“Better to put your heart on the line, risk everything, and walk away with nothing than play it safe. Love is a lot of things, but “safe” isn’t one of them.”
~ Mandy Hale
We have all been there. Waiting for the phone call. Hoping he will call to say he's been thinking of you, or to follow up on a conversation or ask you out.
But the phone doesn't ring, or least it doesn't ring when you expect it to.
So you wait and wait, putting other things on hold (time with friends, work, self-care etc.) in hopes you'll connect and have a date for the weekend. You become more and more anxious and make up things in your head about the situation.
The problem with this is you are waiting, expecting, hoping and assuming.
Most of the time hoping is a good thing. When it has to do with your life, your work and your dreams. Even having hope that you will find the "right" partner and the "perfect" match is a good thing.
Hope keeps us feeling alive and helps us to keep going when we are down, and when nothing seems possible. Hope drives us to new heights.
But, hoping that others will be a certain way or will change is a disaster waiting to happen.
Let me explain what I mean.
People are who they are. They are going about their lives, just like you are, doing the best they can. Right or wrong a person is showing themselves at the capacity and level of emotional
maturity that is comfortable for them. You alone can't make someone push themselves outside their comfort zone.
A change in behavior requires a willingness to go outside one's comfort zone.
So what I am going to ask you to do is go outside YOUR comfort zone. Go outside your comfort zone when he doesn't call when he says he will.
Here are specific ways to do so and feel empowered in the process.
1. Tolerate discomfort
Recognize that when you feel uncomfortable you are growing. When you feel uncomfortable you are stretching yourself just a little bit more. When you feel uncomfortable you are allowing yourself to gain more than you will lose.
I'm speaking of the type of discomfort when the little voice in your head (your rational mind) says, "I need to do this and not do what I'd normally do." The type of discomfort that says, "I'll be better off if I don't do what I feel like doing and do something else instead."
The "Do Something Else Instead" is:
Tolerate discomfort. Take a pause and breathe. Breathe as many times as you need to. Count backwards from twenty. Call a friend. Walk away from the phone. Put your phone in another room or turn it on silent. Allow yourself to feel something other than the feeling of dread. Allow yourself to move towards peace instead.
2. Letting go of expectations
Whenever we have expectations we set ourselves up for disappointment. Expectations, especially when they are unrealistic, keep us hooked to our emotions and tied to events outside us. Happiness is then something that comes from the outside not inside us.
The next time he doesn't call think about whether you were expecting it - expecting a call, expecting a date, expecting a whatever for that matter. Instead, see it for what it is and accept it at face value.
Say to yourself, "The phone didn't ring, but I'm OK." (Of course you are OK. You are more than OK.)
3. Avoid assumptions
In Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), "cognitive distortions are simple ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn't true. These inaccurate thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions - telling ourselves things that sound rational and accurate, but really only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves." (John M. Grohol, Psy.D.)
One cognitive distortion is "jumping to conclusions." When you think something has happened without evidence that it has. An example of this is that if he hasn't called that he must be disinterested or out with someone else.
Next time you are faced with this situation, pay attention to whether you are jumping to conclusions or making an assumption about how the other person feels about you and whether he wants to spend time with you or not.
4. Putting your life on hold
When we are waiting for something to happen, whether it's a commitment, a relationship, a job offer or happiness, we are essentially putting our life on hold. We are waiting for something or someone to be the key to our own happiness.
Stop doing this. Stop waiting and start living. It's your life and it's in your hands.
5. Practice self-acceptance
Our need for approval often stems from childhood wounds or unmet childhood needs.
A phone call, text, a get-together can temporarily validate this need for approval.
You might be unconsciously saying things to yourself like, "I am worthy because he called." "I am worthy because he's showing interest."
Instead, begin to repeat this out loud. "I Am Worthy." "I Am Worthy." "I Am Worthy."
Next time the phone doesn't ring, remind yourself that hoping, expecting and assuming only keeps you in a negative cycle and reinforces your unhealthy thoughts and emotions. Instead, step back, accept what is and go outside your comfort zone. Make a choice to be happy. Don't waist your time. Enjoy those precious moments that you will not get back.