How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection

Luke 17:33

How can you overcome your fear of getting rejected by a woman?

Fear is our internal feelings running from the external circumstances that we want to avoid. Fear is fueled by the belief that if we walk carefully enough, if we play our cards just right, we can avoid pain. Therefore, because we think we can avoid pain if we do everything perfectly, we live with the constant tension and worry about making a mistake.

Thus, one reason you fear getting rejected by a woman is because you think you can avoid it if you do everything perfectly. Your fear of rejection is your internal feelings running away from the external possibility of relationship pain. You want to avoid the pain of rejection so bad that you live in constant worry of making a bad choice that will lead to this pain, thinking that if you can just avoid making that one fatal mistake you can also avoid this unwanted feeling.

So how do you deal with this fear of rejection?

One important step to deal with fear of any kind is to accept that you can’t avoid pain. No matter what you do, you will always end up experiencing pain eventually. You will never do everything perfect. Mistakes are bound to happen. And even if you could do everything “perfect,” other people will not be perfect. This world is not perfect. Life will always produce some uncontrollable circumstance that brings you pain.

Therefore, to overcome the fear of relationship rejection, you have to accept that you cannot avoid it. No matter what you do, it is impossible to always pursue the right woman, to always read every situation perfectly, or to always say the right thing at the exact right moment. And even if you could be perfect, other people will not be perfect. They will miscommunicate, misinterpret, and mishandle your heart. Relationships will always produce uncontrollable circumstances that bring you pain.

Some people think the only way to avoid relationship pain is by completely forsaking relationships all together. They reason, “If I never put myself out there, I can’t get hurt.” Biblical singleness is a blessing (1 Corinthians 7:7), but biblical singleness is never motivated by a fear of relationships. If God has put a desire in your heart to want to be married but you run from relationships because of fear, your passivity will create a much greater pain in the end than any rejection could ever create.

So even if you think you can avoid the pain of rejection by just not playing the game, by avoiding relationships completely, your un-lived life and extreme passivity produces a crippling, cancerous feeling of cowardice. As a man grows old and looks back on his life, he always realizes that the only thing worse than trying and failing is living with the knowledge that you failed to try at all.

Rejection is painful. But regret is always worse.

In the true story called A Band of Brothers, there’s a scene in the HBO mini-series that depicts these principles in a powerful way. Lieutenant Speirs is one of the most courageous soldiers in the regiment. He repeatedly risked his life and did amazing acts of heroism that all the men admired and respected.

Private Blithe, however, was so afraid that he routinely got paralyzed with fear and could not function as a soldier. On D-Day, Blithe found himself in a ditch. Instead of finding his unit and fighting the enemy, he just stayed in that ditch until he felt it was safe to come out. In shame, he confesses this to Lieutenant Speirs, wondering how the Lieutenant is so brave.

Lieutenant Speirs: You know why you hid in that ditch, Blithe?

Private Blithe: I was scared.

Lieutenant Speirs: We were all scared. You hid in that ditch because you think there’s still hope. But, Blithe . . . the only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead. And the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function.

Jesus said, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it” (Luke 17:33).

When we apply these principles to your fear of getting rejected by a woman, we discover that the only true way to overcome this fear is to accept that it’s going to happen. One way or the other, all men who act like real men and pursue a woman get rejected. If you put yourself out there, as a real man chooses to do, eventually a woman is going to hurt you. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you will be able to function as a man and pursue a woman as God has called you to do.

Even when a woman accepts your pursuit and doesn’t reject you in the ultimate sense, even if you marry this woman, you must keep pursuing her and thus you must keep exposing yourself to inevitable moments of rejection. Throughout any real relationship between any man and woman, it never always goes well.

If you can’t accept the imperfections of a human relationship, you will always live in fear. If you can’t accept the inevitable rejection that all men always face, you will always be a paralyzed man.

Embrace the pain. It’s a part of being a real man who’s following God’s command to love. When you love someone, you have to expose yourself to the reality that they will eventually hurt you (Matthew 18:20-21). But when you accept this, you can also choose to keep loving this person (1 Peter 4:8).

You’ll get over it. God will sustain you. You can handle it because God made you as a man. In Christ, you’re strong enough do what needs to be done to accomplish your missions from God as a man (Philippians 4:13), including when it comes to loving a woman (Ephesians 5:25).

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Mark Ballenger is the writing ministry of Mark Ballenger. To reach Mark, send him an email anytime: