This week I caught up with an old friend and, during our conversation, she was bemoaning her recent experience of internet dating. ‘It’s just one disappointment after another!’ she exclaimed. ‘I don’t know how much more rejection I can take!’
Now, I have to say at this point that my friend is an attractive, intelligent woman who I would have thought could snag just about any man she wanted. Yet, here she was in the prime of her life, feeling totally dejected and disheartened with the experience. To make things worse, she complained that the only advice she seemed to be receiving from well-meaning friends had been either (from the optimist) ‘Just pick yourself up and keep going,’ or (from the pessimist) ‘I should give up now while you still have your sanity and self-esteem intact!’
So, it got me thinking about how the internet dating scene is a bit like a microcosm of life’s ups and downs, a sort of metaphor for the journey we go through when we know what we want, yet somehow life just seems to do all it can to stop our dream becoming a reality.
So, how do we cope with the inevitable feelings of disappointment that life often throws us? Specifically, how do we pick ourselves up when we hit, not just one obstacle, but a series of obstacles.
Most of all, how do we stay positive and keep going when there just doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel? dealing with rejectionWell, here are a few tips to help you with each of these points:
1. Reacquaint yourself with your goals
When the going gets tough, it’s sometimes easy to forget why we are putting ourselves into such a dark tunnel. So to help us out, we need to keep reminding ourselves that the end goal is worth the risk of getting those bruises even if it means, in the case of internet dating, bruises to our egos and self-esteem!
So, how do we do this? Well, firstly by reminding yourself exactly why it is you want this goal. with rejection
The simple truth is, when the ‘why’ is big enough we are much more motivated and better equipped to weather the storms that we might encounter along the way.
2. Create a vision of your goals
Once you have reconnected with your goals, you need to touch base with them at least once a day. This can be either by creating a vision board (a picture representations of your goals), internally visualising the outcome you want, or actually writing your goals on a sheet of paper every morning.
3. Get in touch with the feelings of success
As well as getting in touch with your goals visually, you need to get in touch with the feelings that you will have when you have achieved them. Doing this regularly will increase your unconscious belief that your dreams really can come true. It will also increase your sense of motivation to achieve your goals which, as I mentioned before, is essential if you are to cope with any obstacles.
4. Embrace the knocks as part of the journey
Most people don’t achieve great things without encountering some form of failure at some stage along the way. therefore it helps to accept that rejection, dejection and disappointment are all part of the journey. To use the dating metaphor, sometimes you really do have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince!
When you accept that this is all part of the process to achieving your dreams, it really does make the knocks more palatable.
5. Change your perspective of failure
There is a saying that there is no such thing as failure, only lessons learned. In other words, once we see that these so called ‘failures’ are really just test-runs to prepare us for success, we can start to see them as opportunities to grow, teaching us what we need to learn in order to be the person who finally succeeds. In fact, maybe we are encountering the set-backs because we aren’t ready to succeed right at this moment!
So, when we have overcome the obstacle and finally do succeed, not only will we be better prepared for success, but we will appreciate it so much more.
In the case of my friend, when I explained this process and she changed her perspective accordingly, she realised that she had actually learned a lot about herself during the dating process and acknowledged that she probably needed to sort out some things within herself before she was ready to finally meet the right person. Along the way she had also learned more about what qualities she really didn’t want in a man and the qualities she wanted more in herself. If she had actually been asked out on a second date with any of the men who rejected her, she might have momentarily felt an ego boost but, long-term, she realised they wouldn’t have been right for her.
When she took this perspective of her ‘failure’, she soon became thankful that she had been rejected by them as they had kindly paved the way for her to meet the right person when the time was right!
6. Lighten up!
You do this by creating ways to enjoy the process on your journey towards your goal, despite the obstacles. Using the analogy of a challenging hike in the country, along the way you may well encounter numerous obstacles such as stiles, rivers and bogs (I have come across them all on my travels!) but you can still enjoy the journey anyway as there is always beautiful scenery to admire along the way.
Next ask yourself – will this matter one year from now? Most things in my life, however bad they might seem at the time, usually have a way of sorting themselves out and often turn out for the best in the end. So, asking this question really does help to get things into perspective!
So, to summarise the points above, my advice for you when you hit an obstacle and begin to feel dejected is to keep remembering why you are on the journey, feel excited about the outcome, accept failure as part of the process and do all you can to enjoy yourself during the journey. That way, whenever you encounter dejection in whatever form, you can more easily weather the storm and always come out smiling. And, if you keep going in the right direction, you will always get to where you want to be!
I would love to hear about your successes and the times when you have overcome rejection, dejection or disappointment. So, just fill in the comments section below!
To your happiness, confidence and success…