Failing to find someone to be your life’s partner is as awful as its reputation: Damned discouraging. So is not getting the career you prepared for. College application rejections hurt like hell. So does not being invited to social events you had hoped to attend. Life is one long beauty contest, and not being crowned the winner is deeply disappointing. You can deal with it so well that people look up to you for inspiration when they have wounds to heal. That, and having dealt with your disappointment, can leave you feeling much happier than otherwise.
Look at the bigger picture. You so wanted that man or woman to be your One and Only. But they disagreed. There’s no sense in harassing the person to marry or to live with you. That only makes you into a stalker. It also justifies the other person’s sense of hesitation at living with you for a lifetime. Spend time reminiscing about the good vibes between you, and focus on why you’re going your separate ways. Look for the benefits to the breakup. If you don’t know of any, invent some. Yes, you can seriously use your imagination to come up with valid reasons about why losing that lifetime match is a better development than living with someone who doesn’t feel committed to the relationship. Go on, become your better self!
Lost a job, a home, or something else that’s expensive? Spend time mourning the reality. You need to face your sadness for what it is: Realistic. The inconvenience is no small matter, either. Expensive losses affect the directions of our lives. Once you’ve grieved enough, your mind will move on to other ideas, recognize other opportunities, and even relax over time.
Is someone asking things of you that you’d rather not do? Are you feeling pressured, manipulated, blackmailed, or uncertain about taking the undesirable action? Step back to reassess things, including the value of complying with the person, seeking a compromise, or stepping away from the situation.
Look at your past. Remember the times when you dealt with upsetting events in ways that left you proud of yourself. Write things down so you can get a better sense of all that. Be sure to include the following ideas:
- What didn’t you do that led you to a sense of self-control and self-respect?
- Which strategies proved helpful to you or to someone else?
- How did you behave, speak, and think in productive ways?
- Who is a role model for you to emulate?
Now you’re ready for the next step. Write down the answers to these questions:
- What still needs to be done for you to feel that you’ve done an admirable job of coping with a specific disappointment or setback?
- When do you need to accomplish specific goals to compensate for a loss? Mark projected progress dates and To-Do lists in your calendar or day-planner and review the information daily. Keep up with yourself!
The next time that you feel pained or sad that someone left you out of the picture, said something awful, or did something harmful, review the above ideas and write, write, write. The action of putting our thoughts to paper (this technique doesn’t work as well with digital media such as E-mail and it backfires with blogposts full of personal information that don’t belong in a public forum) helps our minds to concretize ideas. We are left with a sense of finality, a sense of resolution, and the sense of a nicer future than we’d originally imagined.