Missing out on a big opportunity sucks. Sucks like having your heart ripped out through your throat and stomped on with a steel-toed boot. Pardon my graphicness, but that’s the truth isn’t it? It hurts. Losing an opportunity you wanted badly really, physically hurts.
And there is very little you, or even the people around you, can do to soothe the pain of being passed over for something you invested time and effort in going out for.
And because there is not much you can do, you start to drive yourself mad with questions like, “Why wasn’t I good enough?” “What could I have done differently?” and my personal crazy-inducing favorite, “Who did they choose instead of me?”
Ya, that last one will haunt you for days if you let it.
So how do you not let it? You can give yourself time to mourn the loss, because that is what it truly is, a loss. You can grieve. Go ahead. Next time you lose out on an opportunity, whether it is professional or personal, I give you full permission to grieve, but only for a day. You get one day.
For one day you can cry, whine, complain, whine, wallow, and wine (yes, I meant wine). But then you are done, okay? You have to stop. You have to move on. You have to let it go. Because if you don’t it’s gonna seep into other parts of your life.
And if you aren’t careful you could become bitter and jaded before your time (unless you are already bitter and jaded, in which case if that works for you just keep doing you).
When you are a grown-up, especially a young adult, you are going to deal with this more often. And it is probably going to sting more if you are someone who is used to getting what you want from years of being a great student, intern and all around overachiever.
That’s why the loss I suffered today stung pretty bad. I don’t like to lose, but really that’s more because I don’t know how to lose. It didn’t happen a lot. And maybe if it had I would be in a better place right now.
But as it stands I’m feeling pretty crappy right now. And I don’t really want to follow the advice I’ve given you, but I will. I will give myself today to grieve. And tomorrow I will move on. Because I don’t want it to affect my job, my relationships and all the other good things I have in my life.
But I’m not gonna give you that spiel about the door and the window. Because really, who looks at a closed door and an open window and goes, “Oh thank God that window is open now. I was worried when the door closed, but now that I can climb out a window I feel all better.” Sorry God, but it’s the truth.1