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Savoring your Singleness: Being Exactly where you Are

Rather than looking at dating at a necessary chore toward a final destination, learn to savor exactly where you are in your unique story.

So you’re shifting from thinking about dating as stressful to thinking about dating as soulFULL. You put into practice these tips and these too.

Now, how can you savor wherever you are in the journey and handle rejection along the way as you date?

Over the years of working with single people from their 20s to their 40s, I have come to see that there is a dichotomy in how we view singles.

Either singleness is idealized as this freedom filled, responsibility-free, amazingly sexual, fantasy or its seen as a sad, lonely, incomplete state. Neither of these polar opposites are complete pictures.

The stereotypes and expectations shift according to age (we can think of the decades).

20severyone should be single. WHY are you attached again? You should be going to parties and hooking up with strangers.

30syou should be getting ready to settle down. Also, not being attached means having a solid explanation for every wedding, big birthday, or other major event.

40sall sorts of assumptions and judgments about being single at this age including the “baggage” that people carry.

These are cultural stereotypes. And they shift according to where you live, your race and ethnicity, your religion, and more. As an 25-year East Indian woman once said to me, “In Indian culture, I am basically 40.”

I am all about recognizing the social influences so we can separate the external influences and the internal wishes, wants, and realities. No one is fully fulfilled just living out a cultural norm. It has to be internally resonant. I have met many 20-somethings who hate the hookup culture and seek deep monogamous connections and many 40-somethings who are finally using the time in between relationships to cultivate a deep connection with themselves. Listen for the beating of your own psychological heart.

You are a person with your own unique story. Watch for the ways in which these popular narratives weasel their way into the inner crevices of your heart and mind and rot the foundation.

BE WHERE YOU ARE. It is no less and no more difficult than where you want to be next. Every single age and stage comes with its own set of unique benefits and unique challenges.

Singleness can be hard.

So can dating.

So can marriage.

So can having kids.

So can divorce.

Singleness can also be wonderful.

So can dating.

So can marriage.

So can having kids.

So can divorce.

Once this paradigm shift happens in your brain, there is more peace and less urgency to be anywhere but where you are. Rejection can be softer too. It means that this person, this way, this time ... isn’t right … but it doesn’t mean that you are any less capable of the wonderfulness of this season. Seeing "rejection" as an issue of fit is more accurate than seeing it as an issue of value or adequacy.

Some people avoid rejection at all costs. This may seem kind but it often ends worse. They don't honestly let people know that they don't feel a connection, leading others along. They move forward in relationships, happy not to be rejected, even when they don't really like the person they aren't being rejected by.

Avoiding rejection - and the feelings of sadness, disappointment, insecurity - is about avoiding pain. But just because you don't feel pain does NOT equate with feeling happy, excited, connected, and more.

Rejection is a unique challenge of dating but when you experience it, it can sit right alongside all the fun memories, exciting new conversations, and butterflies. You can move forward with the intention to feel the goodies, even if it hurts ... sometimes.

Rejection comes with the territory of dating like sweating comes with the territory of a fast-paced spin class. So strap in those shoes. Crank up the resistance and belt out the tunes when your thighs start to burn.

And when you’re sore from the class (aka, experiencing feelings of rejection), remind yourself how courageous you’re being, how wholeheartedly you’re in this, and how much stronger you are getting as you develop the emotional muscle memory to wade through the “not quite fits” and “definite misfits” on your way to “this fits great.”

A client who used to go into a deep depression every time he was rejected once came to session giddy. “Pauline, I got rejected this weekend and you know what? I was fine. I felt grateful that she was honest with me and soothed myself by focusing on how I took the risk in the first place rather than how it turned out because that ability to take the risk in the first place is something I have been working on for a long time.”

Yes, yes, yes. My work there was done and hopefully, this dating blog series has given you something to work on and work in and work towards.

Hopefully it has given you something to think about … differently.

Happy to support you as open your heart and take a step into the unknown. Good things happen there, I promise!

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