Love After 50: Can Rejection Be a Blessing in Disguise?
Rejection at this ripe time in our lives can really stink. There’s no way around it. As we learn to move on after divorce, even the strongest of us can’t help but feel like we did something wrong when the person we loved and cared about, and spent our lives with as a partner, suddenly doesn’t want to be with us anymore.
“Why don’t they love me anymore?”
“What did I do wrong?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“What could I have done differently?”
It breaks my heart when so many strong, beautiful, amazing readers over the age of 50 struggle with overcoming rejection.
These thoughts – the “shoulda coulda woulda” thoughts that hijack our brains and healing – have a nasty way of creeping up on us as we try to regain our confidence and self-esteem.
Many times we think that we are to blame for the fact that our decades-long marriage ended. That self-blame usually leads us to feel rejected, like we are not worthy of love as we start this new chapter in our lives.
It’s time we start looking at rejection in a different way – one that will empower us. We have to stop looking at it as a stupid feeling that continues to hold us down, makes us question ourselves and robs us of our self-worth.
So, the next time you are feeling upset because of a recent rejection over the age of 50 – whether it is due to the end of your long marriage, or because the person you were dating and liked decided not to return your calls, or if you do not get hired for the job you were hoping for, remember the following.
Here’s why, when it comes to love after 50, rejection may be a blessing in disguise.
Rejection Is Like a Trippy Fun-House Mirror
Rejection is not a reflection of you or your self-worth. It’s a distorted view you might get when looking at a fun-house mirror.
You know the kind of mirror I’m talking about – whenever you go to a carnival or visit a beach boardwalk – you may pass a long mirror that you may stop in front of.
What do you see there? Do you see your smiling reflection looking back? The one that reflects the wise and strong person you are?
Nope – you see a warped vision of yourself, with a stretched-out head or shortened legs, and you look silly. It’s not you. And it’s not a reflection of you. You know this, so you probably just laugh and continue enjoying yourself.
Rejection is the same thing. The fact that somebody doesn’t want to be with you anymore has nothing to do with you – it has everything to do with the craziness the rejecter is projecting on to you.
Their rejection is that stupid fun-house mirror. And your reaction to that rejection – the one where you wonder what you did wrong, or why they don’t love you anymore – is nothing more than the stretched head and widened body you see in the silly mirror.
It’s not you. It’s not your reflection. So instead of just standing in front of the mirror, worrying how it makes you look, go ahead and step away from it, because it has nothing to do with you.
Instead of staying in the prison of rejection, thinking that it defines who you are, you move away from it, focus on what makes you feel good, what you are proud of in this life and everything that you have accomplished.
Once you focus on yourself, there’s something very important you need to understand. It’s a secret about rejection that many don’t know about and only few know how to integrate.
Rejection Is a Gift Because You Are Dodging a Bullet
When I think back to all the times I was rejected, I remember that at the time it happened I thought my world was ending. But now I realize these things were a HUGE blessing in disguise.
A few months ago, I was laid off from a job because the corporate big-wigs said I wasn’t needed anymore. Looking back at it now, I knew that this rejection would serve me well because it meant I was leaving a company that no longer valued me.
This was my chance to pursue work that was more professionally and spiritually satisfying. If that rejection hadn’t happened, who knows? I’d probably still be there, unhappy and unfulfilled.
Years ago, I was dumped by somebody I was dating, and I remember feeling like my world had ended. But that rejection turned out to be a blessing in disguise because being out of that relationship helped me realize how unhealthy and controlling it had been. It was not beneficial for me to spend time with someone who did not deserve my love.
The rejections that you are dealing with in your life, although varied, are the same at their core. There’s the rejection of your partner not wanting to be in a relationship anymore. There’s that person not returning your calls. And there’s that boss who doesn’t appreciate you and is letting you go.
All of these come down to the universe saying, “Hey! You deserve better than this BS! Consider this your wake-up call to go and work on yourself, find out what makes you happy, and establish your independence!
And when you’re learning to get your life back and reclaim it for yourself at 50, what better gift is there?
Have there been times in your life when you felt rejected? What healthy ways did you find to deal with rejection? Do you think that love after 50 is different than at other ages? Please join the discussion below!
Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce coach, whose website “Surviving Your Split” helps readers navigate their divorce with less stress and drama, so they can move on with their lives. For your Free Divorce Warrior Survival Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split or drop Martha a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her on Facebook.