A fundamental question that we all must answer for ourselves is this: Do I live in a universe that is safe or unsafe?
In other words, do you trust that the events in your life are for the best and that all of your needs will be met? Or are you afraid that they won’t?
I had a first date about a week ago with a woman I met online that put this question front and center for me.
We’d exchanged many fun, interesting, and playful emails prior to our date. And we’d had two great telephone conversations–both of which only ended because it got so late we had to get to sleep. So I was excited and optimistic to meet her in person.
And when we did, our date was a blast. We went for a beautiful hike, talked non-stop for about six hours, joked and laughed. But the next day she tells me she’s not interested.
Now you have to understand that on paper we were perfect for each other. Our interests, our values, our spiritual beliefs, our rapport–it was all a great fit. What went wrong?
What went wrong?
That question is at the heart of this discussion. If I did indeed trust that the events in my life are for the best, why would I even ask such a question?
So was this painful experience indeed for the best? Let’s explore what happened…
As soon as I learned she was not interested in dating me I became aware of two separate responses inside myself. One was actually more of a non-response than a response. I was acutely aware of an ABSENCE of pain over the possibility of never talking to her or seeing her again. At the same time, I was aware of intense pain associated with this thought: “It figures, another woman who doesn’t want to date me.”
I saw clearly that all of the pain of this rejection had to do with the story I was telling myself about my life (“Women don’t want to date me”) and NOT this woman.
This was an unexpected gift. It was the final nail in the coffin of a relationship that ended a little less than a year ago. What I saw so clearly was that most of the pain I’ve felt since that relationship ended was the same pain I was feeling now. Sure there is genuine pain that comes from breaking up with someone you love. But that heals relatively quickly. The lingering pain comes from the story about what the breakup means.
I now see that the key for me to creating a great relationship with a woman is releasing this victim story I’ve been telling myself for god knows how long.
Let’s see, which would I prefer? An understanding that will finally allow me to overcome a deep and stubborn belief that’s been an obstacle to me creating the kind of intimacy I desire in a relationship? Or a second date with a woman I barely know?
So to answer the question of what went wrong on my date…nothing. It’s an example of how things do happen for the best. Even when they go a different way than we initially want them to.
Do I believe that the universe is safe and trust that everything I experience is for the best? I’m not there yet, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been.
[Update: Right after I finished writing this essay, I went to yoga tonight. We each picked an angel card to focus on during class. Mine was Zanna, and this is what it said: “You are protected from all types of harm. The worst is now behind you. I ask you to relax and feel safe.”]