Rejection Isn’t Your Fault — Here’s How To Not Take It Personally

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Unless you have confidence of steel, rejection hurts. If you're like most people, your mind finds a way to make it about you — or at least wonder if it could be about you. You've heard platitudes like "nothing is personal," but not taking rejection personally is a skill that requires practice.

"A great way not to take rejection personally is to think of a time you rejected someone," dating coach Lydia Kociuba, tells Bustle. "Was your reason really about them, or about you? Was it because you didn't find something in that other person that you wanted or was it because there was something wrong with them? So often, people take rejection personally when they start analyzing how they could have been a different person, when that's really not the case at all. There is truth to 'it's not you, it's me.' Everyone who has been rejected has also at one time rejected someone else. Rejection will ultimately lead you to the place you were meant to be."

Here are some reasons not to take rejection personally, because it really isn't a condemnation of you — it's just an opportunity to find someone who's a better match for you.


People Are Looking For Very Particular Things

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If someone doesn't want to date you, it could be because they think you're an overall bad person (in which case, that's just their opinion), but it's more likely something much more specific — and less monumental. "When we're searching for the right partner there are so many pieces that have to be just right in order to have an almost perfect match," psychotherapist Jennifer L. Silvershein, LCSW, tells Bustle.


Someone Else Won't Reject You

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The opinion of someone who rejected you is by no means universal; in fact, you will likely meet someone who feels the opposite way. "Rather than taking romantic rejection personally, I always encourage my clients to see the other person as giving them the clarity and guidance to move on rather than wasting their time," Silvershein says.


If It Is About You, That Can Change

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Sometimes, someone really does have a problem with who you are. But if that's the case, you first have to ask yourself if you agree with them. And if you do, you can change that — no qualities of yours are set in stone.

"Knowing what doesn't work can be just as helpful as knowing what does," Silvershein says. "It allows us to know how to go about things differently and make adjustments as needed. Whenever a client gets romantic rejection, I always encourage them to ask the other individual for feedback so that we can adjust things moving forward, similar to a job interview rejection."


Your Rejector Is Not The Authority On You

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If your interactions with someone have been limited, they probably don't understand the entirety of who you are. Therefore, they're rejecting you based on an incomplete picture — literally, if we're talking about something as shallow as dating app swipes.

"Nobody who swipes left on your picture can tell in that moment how funny you are, how hilarious your impression of Cardi B is, how loving and kind you can be when someone you love is sick or scared," psychotherapist Christine Scott-Hudson, MA MFT ATR, tells Bustle. "They are missing out on the whole of who you are. So, don't do the same thing and further discount your own worth just because the whole Tinder/Grindr/Match thing hasn't completely panned out for you yet."


It's About Compatibility

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You can think of dating like a chemistry experiment. Just because two chemicals don't produce sparks when you put them in the same dish doesn't mean something's wrong with one of them.

"If compatibility or chemistry was a part of the decision, you would have felt the disconnect at some point down the line as well. Keep reminding yourself that you deserve to be with someone that is the right fit for you," Jeannie Assimos, eharmony's chief of advice, tells Bustle.


They're Coming From One Specific Perspective

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When someone rejects you, they're basing that rejection off their own preferences and values, which you may or may not agree with. In fact, their perception of you is likely based on their past experiences and beliefs.

"We are often projecting ourselves onto others," Whitney Goodman, LMFT, owner of the Collaborative Counseling Center, tells Bustle. "What I judge in you is what I actually judge about myself. What I criticize in you is actually something I am highly critical of in myself. When we are rejected romantically, it is usually for a variety of reasons, none of which have anything to do with us."


It May Really Be About Them

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It's a cliché, but "it's not me, it's you" is sometimes 100 percent accurate. Maybe they're afraid of commitment. Maybe they're into someone else. Maybe it has nothing to do with you.

"You can only be responsible for your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in any relationship," psychotherapist Jennifer Howard, PhD, tells Bustle. "Sometimes it is their inner blocks, beliefs about relationships, fear of intimacy, and/or some childhood influence that keeps them from being able to move forward with you."

Even if you know all these things, it can be hard not to take rejection personally. But know that within a few months or years, you probably won't be — because you'll be with someone else who makes you feel great about yourself.