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  • Linda R. Taliaferro

How to Stop Self-Rejecting


In my work, I have a real heart to serve Black and Brown women in the workforce. I know how hard it can be out here for us, and I want to talk about a phenomenon I see in women of color with troubling regularity: self-rejecting.


This is when we tell ourselves that we are not good enough, over-focusing on our failures in a way that determines our future. We decide that we aren't good enough, and that success isn't for us. Before we can even get rejected, we reject ourselves.


It isn't just women of color that self-reject, but I see it among us as a general trend.

I personally experienced self-rejection in the early years of my career. I had a lazy eye, which means that one eye would always drift independently of the other. It made me self-conscious, and when I was in group settings, all I wanted to do was hide. In school, I was bullied for being different and for being a bookworm. Even members of my own family made denigrating remarks about me. It was hard to have good self-esteem.


I took all that negative feedback and translated it into a narrative that I wasn't good enough. All that stuff I got from the world around me, I also was telling myself.

I had a case of NSTS: Negative Self Talk Syndrome. What affects us personally will affect us professionally. Because I believed the lie that I wasn't worthy enough, wasn't good enough, I self-rejected. I didn't raise my hand for promotions, I didn't volunteer to speak, and I let opportunities pass me by.


Here are a few practical tips that have helped me and my clients get out of NSTS:

  • Accept that you're your own worst critic

  • Identify where the negative voices came from

  • Use affirmations to highlight your own worth

Women of color, we have enough doubters and dismissers in our lives as it is. Rise out of a self-rejecting mindset and remove the comparison mindset. Regardless of where that negative voice in your head came from, recognize that much of that chatter didn't come from you and does not reflect your true self.


When you start to accept and embrace yourself, and when you stop rejecting your growth before it can really shine, you'll be amazed by how people respond to you. Self-acceptance brings self-assurance, and people will look at you and see a leader staring back at them.

You can do this, and I can help.


If you want to connect with me to talk about your professional journey, click here to book a free one-on-one.


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