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To love is to be vulnerable

The fear of rejection is something we can all identify with: fear of not being good enough or fear of not being accepted or valued for who you are, with your faults and shortcomings.

Being rejected involves not getting the positive affirmation you had desired from another person. 

The more important it is for you to get affirmation from the other person, the more you will feel rejected. The fear of rejection can crop up in all types of relationships, with friends and family but especially in romantic relationships.

The Christian author C. S. Lewis wrote ‘To love is to be vulnerable’. His advice to those who don’t want to get hurt is to never give your heart to anyone. There’s always a risk of rejection if you show love, and a risk that the love will not be returned. The only sure way to avoid being hurt is to never make yourself vulnerable. The only sure way to avoid rejection is not to display love. But if you choose the safe solution, you also decide against love, and you end up with a cold, emotionless and isolated heart.

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A natural reaction among those who have been hurt and rejected is that they are more careful in bonding with other people, more cautious about giving of themselves, and more afraid of showing feelings and weaknesses. Thus they let the fear of rejection direct their lives, their choices and the way they relate to other people.

Some results of the fear of rejection is that we don’t dare to be honest; we don’t dare to show our weak sides; we aren’t able to talk to friends about personal problems, and that we aren’t able to ask others for forgiveness.

Fear of rejection can lead to you not taking initiative in social settings – perhaps you don’t dare to ask out the girl or guy who you like, or you don’t dare to express your feelings, or enter a romantic relationship.

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Instead of letting fear of rejection direct our lives, we should try to accept the fact that rejection is a normal part of life, and that all types of love involve a risk of being hurt.

You can find a lot of help in Bible verses that are about God never failing you, and that you are loved unconditionally.

For example:

Isaiah 43:1

Isaiah 49:15–16

Psalm 121

1 John 4:10

If you are worthy of being loved by Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, then you can rest assured that you are also worthy to be loved by your fellow man, regardless how many times you’ve been hurt and rejected.

It can also be helpful to go to Jesus with all your hurts, and know that He Himself had to suffer the ultimate rejection when He was wounded, abandoned and hung on a cross. Maybe then it will be easier to conquer the fear of rejection, and choose love even though there is a risk of being hurt.