How Disappointments In Dating Can Actually Help You
Let's face it -- life is messy!
Things are going to happen all the time that we don't want to have happen.
* Your computer will randomly die the hour before your deadline is due.
* The guy you really liked will stop calling you -- right at the point you thought things were great and you finally told your family about him.
* You'll leave your phone in the cab on the way to the airport.
Shit happens.....as we all know. Especially when dating!
While we can't prevent frustrating things from happening -- we do have a choice in how we deal with what's showing up in our lives and the attitude we have around it.
Which brings me to my latest frustrating-undesirable-life-is-messy situation, and my important take-away from it around disappointments and empowerment.
Bring on the Flood
A few weeks ago, I had just gotten back home from a peaceful two week vacation in the desert. I was relaxed and rejuvenated and looking forward to a quiet night at home before diving back into work the next day.
That's when I suddenly discovered that water was pouring out of my ceiling.
Did I say pouring?!
Umm....yeah. More like gushing.
Not exactly the kind of welcome home I was looking for :-)
At first, my response was complete overwhelm!
Why is this happening?! What do I do?! It's Saturday night -- whose going to to be able to fix this right now?!
(Sigh. Deep breath...)
I called the people I needed to call and managed to get the leak repaired fairly quickly.
But not without a huge chunk of my ceiling and wall getting removed.
Not without a giant mess.
Not without discovering there was mold now being exposed to my living space.
And not without learning that my home was going to become a construction zone and I was going to have to relocate right away.
Immediately -- I went into victim mode.
"Really?! This has to happen right NOW? Right when I'm finally home and have so much work to do and really need things to be settled?!"
I noticed that I was super tense inside. Huffy even. I was resisting the reality of what was happening and in complete victim mode feeling frustrated and overwhelmed and like everything was out of my control.
And then I realized....
Wait a second.
This is happening whether I like it or not.
I can either get all worked up about it -- and how less than ideal it is.
I can accept what's happening for what it is -- life, being the crazy, messy, wonderful adventure that it is and relax into it.
I realized that the truth of the situation was that I was the only one who was making this situation hard.
Now don't get me wrong. Was the situation going to interrupt my daily life and be completely inconvenient?
Sure as hell was ;-)
But I realized that I had the power to make the situation be what it was going to be.
I had the power to relax into it and surrender or resist it and become frustrated and tense.
I'm the one who gets to make the choice between treading water or floating on my back.
It all had to do with my attitude and what I was going to choose to focus on.
As soon as I softened into what WAS instead of of resisting it and wishing it were different -- an immediate sense of peace washed over me.
'Okay life, you want to bring me a giant inconvenient leak? Bring it! I can handle this.'
It seems so simple -- just surrender right? And yet when we're in those moments, and frustration is flooding us (literally!) -- sometimes it can be hard to shift our lens and get to that sweet feeling of surrender.
Especially in dating when our hearts are involved!
So the question is: how do we soften when we're feeling the most triggered, disappointed and frustrated?
Finding the Benefit
While every situation is unique, I've found that there are two questions, that when asked in the moment, can quickly shift me from overwhelm and victim mode to empowerment. This shift in thinking doesn't take my problems away -- but it definitely arms me with an attitude that helps me navigate the hard moments much more skillfully and with greater peace and strength.
The quickest and easiest way I've found to shift frustration, disappointment and overwhelm into peace and empowerment -- is to ask myself:
1) "How can this situation benefit me?"
2) "What opportunity is this situation bringing me?"
A frustrating situation benefiting me? Yes!
See, if you take an undesirable, unpleasant situation -- flip it around, do a 180 on it, and explore how the situation might actually end up serving you in some way (because truthfully, it almost always does) -- it suddenly puts you in way more of a power position and helps you see the situation from a whole different (and much more positive) angle.
Now this may be challenging in the moment -- as typically when something difficult is happening we tend to focus on the pain it's bringing us.
But focusing on what we are 'losing' and what we don't have control over doesn't help our situation out at all. All it does is disempower us, make us the victim, and put our lives out of our control.
Whatever the situation is, it's happening. The good news is that we get to chose how we approach what's happening.
Now just to be clear, I'm not suggesting you do a spiritual bypass, say 'it's all good' and go all Pollyanna on things. I'm not telling you to deny your feelings -- in fact taking time to be with your feelings and honor them is an important part of the process and something I highly recommend.
What I am suggesting is looking at the situation in a way that helps you see what you might be gaining from it.
How might facing this situation actually benefit you in some way?
What opportunities might this situation actually be bringing you?
When I asked myself these questions as it related to my flooding situation -- I realized that not being in my home office would bring me the experience and adventure of working out of coffee houses and restaurants nearby -- something I've always wanted to do but never thought I had the focus to pull off. Perhaps this was an opportunity to finally try?
Perhaps working in some new environment might actually inspire me in unexpected ways? Maybe I'll meet new people being out and about in the world and not tucked away in my cozy, safe, home environment?
Perhaps having my personal items all moved around and out of place will be an opportunity to go through some of the clutter I've accumulated over the years and get rid of things I no longer need. An unplanned 'spring cleaning' of sorts.
I realized that staying at other peoples homes would lead me to connect with family and friends and have bonding moments with them that I wouldn't have had if the leak hadn't shown up.
And I realized that rolling with this experience and saying YES to what it was bringing me was an opportunity to practice patience, find greater peace in the moment, and develop an important emotional muscle within myself of letting go of control and not resisting reality (something that always brings suffering).
Was everything in my home going to become a mess and suddenly be in utter chaos -- interrupting my very organized, tidy world and my daily schedule?
But deciding to surrender to it and figuring out how it might actually benefit me ended up making me feel badass, strong, and empowered -- knowing I wasn't going to let this situation bring me down but rather use it to help me 'win'.
Dating and Disappointments
This got me thinking about my clients and the things they struggle with in dating.
So often I come across people who seem hell bent on being the victim of their life's circumstances and who are angry and frustrated about what's happening in their dating/relationship worlds.
Maybe they've given up on dating and are cynical because they've been burned and disappointed too many times.
Maybe they've recently been rejected and they're hurt or angry.
Maybe they're frustrated from going on date after date, not meeting anyone they're truly interested in, and they want to blame their city, or the guys in their town, or their bodies, or something outside of themselves for why love isn't happening in their lives.
Maybe they're struggling in a relationship with their current partner -- and feel like it's the other person's fault.
It's easy to complain about our circumstances, feel like the victim, and blame others for why we're feeling unhappy. But taking that stance will never lead us to peace or fulfillment.
The key to empowerment is to take responsibility for what's happening in our lives, own our part in it, and turn the challenges into opportunities for growth and expansion.
Because the truth is, no matter what's happening in your life -- you get to choose how you respond to it and the lens that you look through.
And THAT is what gives you power.
Not that fake-I-control-you power.
But that real, juicy, grounded, nothing-can-take-you-down power.
Because nothing -- no circumstance or person -- can ever take your attitude away from you.
So if you're struggling with a situation in your dating world that's undesirable, and you're feeling disappointed, overwhelmed, frustrated or hurt -- my question for you is:
How might this experience actually benefit you in some way?
And what opportunity is this situation bringing you?
I know it might not always be obvious -- but I encourage you to dig deep. There are usually some incredibly rich opportunities and benefits hidden underneath our struggles.
And if you want to take it a step further and keep exploring -- it might also be helpful to look at:
* Where are you blaming people or circumstances in your life and playing the victim role? And how is that serving you in some way?
* How might you be able to surrender even more deeply in this moment? (And why might you be resisting that?)
*And how can you turn this situation around and take more responsibility for your happiness right now.....embracing this moment as an opportunity for growth?
As always, I'm here to support those of you that are needing extra help in this area.
If you find yourself stuck in resentment, anger, frustration, or any other undesirable feeling as it relates to your life and your dating/relationship world -- and you're ready to dive deep and explore what's really going on -- feel free to reach out and schedule a complimentary consultation with me at www.goodatyou.com. I'm happy to talk with you about your situation and see if working together feels like a good fit :)
Much love always!