Self- Rejection in Women

What Is Self Rejection?

Self-Rejection, especially in women, is a widespread disease that cripples us and stunts our growth by making us believe in things that are most of the time not even true!

So, what exactly is self-rejection and why does it affect women so much? And if it really does then what are the ways of overcoming it?

Self-rejection, is, as the word itself suggests, a rejection of self. It is when you reject yourself for an opportunity, activity or chance even before you actually face rejection from someone else. It is when you deem yourself “not worthy enough” for something good or better that your current situation. 

Self-rejection might be conscious or subconscious, i.e., you might be consciously talking yourself down and not trying out for new things just for the fear of being rejected in one way or another or deeming yourself not worth that good thing or opportunity as much as others. Conversely, you might be unconsciously rejecting yourself that manifests in the form of you not applying for that internship even though you’re capable, not asking for that promotion even though you might be the one best suited for it and not asking someone out even though you could be a genuinely good partner to someone.

While the conscious one is easily detectable by others around us, it’s the unconscious one which is the sneaky one, because the people around you, and even you might not know that you’re doing it. 


Self-rejection in women takes an even more ugly and toxic shape.

Due to the patriarchal values that were prevalent in our society before and even now to some extent, women were seen as incapable of doing a lot of “hard” jobs that men could do. Most jobs involving earning a proper living or leading people were deemed “unfit” for women.

Thus, due to the traditionally enforced gender roles, even as women today are increasingly becoming a part of the workforce, a residual doubt often remains in the hearts and minds of a lot of women. The creeping doubt due to which you might think that you’re not good enough for that promotion, that job, that partner or that friend.

Women often reason with themselves and sabotage themselves as well as their careers, love lives and friend groups and do not live up to their full potential just because they might think that they don’t deserve it. And this toxic thought pattern makes them step back.

They fold.

They don’t end up applying to that job, don’t have the talk with their boss, do not seek out the person they actually like, or might reject opportunities of getting to know new people and making new friends, because what’s the use, right?

The self-rejection makes sure that they either back out completely or do not end up giving their 100% for the opportunity, which, leads to failure. This failure now serves as a confirmation to their previous self-rejection thoughts and they now become convinced that they really are not upto mark, or don’t have what it takes to make that cut, leading to them backing out of and sabotaging more opportunities making this a vicious cycle that ends nowhere good.


  • Lowering the bar: Adjusting your goals according to your capabilities and real-life conditions is one thing, but bringing your goals down just because you feel that they might be unachievable by you for no real reason is a sign of self-rejection. It makes you believe the you don’t have what it takes to achieve your goal and thus you lower your standards even though you might have fully been capable of achieving your initial goal.
  • Isolation: Lot of time you fear reaching out to neighbours, colleagues, friends for the fear of being rejected. Isolating yourself from people in the sense of not putting yourself in the real world is also a sign of self-rejection. You might be declining opportunities to meet new people and hanging out with potential friends due to your insecurity of facing rejection from them.  self-rejection.
  • Hesitant Behaviour: -. Being unsure and hesitant while trying out new things or applying for a new opportunity is normal and not problematic at all. Not applying for a new job or a highly coveted project in the company will ensure you never get that opportunity in the first case. Most of the times you reject yourself before anyone else has the opportunity to assess your skills.

  • Giving others charge: Most of the Indian women are conditioned to give power of decision making to men of their family especially the financial matters. How many women do you know who handle their finances on their own even if they are earning very well? Giving other people, even if they might be close to you, charge of the big decisions in your life also indicates self-rejection. You might think that they’re more capable of making a better decision for you but no one is actually more suited to take a decision about your life, no matter how educated, intelligent or close that person might be, than you. And handing that power over to someone else is an indication of you thinking that you’re not capable enough to be taking your own decisions. 

Thus, the above-mentioned signs can be easily used to identify whether you’re trapped in the toxic cycle of self-rejection or not. 


Now, if you are caught in such a cycle and you’ve realised how it’s affecting your life for the worse and keeping you from reaching the heights that you’re fully capable of reaching, how do you overcome it?

The real way of overcoming this cycle is realising that you’re good enough and having a clear head so that you can clearly differentiate between facts and emotions. Some of the things that might help you to end this cycle of self-rejection are as follows: –

  1. Understand yourself – what are your strengths and weakness
    1. Accept yourself the way you are
    1. Use self-affirmation and visualization to improve your self esteem
    1. Take calculated risks. Apply for the job even if you feel you are not 100% qualified for it. Ask for that promotion.
    1. Learn new skills. With advent of technology, you can learn new skills sitting at home. Learn as much as possible. Keep your self-updated.
    1. Meet new people from different walks of life. Merely interacting with them shall give you a different perspective in life
    1. Travel as much as possible. Travelling is the best way of learning about different places, people, mindsets. Solo travel is a must for every woman to introspect about her life and her priorities.

You also need to realize that every mistake or failure is an opportunity to learn & develop yourself immensely. rejection just makes the eventual victory sweeter and fulfilling because really, if you got everything you wanted at the first try, would it really have any long-lasting value?

So, go out there, live your life to the fullest and do not hesitate to break any barriers.

Proud HR Services is an end-to-end service partner for the implementation of Women well-being  in organizations. We partner with companies on case redressal and policies to proactively promote women empowerment in the organizations.

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