“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
US diplomat & reformer (1884 – 1962)
In my situation I know I feel things very deeply, I tend to let my feelings dive right in while trying to hold back my actions so I don’t overwhelm others. With “my Dan” I was all in, I knew the best relationships I had in the past only happened because I loved like I’d never be hurt so that’s what I did. At first “my Dan” loved me back so intensely it overwhelmed me and I knew this was a relationship where I could really get hurt if he pulled back or had a change of heart.
I really got hurt. I let myself get hurt but I don’t want to live, or love, in any other way.
I could have protected my confidence by only loving in a safe manner, but that would have cheated us out of the amazing parts of the relationship. I probably would have discovered our problems sooner and cried less, but I learned some great things about me in this process that I needed to know.
I really got hurt but it was worth it. I loved him fully and if he knows that or not that is who I want to show up as the next time I fall in love.
My heart feels like it will never mend but there are steps I can take to restore my confidence.
- Let go of strict expectations, judgmental thinking, and self-doubt.
Whatever the change is that has you down and discouraged take a look at the expectations you had. Were they realistic? Are you judging yourself for any role you played? Do you doubt your ability to create a more favorable outcome next time?
Acknowledge that at any given time you bring the best you have to the situation. Unfortunately sometimes we do not bring our highest self, but if you know you brought the best you could deliver at that time then accept you brought your best.
If there are things you want to do better next time make the commitment to yourself to make those improvements. Do not just hope to be better, commit to making yourself better. Take a communication class. Work with a therapist. Practice the skill that needs improvement. Create a better habit. Or blog it out, like I am now.
As you improve your selected area you will improve your confidence and may not need to protect yourself going forward.
- Prepare for the next time.
This may seem like an odd way to build confidence if the situation that stole your smile was a complete surprise or fluke.
For my situation I know one of our issues was time with each other and my stress over all the things I needed to do, but now needed to do in much less “me” time. I discovered I am much more productive and effective if I keep lists, focus on my priorities, plan ahead, and openly communicate.
I discovered I need to have better practices in these areas so when my next relationship arrives I have space for the new “us”.
Whatever the area of life you are experiencing your change, you can prepare for next time by building resilience. This whole series is about building resilience.
- Take Bite Sized Actions towards a Better Future.
What is the event that wiped that smile from your face? There are probably small and simple actions you can take today that will move you towards a brighter future. What are they?
In the situation I am facing some of my simple actions are simply getting out of the house and taking a walk, smile and say “Hi” to people, go out with friends, meet someone for coffee or happy hour, put myself back up on the on-line dating site and meet a single guy once or twice a month. I am taking things slow, but I am taking inspired actions that are moving me towards a better future.
To get started with this start a list today. Each time an idea of what you could do comes to mind, do not evaluate or judge the idea, just add it to your list. Every couple of days select an item from the list and take the action, turn it into a new daily activity or habit, use these bite sized actions to create your brighter future.
Most of this blog series was pre-written. I needed to get started on this series for my own benefit right after the second break up of “My Dan” and me or get a therapist to help me move forward. Each post of this series was an inspired action to take or thought I needed to explore. This series has accelerated the replacement of my smile. My desire is that you too will find the nuggets in this series that help you get back up on your feet and smile again. Not just the pasted on your lips smile, but the heartfelt smile that shines through your eyes.
What is one bite sized action you can do today or this week that will move you towards your desired outcome and restore your confidence?