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“If I really want to spend time with a girl, I’d shovel sh*t just to see her,” my friend once said to me.
It was one of the most profound insights I ever received from a male friend on how men think.
Truth be told, the same holds true for women. Maybe we wouldn’t actually shovel sh*t because that doesn’t sound like an ideal way to spend an evening, but let’s admit we’ve all been known to say yes to doing something we had zero interest in, just for the opportunity to spend time with somebody we like.
My friend’s words came back to me this morning while reading through a series of texts from a client. A man she deeply cared about had once again expressed a desire to see her, only to go radio silent. This was at least the third or fourth time it had happened.
My heart went out to her. I know how hurt and disappointed she was.
Whether it be someone we’re romantically interested in or a friend who keeps rebuking our invitations to get together, it can leave us feeling angry, confused, hurt, and plain old rejected.
But let’s the flip the script on this one, shall we? We can choose to look at the situation differently. Maybe we’re simply being given a clear message from the universe…
This is not for you. Turn around.
Think of these rejections as signposts. When something isn’t flowing naturally, when we find ourselves chasing something that remains out of reach, when a person is giving us mixed signals and not following through, guess what?
It is not for you. Stop chasing. Stop pining. Stop crying. Stop asking what’s wrong with you. Stop asking what’s wrong with them.
Stop. Just. Stop.
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~ Dalai Lama
I’ve had my own share of chasing things that never materialized. Going after jobs that weren’t right for me (“oh, but why don’t they want me?” I’d cry!). Chasing someone’s approval whose validation meant nothing. Fantasizing about having a relationship with someone only to find out after we became friends that I would have been absolutely miserable in a romantic relationship with that person.
Like the Dalai Lama said, a wonderful stroke of luck, but in the moment, these things can feel downright crappy.
What do clear signposts look like? How do you know when it’s time to let something go and walk away?
There are three ways you can know for sure:
1. You are trying too hard and compromising too much. You’re putting in too much effort for little return. You’re compromising your own needs in an effort to have something you desperately want. When it seems like you’re the only one doing the chasing, please do yourself a favor and just stop. Doing this is disempowering, and you deserve better.
2. There’s inconsistency and lack of follow-through. People can be charming and mean well. But making promises and commitments with no follow-through tells you everything you need to know. Whether it’s a recruiter who keeps promising you an interview, a business partner who talks out of both sides of their mouth, or a friend who makes plans and then repeatedly ghosts you last minute, they are taking advantage of your kindness and understanding. The best thing you can do for yourself and your self-respect is to walk away and stop going back! We teach people how to treat us, and this is not how we deserve to be treated.
3. You’re unhappy all of the time. We continue to chase things because we think once we have them, we’ll be happy. The truth is, we’re unhappy because the person or situation makes us unhappy. Whether it be a relationship, a friendship, a job, or just a dream we’re chasing, feeling sh*tty is a glaring signpost it’s time to let it go.
Walking away looks like this: forgiving yourself for not doing it sooner and releasing your attachment to things being different. Both are hard, I know. At the end of any given day, we’re all doing our best. It will initially feel uncomfortable and scary to let it go, but give it time. Give it space. Breathe through it.
Remember, sometime in the not-so-distant future, you will see this as a wonderful stroke of luck!