Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fear of Social Rejection

I remember reading a book written by one of my favorite philosophers of all time, J.Krishnamurti on the subject of fear. And one chapter of the book focused on the fear of social rejection. It is called "On Fear" by J.Krishnamurti, you could look for it if you are interested. There were many series of these books written.

This was about 10 years ago and I have not seen the book since then. But I still recall this point very vividly. The fear of social rejection. This is a fear that is conditioned within all of us and it relates to the core dynamics of that society. Fear is one side of the coin,the other side of the coin is Desire. Therefore when fear exists, there would be a corresponding desire involved. And when you desire something, there would be a corresponding fear related to it.

What is fear of social rejection? It is the fear that people in your society, your friends and people you do not know rejects you, or judges you, or even discriminate or you being subjected to ridicule. This fear can be different things to different people. In other words it is the 'desire' to be accepted within that society or group of people. This fear dictates a lot of elements of our behavior. Including how we dress, how we talk, friends we choose, how we act on the road etc etc. The fear of social rejection influences even our own beliefs and principles. We as a people automatically adjust ourselves according to our fears so we could avoid realizing them. No one wants to be the clown everyone points their fingers and laugh at, everyone wants to be the 'coolest' person around.

Why do people have fear of social rejection? The answer is again simple. If you look for the corresponding desire behind a particular fear, you will find the answer. Thus fear of social rejection exist due to the desire to be accepted by society. Everyone wants to be accepted, respected and have a sense of belonging. Teenagers are easily led into a street gangs because sometimes they find that acceptance there, which they could not get within their homes or school. In the work place fear of rejection is very strong, where new employees have to do a lot of 'ass kissing' to make a good impression.

Fight the Fear.

Imagine Fear as a great huge grizzly bear, rearing up with claws and teeth bared. If you turn and run to escape, you will definitely be caught and torn to shreds by the bear. But even if you decide to fight it you will be turned to mince meat as well. So what do we do? When the bear is in front of you, you have to observe it. You have to respect and acknowledge the great beast. You should turn down you desire to run and your desire to fight. Then you will come into acceptance of your fear and thus, now you are free from it. The bear sensing no fear from you, will turn back and go back to where it came from. The lesson is to not react to your fear and let it determine your actions.

To control your fear, control the related desire.

Why do people fear death? Its because they desire to live.
Why do people have fear of social rejection? Its because they desire to be accepted.
Why would people fear to lose their spouses? If they desired them of course they would.
Why do people fear failure? Its because of they desire to be somebody distinguished.

And why do people desire love? It because they fear loneliness.

Fear and Desire; sides of the same coin. Desire less, fear less. Desire more, fear more.


Anonymous said...

Maybe back in the day when humans lived in tribes we needed to belong to a tribe inoder to survive, for food and protection from animals and other tribes. So anyone who was too different or not accepted by a tribe died, alone. maybe there it is a genetic evoltionary fear ? it was a fear that helped humans stay alive and pass on thier genes the next generation.

Mr. Karma said...


And there are many types of fear. I guess the one you refer to is the fear generated by the 'survival instinct' of a species. An example is the feeling you get when you look down a 10 floor building with no railing and imagine you are falling, you instinctively step back.

dreamer said...

great stuff as usual!! :)
fear u said comes in sooo many forms and wats life without fears anyway..its the fear that helps us to move, makes us go that extra mile or build the urge to touch the stars..