Today was a rough one for me. I didn’t get the promotion, I cried in the bathroom, blah blah blah whine whine.
We all have our moments of weakness, and we all know what disappointment feels like. And for the most part, when you’re ready for it, disappointment is bearable. And for me, personally, my whole life is centered around the possibility of disappointment, what with trying to “make it” in the film industry.
This disappointment was different. I wasn’t expecting it, and it hit me hard.
Disappointments come more often than you “deserve” them, and they come for a variety of reasons. Disappointment comes with developing high expectations, trusting people too willingly, and caring too much; how do we keep from doing these things?
We can’t, and we shouldn’t.
When you’re feeling disappointed, you should ask yourself four questions. The answers to these questions may not make the disappointment go away, but they should clarify your feelings a bit. And, if you’re like me, with clarity comes a feeling of strength and control.
(Cuz I’m done feeling like a little dumb weaky.)
1. Is this a “competition” thing?
I hadn’t really wanted the job before. I mean, it would have been nice, but it was nothing to write home about. Literally, if I had gotten the job and then been asked to write home about it, I would have had nothing to write but:
“Hi Mom. I got a promotion. Kind of. I don’t know. Love, me.”
But when I didn’t get it, I felt angry. When I tried to figure out where the source of the anger was coming from, it was stemming from who they had chosen instead of me. She’s a perfectly nice girl, but I could not see how she was more qualified than me for the position. And when she got the position, I felt like I had lost a competition.
I’m a competitive person. And while I’m okay with being that way, I’m not okay with allowing that side of me to ruin my day. Sure, I can use my competitiveness to help me win, but when I lose it becomes a petty trait. When it comes to a job that I didn’t really want, why shouldn’t she have it? Just because I am a competitive person, doesn’t mean I should feel threatened by the successes of others.
Even if it was a job that I did really want… there is no market that has completely dried up. Whether it be a job or a boy, there are always plenty of fish in the sea. Fish that can be conquered by the likes of me.
ANSWER: If your competitiveness is leading to your disappointment, stop it. You’re wasting time.
2. Does this hinder me from getting where I want to be in life?
While I said I’m always prepared for disappointments in my film career, this job promotion had nothing to do with my real passion in life. This job is for an SEO company, a path I am only taking for the temporary money it lends me to help pay off my student loans. (‘Merican dream.)
This is a story of two girls. One is called Past Me, and the other is called Present Me. Past Me got home from work today, curled up in her bed, and waited to die.
Present Me, who is in ghost format, floated over the bed, and slapped Past Me with a relatively-thick screenplay and screamed “WHY the HELL. WHY.”
(This really happened.)
Why was I spending so much energy feeling down about a job position that would have gotten me no closer to kissing Daniel Radcliffe on the mouth than I was before? My love for screenwriting is a love that can transcend all boundaries, and here I was moping about the fact that a bunch of SEO nerds don’t think I use Google well enough.
“Movies” is my love. “Movies” is what makes me happy. And this stupid disappointment has no effect on my ideal future whatsoever.
ANSWER: If this turn of events does not hinder you from getting where you want to be in life, stop worrying about it. It doesn’t matter one bit.
3. Is there anything I can do about it?
There are those times when a disappointment does have a direct effect on your ideal future. And while wallowing is a great initial response, at some point you have to ask yourself if there’s anything you can do to reverse the situation.
If the answer is “yes,” then you better start doing that thing.
If the answer is “no,” then that’s tough.
Diligence is something that usually pays off in time, so it’s great to take any action that might lead to a reversal of the situation (or at least adds a new branch in the web). But in times that you are helpless and you no longer have any influence, then you need to go with the flow.
I’ve been pestering and pestering the head of this department for weeks, reaffirming my interest and asking for updates. I didn’t get it. It’s done. I can choose to continue to feel bitter, or I can accept the new path.
For me, it’s easier to let fate take over once in a while. Maybe there’s a reason I’ll end up where I end up. Having dashed expectations can be exciting.
ANSWER: If there’s nothing you can do about it, start doing something else. That chapter is over, and you will be okay.
4. How would I rather be spending my precious time?
Instead of curling up in my bed, I could have spent that time rewriting and perfecting that screenplay I was being hit over the head with. Instead of keeping my thoughts around what I could have done wrong in that interview, I could have spent time thinking about the way I feel when others enjoy my writing.
Instead of crying, I could have been sitting in front of a heater.
(Heaters are my favorite things in the world.)
There is too little time in the world to not spend it enjoying yourself.
ANSWER: If you’d rather be somewhere else, go there. Find your heater.