When I dated in my teens and twenties and a guy broke up with me, I’d be devastated for weeks on end. The dialogue in my head was extremely self-destructive. “Why did he break up with me? What did I do or say to cause him to reject me?” I would turn the rejection on its head, analyzing it to death (even though the relationship was already DOA). Does any of this sound familiar?
Thank God for being a midlife dater! I’ve done a lot of inner work, and my mindset about many things has shifted. My confidence and self-esteem are intact, and I know my value. I no longer become derailed by rejection, because I believe that rejection is a gift. You can grow from every challenge in your life. How did I come full circle? By changing how I see the world. Change your perspective, change your life. If you have ever been devastated by rejection, here’s how to turn your pain into a gift of love.
3 Ways to Turn Rejection Into a Gift of Love
1. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. If you believe that everything in life has meaning, you’ll be able to turn rejection into a learning experience. Once I stopped analyzing “why” and began to focus on “what can I learn from this?”, I trusted that everything was unfolding as it should. It takes a degree of faith to feel this way, but it will change your outlook on rejection and breakups. Many years back, I fell for a guy I met online. I was hurt when he didn’t follow through on a scheduled phone call. Then, he forgot he had scheduled a date with me. I eventually let him go and moved on to a man who valued me. A year later, my friend called to let me know that I dodged a bullet. Turned out this man was a drug addict. No wonder he couldn’t follow through on anything. What did I learn? It wasn’t me, it was him. And if a guy is not accountable, move on. It doesn’t matter how charming or sexy he is.
Exercise: Make a list of any past breakups. What did you love about these men? What didn’t feel good? Now, look for patterns. There’s usually at least one. Did you ignore the same red flags in each relationship? Those are the red flags to watch out for in future relationships. Keep a list handy for all future dates.
2. YOU ARE THE CREATOR OF YOUR LIFE STORY. I always considered myself to be a positive person. I didn’t realize that I was also consumed with “if only” thinking. “If only” my parents didn’t have such a dysfunctional relationship, I would have had healthier romantic relationships. “If only” my husband had gone to therapy, my marriage may have not ended in divorce. “If only” thinking keeps you stuck. Instead of trying to change the people or circumstances you can’t control, change your response to those things. Stop being friends with people who suck the life out of you. Think twice before saying “yes” to things you really want to say “no” to. Create a life you love to live. Once you take charge of the things you can control, rejection becomes a mere hiccup. Someone doesn’t ask you out on a second date? He’s the wrong guy. You pick yourself up and move on. NEXT!
Exercise: What do you want to create in your love life? Draw 3 columns on a page and label them ”if only”, “what I want more of”and “action steps”. List 5 things in the first column. Then, figure out what you need to change to get from “if only” to “what I want more of”. For example, “if only there were more good men” becomes “I want to meet more good men” which becomes “I’ll sign up for an online dating site and write to 2 men every night.”
3. THE ONLY PERSON YOU CAN CONTROL IS YOURSELF. You can’t control how a man behaves towards you, but you can control how you respond. You can control the standards you create for how you want to be treated. When you’re clear about your standards, men will respect you more. Stop seeing yourself as rejected. Reframe rejection as a gift of clarity about the type of man who would be a better match for you.
Exercise: Every time you feel out of control about something in your dating life, take a breath and reflect. “Is this something I can control? Am I trying to control his behavior?” If it’s out of your control, ask yourself, “What can I do to create a different outcome?” For example, if you don’t like it when a man doesn’t call you again after sleeping with you, it won’t help to write him a nasty email. Reflect and do something different with the next guy. Do you want to wait for monogamy before sex? Set your standards and don’t deviate from them.
With this new perspective, you’ll hardly ever feel rejected. You’ll make powerful choices about everything and everyone you allow into your life. When you change your life perspective and reframe the negative things that happen to you, you’ll be a happier, more fulfilled person. Rejection is part of your life plan. You’ll come to understand why the hard stuff happened as you change your awareness around it.
Every rejection clears the way for the right things to come into your life.
If you can’t let go of what’s not working in your love life, you won’t be able to attract a man who is right for you. Do you have a story of how you learned from rejection or a breakup? I’d love for you to share it here.
If you want to find love this year, there’s nothing like group coaching to keep you accountable and give you dating tools that work. The Last First Date Inner Circle features two monthly topic-based Q & A calls about dating in midlife and a private forum for women to connect and share their experiences. All calls are recorded and transcribed, and you get a free chapter a month of my upcoming book. This month, we’re talking about how to communicate with men without nagging. Check it out here.
For a copy of my FREE report, “The Top Three Mistakes Midlife Daters Make (and how to turn them around to find love now)” please click here.