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February 13, 2020

The Rejection Factor: Friend or Foe?

“Love brings you face to face with your self. It’s impossible to love another if you cannot love yourself.”  John Pierrakos

At the start of 2020, I decided to get back into the dating scene after a prolonged hiatus. Dating has always been a confusing process for me. I hadn’t been allowed to do so while in adolescence, and during my college years, dating was more akin to escapades like those of Samantha in Sex in the City than it was about learning how to develop deep and meaningful relationships.

Small wonder then that I exited the dating scene early – a mere 23 years old when I decided to marry. After all, isn’t that what dating’s all about, marriage?  Two marriages-two divorces later and a mid-life lens, I am finally able to see dating beyond its external expectations. I can explore the experiences now as a journey within…

A pattern that I’ve observed is the inherent difficulty in explaining our desires to leave a relationship… to describe our feelings about the decision to pursue a relationship with someone else or our inability to feel a certain chemistry… whatever the reason, it’s an awkward and uncomfortable communication for both involved. Most of us feel ill-equipped to speak our truths in a kind and compassionate way, fearful about how such information will be received. Our culture has not done a good enough job in helping us to communicate relational endings.

Likewise, the unpredictability as to how the receiver will respond to such news is reflective of our inability to accept the temporary nature of all things, including relationships. We frequently feel unprepared for endings, and as such feel emotionally ambushed or betrayed – triggering our flight, fight or freeze responses instead of acceptance.

But what would happen if we viewed such endings as opportunities to learn about ourselves? To see it as a “pause” so to speak in this grand adventure we call dating.

Might we be a bit more understanding and nurturing towards ourselves then, rather than allowing the harsh inner critic to berate our fragile hearts for alleged poor decision-making or bad judgement? Wouldn’t we be able to give ourselves the same assurances that we would to a friend experiencing the same thing?

Rejection on the surface doesn’t feel good, but it is a loving heart that enables us to explore our range of responses with compassion. Through self-love, we can transform all experiences as windows to understanding the heart and grow from them.

Through such a lens, we can see that all life experiences – the good, the bad, the silly and the painful – are just that: life. We share a greater appreciation for whatever comes our way because we have come to understand that all such experiences – including rejection – affirm that we are alive and we are blessed to have lived it.


#love  #self-compassion  #loving kindness  #self-love  #rejection  #self-acceptance  #loveyourselffirst  #livelife  #dating  #ghosting  #midlifedating


– for more essays, see my blog “Stay Open and Listen” at

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