Singles’ 2024 Resolution: Separate Romantic Rejection From Self Worth

No fear of romantic rejection

People say talk about what you’re passionate about. I am passionate about this! As humans, we often take rejection of any sort, personally, as though it’s attached to our self-worth. Romantic rejection seems to sting the most. But why? And can we change it?

Why Does Rejection Hurt So Much

We all deal with rejection. If we’re breathing today, we’ve gone through rejection and made it out on the other end. So, we all know ways to handle rejection. But the goal, generally, is to handle it with less impact on us – less pain. Pain is uncomfortable and it’s human nature to avoid it. This is why people often develop a “fear of rejection”. Fear of rejection is, more broadly, a fear of emotional pain.

When someone we are romantically interested in rejects us, it hurts so much because we gave that person our self. We may get rejected at a job interview or audition. Or others may reject an idea or proposal we had. In those scenarios, we can separate ourselves from the source of the rejection. But when we give ourselves to a person, and that person rejects us, it is hard to separate ourselves from the source of the rejection. It feels like we, as a person, are being rejected.

But what if I said that’s not true!?!

I’m Worth So Much More

Let’s introduce this affirmation into our vocabulary for 2024. If someone rejects you as a potential partner, let’s remember “I’m worth so much!” We don’t want someone that doesn’t want us! Easier said than done, I know. But when you look at that statement, it’s true, right? 

How to Deal with Rejection

So, dealing with rejection is all about shifting our perspective of it. If you’ve read any of my stuff before, you’ll see a common theme of focusing on perspective. I believe it’s the source of much misery and the key to happiness. 

Let’s shift the statement dealing with rejection to accepting rejection. It already sounds more empowering, doesn’t it? Accepting something does NOT mean that we approve of it or agree with it. Acceptance means that we recognize it for what it is and are not fighting the reality of it. Acceptance frees up energy to do other things, like focusing on self love after breakup. 

So, here’s how to accept rejection. I find it easier to accept something when I look at the “thing” specifically, separate from myself. Here’s an example:

At my last job, I enjoyed streamlining and improving processes for the mounds of paperwork that we received daily. I had an idea for an improved process and brought it to my supervisor. She rejected the idea. I can choose how I view this rejection. I can either take it personally or look at it as a separate, specific thing. Here’s a diagram of the later.

regaining self worth
It was my idea, but I am separate from the idea. I am more than the idea. The focus of her rejection was on the idea, not me. There could be many reasons, that I’m unaware of, for why she rejected the idea – none of which are attributed to me as a person.

Using this logic (which is important to bring into the conversation) before this is an emotion-filled topic, let’s look at rejection from a person we are romantically interested in. 

self love after breakup

Does this image shift the concept of rejection for you? Looking at it this way, we can separate ourselves from what are trying to give the other person. We are offering a relationship, and they do not want it.

Life is filled with decisions, and this person needed to look at pro’s/con’s, plus’s/negatives, and decide whether a relationship is something they want. Their reasons for not wanting a relationship with you may include things that are at the core of who you are. Again, this is likely to feel very personal and thus painful. You may ask yourself, “why am I not enough”? But let’s bring it back to the triangle introduced above.

Why am I Not Enough

If a person does not want to be with you because you have a loud and assertive personality, there is nothing wrong with you. That person decided that they do not want to be in a relationship with someone who has a loud and assertive personality in general, not you specifically.

If a person does not want to be with you because you are always suspicious of what they are doing when they aren’t around, yes – that is something that you can work on if want to feel less suspicious, but you are still of value and worth. That person decided that they do not want to be in a relationship with someone in general who is suspicious of them, not you specifically.

Do you see a pattern?

How to Recover from Romantic Rejection

So, what has happened is the past has already happened. We can’t change it, but we can recover, heal, and grow from it. Recovering and healing are about regaining self esteem. Low self esteem after a break up is common. 

When I think about this question, “how to recover from romantic rejection”, my gut response is to say use your voice. Rejection feels like we are being silenced, or dismissed, or discarded. Using our voice reminds us that we have something to offer. 

***Essential to remember: Speaking doesn’t mean someone is listening. We have the right to speak, but we do not have the right to demand a response. If we speak, we must detach ourselves from any expectations of how they will respond.

What does this mean? I’ll use a story to clarify. 

My Come Back After Being Rejected

10 years ago (wow time flies), a boy broke up with me.I was devastated. It’s a funny and empowering story now, but not at the time! I call him a boy because (1) He was the only person I ever dated younger than me, and (2) in many ways he had not matured yet. He lived at home; he had a spotty job; he was the worst communicator I’ve ever been in a relationship with. But boy was I smitten! 

We dated for two months; it was a whirlwind romance. He broke up with me one night after I got mad that he changed plans, which now required me to drive an hour away, alone, for a birthday party of one of his female friends that I hardly knew. He told me that I was the angriest person he ever dated. It’s funny/ironic because what he didn’t know was that I was in therapy trying to learn how to express anger. My therapist recognized my tendency to repress my emotions. 

After he broke up with me, he ghosted me, and IT DROVE ME NUTS. I texted and called and got nothing in response. I went out with friends to try and have fun, ending up back at home, alone, crying, and drunk calling him – always leaving a voice message.

This is all to tell you I get it! It sucks not having closure at the of a relationship. I felt rejected for sure and I wasn’t given the chance to talk it through or make it better. Using my voice felt natural to me but I was hurt over and over again by his lack of response. At the time, I didn’t know the role ‘expectations’ were playing in my feelings. Just because I was speaking didn’t mean he had to listen.

After I recovered from this rejection, I didn’t regret speaking up at all. Once I found closure for myself and could look at the relationship and breakup more objectively, I was glad I said it all. At least I got it off my chest. At least he knew how I felt. I wasn’t silenced by his silence. Speaking up was my cathartic process for recovery. 

I didn’t call him names or attack him with my words – just spoke up to express myself, to have my views and feelings expressed. 

How to Feel You Are Good Enough for Someone

So, let’s conclude with this. Using my story above, I had things to work on. It became apparent that I hadn’t mastered how to communicate frustration yet. But, that doesn’t make me any less of a person. And that’s the key point I want to get across. A flaw or a struggle you see in yourself is a part of you; it is not who you are as a whole. 

Remember that affirmation from above? “I am so much more.” This boy didn’t give me a chance to grow from this experience, so he may not ever know that I am so much more than what he witnessed. But I know I am. I was rejected but not broken. 

I love this activity that I’m about to share with you. It will help you remember that you are enough for the next person that comes along your way. Refer back to it when doubt creeps in. List 100 positive things about you – character traits, accomplishments, etc. Don’t stop till you hit 100. You’ll get there! It takes time and thought – that’s typical. Once you’ve completed this, when someone judges you in the future for something, or you feel poorly about something you did, said, or didn’t do or say, you can remember the many positives that are a part of you too. In conclusion, soften the bad with the good. It shifts your perspective and helps you feel worthy. Bad will happen, it’s part of life. Good will happen too. If I can support you through your experiences with rejection, low self-esteem, building confidence, or your dating journey in other ways, send me a message. I’d love to get to know you better and am always happy to offer insights or activities to consider.

Written by Krystle Hearley

Online Confidence and Dating Coach, Licensed Therapist, Woman, Human Being, Dreamer, Wife, Dog Mom, Optimist, Lover of Many Things, and So Much More than Any Label I’m Given

Krystle Hearley, Confidence & Dating Coach, Life Coach