By: Danielle Dungca
Everyone has their own phobias. A phobia can be defined as “an intense, persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, situation, or person”. My phobia? The fear of rejection.
Growing up, I fit into most “Asian stereotypes.” The ones portraying a light-skinned, dark-haired, almond-eyed girl sitting in the AP and honors classes? The ones that showed the girl who was always early to each and every class (because early is on time and on time is late)? That was me.
Each day, I woke up and got all my belongings together. I went to school and then back home. I immediately began my homework. After homework, I went to practice. After practice, I studied. It was a never ending cycle that became my daily routine.
This system of events has gone on for years. It has created my lifestyle. Because of this, I have always gotten all As. Aside from my grades and scholastic achievements, I have applied for countless opportunities, and have been accepted into each one.
Of course, this is a good thing. Right? In my 16 years of living, I have always gotten what I wanted, and what’s wrong with that?
Unfortunately, my success has never been determined by my willingness to be at the top. My motivation was never, “I’m going to feel so good when this is all over.” Instead it was, “If I fail, I won’t be happy.” Big difference, I know.
My life is so strict. Not because of the rules that have been imposed on me by my family, or the expectations from my teachers and mentors, but because of myself. The mindset that I have adapted has shaped me into the person I am today. I am the person that cries over every minor inconvenience, the person who evaluates her life based on her success, and overall, the person with a fear of rejection.
Not many people know this about me. It’s not something I talk about. Hopefully you can see why. You, whoever is reading this, is one of the only people who knows about my fear. This is partly because I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed by the fact that I can’t do anything without striving for perfection and being afraid that the outcome will be anything but that. I crumble just thinking about it.
This fear consumes my life. However, there is a bright side. After looking at it and analyzing it, it’s not such a bad thing. Fears in general are not always negative. Fears help us. They help us to identify our strengths and weaknesses. They also allow us to gain strengths. For example, having the fear of rejection has led me to create good studying habits, to become more organized, to become more self-sufficient, to build resilience, and so much more.
My phobia may seem silly to others. It may seem like the least of their problems. However, the big takeaway of this is fears are normal. Fears are helpful, and should be talked about. Revealing them opens you up to a realm of other people who are able to help lift the weight off your shoulders. Though it sounds cheesy, you are not alone. Not at all. Everybody has their own fears, but in the end, the way you perceive it is the scariest thing, not the fear itself.