I recently caught up with a friend who I hadn’t seen for a few months. In that time I’d met someone I’d really liked and well, as you’ve read in previous posts it didn’t work out.
Said friend was sympathetic but more than anything she was really happy for me. ‘Why the hell are you smiling?’, I thought as I told her how I felt sad about the situation, almost jinxed, as if the bloody universe is conspiring against me. Also how embarrassed I was about the fact that for some unknown reason I felt more emotional about the situation than perhaps I should. When I think rationally about it, I know I shouldn’t waste time thinking about him and I shouldn’t bother cursing the universe either. But for some reason I couldn’t shake that feeling of sadness and disappointment.
So, back to why she was so happy for me. ‘Because you opened up and gave someone a chance!’, she said. I hadn’t really thought about it that way. In my mind I’d opened up to someone and it hadn’t gone my way – what’s there to be happy about!? But she was adamant that this was the first step to meeting the one! She explained that it had seemed as though I’d given up (I had) and that if you don’t put yourself ‘out there’ you can never expect to meet the right guy for you. Don’t you love how coupled-up people are always telling us singles to ‘put yourself out there’, NOT! But it seems the experts concur. ‘If we really want to find love we have to be open, we have to be vulnerable and take risks. We have to risk feeling sad and disappointed. We will recover. If we stay closed to protect ourselves from hurt we risk never finding the love we want,’ explains psychotherapist Sophie Boss.
Ok that’s true I suppose, but after this knock back all I’ve really wanted to do is retreat and write off dating and relationships for good. ‘It’s just not going to happen for me,’ says the little voice in my head. I’m doing my best to ignore it, I’ve even been on a few dates – but something is making it hard for me to feel OK with how I reacted to this latest rejection.
The more I thought about why I found it difficult to let go and later why I was so disappointed in myself for needing his attention, the more I wondered if unwittingly I’d carried in all the issues, emotions and disappointments I’ve gathered from past relationships into this situation? When I opened myself up and allowed myself to believe it was possible to meet someone who made me happy, only for that not to happen, and to be left in a situation I had found myself in once before – I think they all came to a head. Yes, I liked him and yes it’s unfortunate that he was in love with someone else but I should just take it at face value and not attach any other emotions to it.
So how do you learn from past experiences without letting them negatively affect future ones? I had a chat with Vicki and Selina, love coaches and founders of Project Love, to get their take on the matter…
Break down your walls…
Often when we get hurt we make the mistake of thinking that we were being too soft, too naive, too open, and we vow to better protect ourselves next time. So up goes the wall, that air of nonchalance that tends to make guys give you a wide birth. Even when you do start to date; if you take this cool and detached attitude with you then guys will just assume you’re not that interested or you’re playing hard to get and not in an alluring way.
This won’t get you to where you really want to be, so adopt habits that help you to remain in an ‘open to receiving love’ mode, rather than all shut up and defensive. Yoga and guided meditations can help to keep you open and in a loving space. Even just uncrossing your arms and letting them hang to your sides gives a message to the brain that ‘I am open and approachable’. Equally you should use your past experiences to learn to be discerning. Let people in, yes, but don’t hand your heart over immediately. Be mindful of the patterns of behaviour you want to ditch going forward in order not to repeat them.
Accept that rejection is part and parcel of finding love..
Being broken up with or falling for someone and having them turn around and say they don’t feel the same is no fun. All so often we see women develop a major fear of rejection. It can mean that the second they start to date someone they need to know straight away if the guy is really into them. If they don’t feel as if they are, then whoosh they’re out of there. When in a relationship these people crave constant reassurance that they are loved and needed (which can be exhausting for their partner!).
The key to dealing with this one is to recognise that when someone turns around and says they’re just not into it, they are not saying that you as a person are not good enough and not worthy of love (which is what that little voice in our head likes to suggest). They are not rejecting you as a person. For whatever reason they’re not feeling it. Yes, it’s disappointing but it doesn’t mean no one is going to want to be with you. In fact,we believe ‘rejection is redirection’ – if someone walks away and ends things then they are setting you free to meet the right person for you.
Don’t write off Mr Right because he reminds you of Mr Wrong…
After we’ve been hurt, we often try to identify what we can learn from that situation so that it doesn’t happen again. However, what we mistakenly do is say things like ‘I’ll never go out with a DJ again – they’re all cheaters’ or ‘I’ll never go out with someone that works in the city again – they’re all workaholics with no time for a relationship’. Don’t tar everyone with the same brush, having the same profession, hobbies etc does not make new suitors clones of old heartbreakers.
It’s important not to limit yourself by creating a list of deal breakers based on what a person does, looks like or where they are from. Only ever create a relationship wish list of how you want to feel and how you want to be treated. Most importantly, remember that you have to be the one treating yourself with the love and respect if you want others to treat you that way.
Want to learn more about yourself and yearn to change your negative relationship patterns for good? Try Project Love’s 30 day Get Ready for Love course and get £10 off with my discount code ‘amerleyolove’