Life is about how you react to what happens to you

Growing up, my mom used to tell me that quote and I’d roll my eyes.

Now, I realize how true it is.

Earlier this week, I was supposed to meet a blind date for coffee. This was a blind date I was excited about. His profile pictures looked great, his online messaging banter was witty and fun, and he used just the right amount of smile emojis without overdoing it.

Alas, when I sent him an online message confirming where to meet, I got no response.  I had just raced home from Walgreens after buying Instant Dry pink nail polish so I could wear my open toe wedge sandals. I turned my attention toward painting my toes, and tried not to worry about my date’s lack of response. An hour went by and still no answer.

My mind started to race. Had he met someone else (in the past 2 hours?), had I said the wrong thing?, did he decide he didn’t like me? I’ll never know the answer.

As a slew of thoughts raced through my mind, I decided to get out of the house and take my main man, Namo, for a walk in the park. I took off my wedges (at least my freshly painted toes looked good), slipped into flip flops, put a baseball cap over my straightened date-ready hair, and headed out the door. I was not going to let this ruin my mood for too long.

Truth is, twinges of loneliness started to creep in as I stood alone in the house staring at the phone, waiting for a response. I needed to get out and be among people. Any people.

In the past, I would have raced for the refrigerator and downed whatever high-carb, high-sugar numbing food I could get my hands on to numb the sharp feelings of rejection, sadness, and disappointment. Now, I have well-practiced coping tools but still…I was hurt and a bit miffed.

Namo and I took a slow stroll through the park  and after a few minutes, we plopped down in the grass and watched people walk by. I was acutely aware of every couple holding hands although I’d never noticed it before. Kind of like buying a red car, and then seeing red cars everywhere.

Thank goodness for Namo. He sat by my side and I gently stroked the top of his head as I thought about his unconditional love. I don’t know where I’d be without animals in my life.

I’m glad we went for a walk and I didn’t let the thoughts of rejection consume me. I figured I had it handled.

Later that night I made myself dinner and zoned out while watching Scandal. After dinner, I sat on the couch with a belvita Soft Baked breakfast bar in my hand, and realized it’s not what I was hungry for.

I was hungry for someone to cuddle with, someone to cook with, and someone to laugh with. The breakfast bar in my hand wasn’t going to give me any of that. After unwrapping it, I took a deep breath, and threw it away.

As a recovered bulimic, I haven’t binged in years and it caught me by surprise that those subtle tendencies were rearing their head again. Then I remembered what my mom said, “Life is about how you react to what happens to you.” She is so right.

I’ve learned we don’t have control over other people but we DO have control over our thoughts, which lead to our behaviors.

By consciously choosing how to react, my loserville feelings passed and I reconnected to the truth of who I am. A woman who is courageously putting herself out there to meet a kind, reliable, loving man who doesn’t care if my toenails are painted or not.

Life is unpredictable AND we can choose how to react when things don’t happen the way we want them to.

I’d love to hear from you…how do you react to situations when they don’t turn out as you’d hoped? Post in the comments below!

Choosing my reaction,

Devon

29 replies
  1. Heather Betlamini
    Heather Betlamini says:

    Thanks for sharing this story, I am not in the dating game, I am in a tough marriage, and this was a GREAT reminder that it IS ALL about how one reacts… Love your writing xo, one herdie to another

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Thanks for your comment, Heather. No matter what situation we encounter in life, how we react is the KEY. Much love to you, XO.

      Reply
  2. Ashley krumpelmann
    Ashley krumpelmann says:

    This was a great thing to read. I just broke things off with a guy I didn’t have feelings for. He was madly in love with me but I wasn’t with him. Breaking it off I was doing us both a favor; freeing us up for another person to love. Dating this day and age is hard. Patience is harder. Thanks for such good insight Devon! I’ll also keep my head up!

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Ashley, props to you for having the courage break things off that didn’t feel right. I love what you said, “freeing us up for another person to love”…best decision of the highest good 🙂 Thanks for your comment and for sharing your story. YOU are amazing, my friend.

      Reply
  3. Mary EHRGOOD
    Mary EHRGOOD says:

    I recently joined an in line dating … 2 men who looked good to me , seemed involved in life , positive and intelligent , wanted to meet me . When I told them I’d like that , I never heard from either one again! I did go out with someone – not a good fit … basically I feel so good about myself that I tried this out and decided it’s not high on my investment of to-dos. Abd that is freeing . At first I was confused and giving energy to men I didn’t even know . Why not give this to myself instead ? Part of what I want in dating is feeling good about how i present myself . So I started swimming because that makes me stronger and fit . And I’m paying attention to my inner and outer conversations … how I’m presenting / representing myself . Yep – I’d love to be in a relationship . For now I’m in an improving bigger relationship with myself . If anyone is fortunate enough to be part of my life , they have to follow through and show up . I get to decide this and they do not define me by their choices . So I think it’s all good , and with enough challenge to be lively . Thanks Devon .

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Mary, thanks for your sharing your experience and I love what you said “I’m paying attention to my inner and outer conversations”…YES. I love how you are consciously working on improving the bigger relationship with yourself and that is ultimately what has to come first…the most important relationship there is…the one we have with ourselves. I applaud you!

      Reply
  4. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Great post, Devon. I often admire your courage, sharing your very personal feelings in order to help others. So many people can relate! As far as flake boy goes….next! 🌺

    Reply
  5. JoAnn DuVall
    JoAnn DuVall says:

    I was glad that you recognized things were rearing its head again in your life and knew how to cope better. Hurt and lonely feelings aside, I’m quoting Oprah….”When people show you who they are…Believe them”. Sure it would have been nice if something unexpectedly came up and he let you know. I think Your time and energy are best used around people that value your gifts and energy.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Hi JoAnn, thanks for your comment and I love that Oprah quote. I have heard that before and it is fitting. I’m trusting divine timing in meeting my match and and I’m acutely aware these days about where I’m putting my time and energy…well said! Hugs, miss you 🙂

      Reply
  6. Diann Knowles
    Diann Knowles says:

    What a beautiful open heart you have Devon! When I was single I remember guy’s asking me for my phone number and never calling. It play’s havoc with your mind and brings a voice you don’t want to hear, self worth! I decided to say you aren’t welcome here!! I’d like to hear what you are looking for? Clarity with this will open doors. Let’s have lunch I would love to talk with you more.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Hey Diann, it can play havoc with our minds, doesn’t it?! Amazing how we (I) can go from confident to questioning myself in .2 seconds when a guy doesn’t call. Thankfully, I get my head on straight fairly quickly and the low point doesn’t last. Sounds like you know exactly what I’m talking about. I agree that clarity opens doors! I would love to have lunch with you and I’ll send you a msg to coordinate details. XO

      Reply
  7. Catherine Lennox
    Catherine Lennox says:

    What I have learned is, this is God’s way of protecting and saying not this one!
    Someone better is on his way!
    When I look in rear view mirror and see the break ups or guys not calling etc… I remember being upset & taking it personally. But now I see we ladies are being protected.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Catherine, I love your perspective that someone better is on the way. I definitely believe in divine timing and that God and the universe has our back. Thanks for sharing your experience and insight!

      Reply
  8. Mary C
    Mary C says:

    My heart aches for u Devon!! You are such ” a catch” but statistics show there are more ” emotionally available”women than men right now. Take a break …. dating is so stressful.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Hi Mary, I appreciate what you said and I’ve actually been on a dating break from quite some time prior. One of my motives to move to Denver was to meet more people and go on some dates. It can be stressful but I refuse to let a tough experience keep me out of the game. I’m ready to get back out there!

      Reply
  9. Lyn
    Lyn says:

    Never be needy, have an attitude and exude confidence, appreciate your own company and enjoy a gin and tonic at the end of the day.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Hi Lynette, thanks for your comment. I do appreciate my own company and I love what you said about a gin and tonic at the end of the day 🙂 I have done that many nights and I’m ready to have someone to enjoy it with!

      Reply
  10. Melinda anderson
    Melinda anderson says:

    I’m sorry that you have to have experiences like that Devon. You deserve better. I don’t believe anything like that is personal (“The Four Agreements”), although I know and understand how it feels personal. Most of us have been there. I’m happy you are so much stronger now to find healthy ways of dealing with that type of thing. You are beautiful, deserving and worthy. I use nature and meditation to deal with unwanted and uncomfortable situations. Eating and shopping are still in there but certainly not to a huge extent. Lots of love to you to bring in the perfect companion for you.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Melinda, thank you for your beautiful comment and I was thinking about “The Four Agreements” a lot throughout the past few days and not taking anything personally. Funny you should bring that up 🙂 It’s a great reminder, and I love that you use nature and meditation to deal with uncomfortable situations. I admire your self-awareness about your own journey, and where you are today. Much appreciation for the positive vibes and I’m trusting the process on this one! XO

      Reply
  11. Lorraine
    Lorraine says:

    Enjoyed your reminder to be aware of bad patterns of stinking thinking creeping back. I read a quote that reminded me that the grass is always greener…where you water it. Practice patience. Looking forward to one of your classes one day. Hopefully soon.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Hi Lorraine, thanks for your message and I love that term “stinking thinking”…it’s amazing where our thoughts can go when they’re running amok! I would love to see you at an event in the future and I hope you’ll join us soon.

      Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Thanks, Stacie…choosing how to react is definitely a practice. Especially with dating and relationships! Much love, XO

      Reply
  12. Robin Hayes
    Robin Hayes says:

    Devon, I love your honesty, transparency, and wonderful insight. I think so many of us can relate. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  13. Jerri George
    Jerri George says:

    Hi Devon! Well, I’m certainly behind the eight ball. I thought you were in a relationship with “The Marlboro Man” LOL. i guess I need to stay in touch better.
    I have recently been all about positive thinking and awareness and have learned it really is about THEM! The other person’s issues, habits and problems with dealing on many levels. I think we need to hold on to who we are and don’t let go of our core feelings.
    Thanks for sharing that others struggle too! Lift ourselves up, dust ourselves us off and start all over again!!!

    Jerri
    PS: I never received a confirm email 🙁

    Reply
  14. Vonie
    Vonie says:

    A month ago tomorrow I started a new career that is kicking my ass. Working 10-13 hour days with 45 min drives each way to work. Tonight I stopped and got dinner on the way home. Cried almost all the way home from there and then stopped for a margarita. Didn’t need that drink. My reaction I’m tired and tonight I want to quit. This job has taken me away from my true passion…life coaching struggling to coach myself and thankful for your post.
    Hugs to you.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Vonie, thank you for sharing…the world needs more people to be open about their struggles, and you, my friend, are courageous. I love that you are clear on your true passion of life coaching and serving others. Don’t give up and somedays it’s about putting one boot in front of the other. XOXO

      Reply

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