else even has the chance to reject you."

That's quite profound.

It shows that you have more power than you might ever have thought, because you can turn that negative self-fulfilling prophecy into a positive one. 

You can empower yourself, instead of holding yourself back. Let's consider some ways to do this...

How to Overcome Self-Rejection

1. Identify the cause. 

Once you recognize the cause of your self-rejection, you open up the path to progress. 

Just like the causes of shyness, your self-rejection may be linked to the way people treated you in the past - such when you were growing up, or during difficult events in your life. 

Perhaps you experienced rejection from people who were very close to you - people you expected to stick by your side rather than tear you down. 

Whatever the case, please understand that you can write your own narrative from here on. Even if others reject you, you must choose yourself.

You must keep choosing yourself, by letting your own actions and intentions define you, rather than the opinions of other people. 

2. Be your own best friend.

In a world where most people are focused on dealing with their own problems and situations, you have to be your own best friend. 

As I mentioned earlier, many times we speak to ourselves in a way that we would never tolerate from others. 

So pay closer attention to the way you think and talk about yourself, and make sure that you are building yourself up in a positive way.

Avoid using negative labels to describe yourself, whether internally, or when you're speaking to others. 

Show yourself the type of kindness you would to a friend: be gentle, but also diligently push yourself to do the things that scare you

3. Adopt a more realistic view of others.

To overcome self-rejection, you should also avoid putting others on a pedestal.

Don't let other people's success make you feel like you're not good enough - instead let it inspire you to action.

Realize that the people you admire are able to consistently experience good results because they work hard and put themselves in the path of opportunities that bring them closer to their goals. 

Try saying yes to more of the things you want for yourself, and see where it takes you.

Doors you thought were closed may suddenly start to open...

FOMO: The Perfect Antidote to Self-Rejection

FOMO: The Perfect Antidote to Self-Rejection

To conclude, let's briefly talk about FOMO - the Fear Of Missing Out

Now, it's not often that we talk about FOMO as a good thing. Normally, we say do your own thing and don't worry about missing out on what others are doing. 

But in the case of self-rejection, FOMO is the perfect antidote. 


Because if you don't work to overcome self-rejection, you'll watch as your whole life passes before your eyes. 

You'll miss out on the joys and opportunities that others are able to experience - whether in their business, career, or personal life - because you didn't choose them for yourself. 

Surely, when you envision a life of regret and dissatisfaction, the pain of staying the same (and continuing to reject yourself) is greater than the pain of change.

Let's repeat that: when you reject yourself, it leads to regret.

But you can choose now to experience a different "r", by accepting yourself, reaching out for your goals, and truly allowing yourself to taste the rewards that a well-lived life has to offer.  

If you'd like professional help to overcome self-rejection and any feelings of low self-esteem you're experiencing, here's a list of virtual self-esteem coaches you can work with.

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