I was dubious about sharing this experience with you all because it wasn’t a happy successful upbeat one. These encounters in our life however, are often the ones we learn the most from. Following the response I received on social media after a post I shared outlining a recent disappointment, I thought it might be helpful to provide more detail in a blog format. The more I thought about it, I became increasingly inspired to share this not only because of it hopefully being of help to those who may also be in similar situations but also out of concern for the youth of today. Adolescents are growing up in a world in which they are constantly exposed to what everyone is doing around them however, it’s only everyone’s highlight reel that they see. I am so grateful that I got to have my teenage years removed from this, offline not really caring what everyone else was doing. I am sure there are so many people young and old who feel overwhelmed by the constant comparison to strangers. So I wanted to share another one of my experiences which isn’t full of gloss and optimism but is full of hope. I wanted to write this while the pain is still raw because I think it will be of most benefit to others. I know that it will take a long time before I can fully let it go. ‘It is what it is’ and there is only one way forward; proceed, proceed, proceed.
I have always known that my path in this life was to be of service on the soul level. I was born empathetic. Despite this clarity, I often still felt fragmented unsure of what I was supposed to do with this. Social Work has always felt like the perfect fit but it is such a generic qualification that it is really is up to you to specialise in an area that you love in order to maintain such a demanding profession. Two years ago I was progressing in my career at a fast pace. I worked with a private company in which the perks were amazing and the salary was above that of what I would be earning elsewhere. While I loved the work, something didn’t feel right. The passion just wasn’t there. It didn’t make my heart sing in the way that I knew it should, if I was going to spend my career there. Despite the superficial positive lures it had, I felt that there was no use in climbing the rungs of this ladder, as it was not against the right wall.
Once I made this decision, a job opportunity arose in what I imagined as being my dream setting, a Maternity Hospital. Being obsessed with women and babies in general, I thought that this would be the perfect match so despite that it was a lower position, less well paid and was not permanent I went for it. I failed and was not successful. I was devastated in a way that I wasn’t expecting and it was as a result of this that it became clear how much I wanted the opportunity to work in this area. Two weeks later there was another advertisement for an additional temporary post. Again, I went for it and didn’t succeed. I was again upset but recovered quicker having built resilience from the last failed attempt. A number of months went by and I often still thought about the job. Low and behold a third job vacancy came up again a temporary post. With a lot of hesitation, I made the decision to try for the third time and with my head held ‘half high’ I proceeded. This time, I got it and it was worth all the attempts. I love working where I do and feel that I have finally found my niche area in social work. I have worked here for the last two years and have put my heart and soul into it. I am so lucky to be part of an amazing team of people and work with such lovely women, children and families. Finally, a permanent senior position recently came up here and in the area I am so passionate about. I love the work and it all just fitted so well. I put in a lot of preparation and the interview went well but someone with more experience was successful. I know things like this happen every day and I get that it isn’t a major event in the grand scheme of things but to me it felt like the end of the world. The type of work we do makes it all very emotional and it being taken away from me is heartbreaking to say the least and feels somewhat unfair.
I let myself wallow in the pain and disappointment for a few days. However, I very quickly decided enough was enough and realised it is just the universe sending me a big sign to take the diversion that has been forced upon me. I always have absolute faith ‘what is for you won’t pass you’ and this is no different. I have to trust that something else is waiting for me and instead of remaining in self-pity; I am choosing to see it as an opportunity for growth. I am telling myself that I am not lost but perhaps just early in the process. I know that it is in these times that transformation takes place. The unknown isn’t going to kill us, we can choose to embrace change or run from it.
I found the below beneficial in attempting to pull myself back together again and thought it might be helpful to share how to deal with major disappointments:
- Let yourself feel the pain.
I can’t stress how important this is. It is okay to be devastated if something you are very passionate about doesn’t work out. If anything, it shows how much it means to you. Let the tears out and take the time to wallow. This process is needed for recovery and your ability to let go. This will look different for everyone but for me it meant a lot of crying, cups of tea and snuggling myself in the support of my loved ones particularly that of my fur babies. When you have to dig deep to get through something it builds your character. It is through our struggles that we learn how to cope and ultimately bounce back stronger. Find the lesson and then choose to push forward.
- Surround yourself with supportive people.
Not everyone in your life is going to understand how you are feeling but make sure that you choose carefully who you allow into your space at the initial stages of feeling extremely vulnerable. The girls at work were amazing to the point that they cried with me because they really understood the disappointment I felt. Their kindness to me is something I will always appreciate.
- Talk to whoever is your biggest cheerleader.
We all need one of these in our life. Again different for everyone, but make sure it is someone who always has your back and believes in you no matter what. For me, it is my mother. She is always the person who makes me see that there is a reason to be positive and grateful in the most difficult of situations. She reminds me of my resilience and understands the bigger picture that is difficult to see if you are the person going through the experience. Ian is my other amazing supporter but in a very practical way. His words to me were ‘Sure you hadn’t a hope compared to her experience and no offense but with her years of knowledge she will probably do a better job’ yes he is so right and oh so logical but not exactly what I needed to hear. In fairness to him though he wiped my tears and had already started devising my plan B before I was ready to even think about it.
- Continue the daily practices that make you feel good.
Do the things that enhance and maintain your well-being even if it is hard while you are feeling miserable. For me that is practicing gratefulness, meditation and most of all yoga. I reached for my mat the moment I began to feel okay again. I believe that failure is carving the path to success and it is only through it that we learn and move forward to what our true nature and purpose is. Journaling how you feel can help to enable you to begin to take some positives out of the perceived failure.
- Trust in the process of life.
Last but not least trust in the process of life. There have been so many times I have looked back and realised ‘oh that is why that didn’t work I was supposed to do this’. Time will tell why this has happened and while that is of little benefit while you are feeling the disappointment you will look back and understand the bigger picture. Life will reveal your path but you have to trust in it even when it feels so unfair. In order to do this, I found it helpful to be mindful and present, it is important to remember that all we have is now. Learning to be happy in the present moment is so important. Continuously looking forward into the future and ruminating about the past serves us none other than reliving life’s hardships and worrying about things we have little control over. All of which takes the joy out of the present moment.
If all this fails, CHOCOLATE also helps.
I really believe that failure is an attitude not an outcome. Unfortunately, we have to learn to be flexible to give ourselves more choices. Every adversity carries with it the seeds of a greater benefit if you are willing to look hard enough. It is up to you whether you allow it to empower you or dis-empower you? You can choose to take a seemingly negative situation and frame it in a way that leaves you feeling empowered. Obstacles will appear and sometimes we have to step back to see the bigger picture. If an opportunity falls through it is because there is an even greater one on the way. Sometimes you just don’t know why things happen or what higher level is at work but if you can trust in the wisdom of life and your higher self you can become a stronger person by re-framing the situation to move forward in growth.
To those feeling rejected or let down by a recent disappointment, my message to you and to myself is, you are good enough and you will find your way. Trust the lessons and the new direction you are being catapulted into. Personally, I don’t know what that is right now but I do know that I have so much to be grateful for to get me through. While I am finding my way and my plan B my other passions such as this and yoga will keep me more than happy
Life is full of transformations and they are an integral part of our growth, each building off of the other creating our souls lineage. There is a bigger purpose guiding us that is teeming with possibilities. Believe in that and believe in yourself.
Sending you love and hugs,