Everyone knows the age-old one-liner, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Every time the words fall from some puppy-dog eyed boy with a goofy smile, I almost want to cringe. “It’s not you, it’s me” is worthy of a well-deserved eye roll. Each time I overhear the words fall out of anyone’s mouth, one thing is certain: the poor lad – or lass – on the receiving end is getting rejected and rejection sucks.
Some people exude confidence. Some prefer to hide in their shell while others prefer to classify themselves as extroverted introverts. A lot of people hold back, hide parts of themselves, or are afraid of taking chances or saying hello to their crush because they are afraid of rejection. I don't think any of us should fear rejection for it is a normal part of the human experience. But as much of a normalcy it is, it's also insanely human to not want to get rejected. Whatever the case may be, whenever you muster up the confidence and put yourself out on a limb and get rejected, your confidence takes a blow. You feel hurt, frustrated, maybe a little angry, and wonder why the person didn’t want to give you a chance. Guess what? That's okay.
I’ll tell you a little story about a great example of rejection I experienced. There was this guy I’d seen around campus pretty often and whenever we saw each other, he was polite and definitely had a charming quality about his persona. Through his interactions, I’d misinterpreted his politeness and innocent flirtation as interest and thought Hm, I’ll pursue this kid. I had given him my number but he never texted or called even though our friendly interactions proceeded. I was confused and had an inkling this kid was spoken for – if you know what I mean. One evening, I saw he was sitting alone at dinner and slid into the chair and started a conversation with him. During the conversation, he mentioned his girlfriend at least three times. Three times. Talk about a slap of reality.
Despite the fact the conversation I had with him was by far one of the most painfully awkward conversations I’ve ever had in my twenty years and I probably wouldn’t be interested in him anymore, I was still incredibly frustrated I’d misread signals and was rejected. I was embarrassed and hurt. I called my mom and let a few water droplets from my tear ducts. After that night I brushed it off and now it’s something I can laugh about and roll my own eyes about.
As cliché as it sounds and as annoying as the realization might be, the words “it’s not you, it’s me,” is a true statement. The most important notion to remember after getting rejected is that is not a reflection of who you are or the quality of your character. If a person isn’t interested, they just aren’t. It does not mean you undesirable or that there is a major flaw in your personality.
When you get rejected, your first instinct and gut reaction might be to react in a fashion similar to this:
It’s totally okay to feel sad and cry a little bit. You can sit in a corner and throw a mini pity-party for a little while, but eventually you have to pick yourself up again, look in the mirror and remember that you’re a great person. One person’s opinion or prejudgment of you is not indicative of whether you are or not.
The best attitude to have when walking away from a person shrugging you off is to shrug them off. Give yourself a pat on the back – you put yourself out there which definitely isn’t always the easiest task to accomplish, but you did it. So what if they didn’t reciprocate the same interest you had? You got your answer, now go on and be your bad self. Attract bees to honey with renowned confidence. Don’t be bitter, be better – and by that I mean be a better version of yourself.
Don’t let the experience taint your self-esteem. It’ll bruise your ego for a little bit, but don’t let it leave lacerations on your heart. It’s not fun to experience it by any means, but it does build experience and make you tougher. Once a person says no, you can move on to the next one. Wipe your hands free and dust off your shoulders and continue to project the radiance you bring to the earth. I read once “Rejection is just God’s way of saying ‘wrong direction.’” Whether you’re religious/faithful or not, think of it as the universe saying “Nope, re-route.” Some things are not meant to be and we just have to learn to accept it and trudge forward.
You don’t need a person who doesn’t give you a chance in your life. You don’t need someone who’s already in a relationship. You don’t need to try to push something that’s not worth pursuing. You need self-confidence and self-assurance. Look at that reflection in the glass and feel good, feel so damn good that reflection belongs to you. Don’t over-inflate your ego or become hostile towards the person who rejected you. Don’t let it bring any negativity into your life. Shrug your shoulders, say whatever, and continue to be happy.
Whenever you get rejected, remember you reject people too. Rejection is normal and it sucks, but it doesn’t lessen the brightness you bring to the world.