My only real break up came in sixth grade when a girl dumped me after two and half days of dating bliss.
I only agreed to date her after her friend (who I really liked) said it would help her friend’s self confidence if a boy would “go out” with her.
So, being the nice guy I am (and looking to impress the girl I really liked) I agreed.
You can imagine my shock when this girl delivered the classic line heard at every break up in the history of mankind, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
What does, “It’s not you, it’s me,” even mean?
It’s easy to say, it flows from the lips without much thought.
This line is a shallow attempt to save the feelings of the other person that’s being dumped.
The question is: How true is that statement?
For me, a person who definitely enjoys the approval of others this line doesn’t really help.
When I sense, think, or hear someone doesn’t like me I want to know why.
Is this healthy?
I’ve had to work really hard to not allow people’s opinion of me to drive me or lead me to do stupid things in order to earn their approval.
I’ve recently come to the conclusion that often when people don’t like me or give me a weird vibe I really should be thinking, “It’s not me, it’s you.”
That can sound rude, I understand, but allow me to explain.
I believe that more often than not the reason we dislike or disapprove of people is based on our own preconceived notions and biases.
So it really might be true after all… “It’s not you, it’s me.”
There’s a lot of freedom to be found when you realize that it’s not your job to make sure everyone likes you and is pleased with you.
Does that mean you should act like a jerk and say, “Too bad, that’s your problem.”?
Of course not.
I’m simply saying that you can’t make everyone like you.
So quit wasting your time.
Be who God has called you to be.
Look at how Jesus dealt with human approval:
“Your approval means nothing to me.” (John 5.41)
Earlier Jesus had explained to His disciples what truly drives him:
“My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” (John 4.34)
I’m working through this too, but let me encourage any fellow people pleaser types out there:
You can’t impress and win everyone over.
Next time you feel rejected maybe it would help you to repeat this little phrase:
“It’s not me, it’s you.”