Do not take anything personally.

The fear of rejection is one of man’s greatest fears. It stands alongside other big fears like the fear of embarrassment or the fear of failure. Some people even have a fear of achievement! But rejection, that one is way up at the top of the list.

Rejection is such a big thing because people have the need to belong somewhere, we like to be associated with a specific group of people. It forms part of our identity to belong. We want to be loved and liked by the people we meet.

But the matter of the fact is we cannot be liked and loved by everyone we meet. We can also not please everybody. It will become very tiring trying to be everything to everybody.

If one of your ideas are rejected, try to reframe it in a positive way. See it as an opportunity to improve on your idea. Do not take it personally. (Do you remember me talking about The Four Agreements a few posts ago? This is one of the four agreements: Do not take it personally!)

Nothing people do to you is personal. They might think you are the problem, and you might take it personally, but the bigger issue lies with the other person since he or she brought up the issue. The other person has his or her own issues and anxieties on which he or she reacts. You merely triggered the thought in their brain. It is the thought that makes them behave badly toward you. The action is all theirs. You cannot take it personally. It is not your stuff. Don Miguel Ruiz , the writer of The Four Agreements, writes: “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”

You can also not assume what is going on in the other person’s head. This is another of the four agreements: Do not make assumptions!

Does this make rejection any less painful? No, but maybe a bit more bearable. If you keep telling yourself these things, you might handle rejection a bit better in future.

So if someone rejects you on grounds of your sexuality or religion or whatever, just remember that it is their issue. You are not the problem. Try to be empathetic and see where they are coming from. This might help you accept the situation and move on. The world needs more compassion anyway. Do not take it personally.

If you have any questions or want to discuss this post with me, please leave a comment or contact me directly.