Remember yesterday when I mentioned that I had applied to be a LUNAChix team leader? Well, I didn’t get accepted 😦 Instead, I got one of those letters that everyone dreads: “Thank you for your interest. We had so many qualified applicants…” I think that no matter how many times you face rejection, it never gets easier. It’s really important, though, to make sure that you don’t get used to it and start expecting it. I’ll be the first to admit that this is something I struggle with quite a bit, and when I got that email this evening my heart broke a little bit. It seems like lately I’ve faced a lot of rejection, and at times I’ve found myself remembering a piece of advice Homer Simpson once gave to Bart: “Never try.” Of course, that’s not really the attitude I want to have. So tonight, as I hit my yoga mat for a sweaty practice with Dave Farmar, I started to think about healthier ways to deal with rejection and negative experiences. Here is what I came up with:
- Avoid comparing yourself to other people. I don’t know who else applied to lead a LUNAChix team, and even if I did, it wouldn’t matter. There’s no point in me measuring myself against the person who was chosen, or the other people who applied. Everyone has their own talents and skills to offer and just because I wasn’t chosen doesn’t mean that I have less to offer than someone else. After I read this email I poked around on the internet and did some blog reading and got caught up comparing myself to other bloggers: “She eats better than I do”, “She’s more muscular than I am”, “I’ll never look like that”, etc. The only barometer I should be using to measure where I am right now is myself. I’m healthier than I was at this time last year; my yoga practice is going well; I was proud of the application I submitted to LUNAChix. Those are the things that are important.
- “Open your heart, let yourself be vulnerable”. I took this quote from my yoga practice tonight because I thought it was so appropriate. I believe that when you’re experiencing negative emotions, it’s important not to try to deny them or cover them up. Open your heart to what you’re feeling and honor it. I feel crummy about not being chosen as a team leader. I’m sad about it, and it makes me feel doubtful of myself. It plays on insecurities I have about myself, and it came at a time when I wasn’t feeling that great already. It’s important that I realize that and that I let those things be what they are. I don’t want to brush it off and say, “Well, it’s no big deal”, because that undermines what I’m feeling and the reality of the fact that I feel bad about it. Someone else might be able to brush it off. There’s nothing wrong with me just because I feel sad about it.
- Don’t dwell on it. While it’s important to acknowledge and honor what you’re feeling, it’s also important to make sure you don’t let it take over everything. Feeling bad about something doesn’t mean you should then turn around and apply the same attitude to EVERYTHING. Don’t paint everything in the same color. Bad things can happen in a day, but that doesn’t mean that good things can’t happen too. Life is complicated enough that things can change from minute to minute, and if you are dwelling on what just happened, you may miss out on something else that comes along.
- Find something that makes you feel good, and do it. Again, this doesn’t mean you should find some way to drown out or ignore the sadness or pain you are feeling. Instead, this is related to the point directly above. For me, that something is yoga. I knew I was going to do yoga tonight regardless of the news I got, but after reading that email, I knew that my practice would be more important than usual because it would be time that I could put aside for myself and really appreciate something that feels good physically and mentally. It was sort of a way of actively reminding myself that things aren’t all bad.
As I’ve battled depression and my eating disorder over the past year, I’ve learned a really important lesson: there can be good days and bad days, and it’s natural (and unavoidable) to have both. But having one bad day does not mean that life is terrible and that you’re depressed again and always will be. So I’ll let myself feel sad about this, but it won’t take over my life. Other opportunities will come along; I’ll reach other goals; I’ll take on other projects. Life will go on.