“I gotta go,” she says. Rolling her eyes at me.
At first when I spoke with her, she was friendly and welcoming. She was smiling and seemed happy. But then I said something that creeped her out. The interaction changed and she walked off.
No big deal. You take risks. Some women will be into it, others won’t.
Doesn’t bother me.
But it does.
As I walk off, I find myself thinking about it again. My mind is reviewing the interaction to figure out ‘what I did wrong.’
I trace it back to one of two things I could have done.
Then, a minute or two later, I think about it again.
And then in a few minutes again.
I’ve talked to thousands of women, why does this one bother me.
I speak with another woman. Flirt with her a little. Make her laugh. A great way to prevent yourself from feeling bad about an interaction.
But then again, a little later, I’m thinking about the bad interaction.
I don’t care about that interaction at all. I can talk with ten more women.
But for some reason, my mind cares about the interaction. It keeps returning to it, trying to process it, getting stuck in a loop.
It’s called rumination. Cows ruminate on grass when they eat it. They chew it over and over so that it will digest better when they swallow it.
And your brain ruminates too when it is trying to deal with something.
I want to stop ruminating. I don’t want to think about it anymore.
But lately I’ve learned to frame rumination a different way. Instead of trying to avoid it, or interpreting it as something that is harming me, I’ve started to look at it as positive thing.
When you have a really good workout at the gym, your muscles may be sore afterward. They may even be sore for a few days. This soreness is an indication that the muscle is repairing itself, building it up even stronger than it was before.
Without the soreness, you wouldn’t be making much progress.
Likewise, rumination is your mind dealing with a past interaction. You’ve done something slightly outside of what your mind can deal with, so your mind is processing it.
That’s not a bad thing. The important thing is dealing with it in the right way.
Besides framing it as a positive, the most important thing is to simply notice what you’re thinking and feeling.
You can ‘label’ it every time it happens. Every time you get that thought, you can think to yourself, “I just thought about that interaction again.”
You can notice and describe how you feel. “That gives me a negative feeling in the pit of my stomach, as if I did something wrong or bad.”
You can breathe deep and accept it. Tell yourself that it is okay to feel that way.
And, in almost the same way as meditation, you can BEGIN AGAIN. Tell yourself it is okay to feel that way and that it is part of the process.
What you don’t want to do is get angry at yourself or shame yourself for feeling that way.
If it is bad enough, you can talk to someone about it. Mention it to a friend and see if you can laugh about it.
When you learn to process negative interactions properly, they start to affect you less. You’ll find that you are able to take more initiative because you’re not afraid of the worse repercussion: negative feelings afterward.
If you are confident in your ability to process difficult emotions that come with a negative interaction, you’ll find yourself taking a lot more risks and initiatives.