How do we deal with fear of rejection?
Transcribed by: Keshavgopal Das
Question: How do we deal with fear of rejection?
Answer: We are all social creatures and want relationships. We all need to realize that we are existentially alone. We were born alone, we will die alone. In the journey, we will and should form relationships, but the foundation should be clear.
There are three kind of people (i) independent (ii) dependent (iii) interdependent. Only independent people can become interdependent. We all define ourselves in terms of our relationships. For example, as children, we say “I am son or daughter of so and so”, as young adults, we say “I am husband or wife of so and so” etc. However, this is not our sole identification. We are not just sum total of our relationships.
We have horizontal relationship in this world and we have a vertical relationship with Krishna. Krishna as God is always present with us – sarvasya cha aham hridy sannivishtho. He is present in the heart of everyone. He is closest to us; closer than best of our loved ones. This relationship is supposed to be our anchor.
In the horizontal relationship there will be ups and downs. Sometimes there will be affection, sometimes confrontation, sometimes alienation. If we are in an ocean, the waves will toss us here and there. If there is a helicopter above, and we are holding on to the rope coming from the helicopter, the waves in the ocean will still come, but will not shake us that much because we have a shelter.
Similarly, for us in the relationship that we have, there will be storms, ups and downs etc. If we are vertically sheltered by a strong relationship with Krishna which can be developed by the practice of bhakti yoga, then we understand that at least there is one person who always cares for us. That is God, Krishna. He will never leave us, no matter what happens.
In any relationship if we experience rejection, we feel unloved. To feel unloved is distressing. When we feel multiple rejection, we may start thinking that there is something wrong with myself. To feel unloved is distressing, to feel unlovable is devastating. When we experience our relationship with Krishna through the practices of bhakti, we feel inner serenity. That helps us understand that God cares for me, no matter what happens in my life. That will give us the inner security by which if there is a rejection in our horizontal relationship, our sense of self-worth will not be determined by the horizontal relationship alone.
We need to be independent and not dependent. If we are dependent on any relationship for our security and self-worth, then any turbulence in that relationship will be very agitating. If our self-worth and security come from Krishna, then even if the relationship with others goes up and down, we will have inner stability to move forward in life.
End of transcription.