I am one of life’s optimists, but not of the sickeningly happy-go-lucky variety. I have a good balance of being realistic but also hopeful of the best outcome. It’s this attitude that’s helped me to cope when life isn’t going well.
Take a life-changing event. Your emotions will run wild and you’ll cope with it how you need to in that moment, but you can’t change the outcome. It’s happened and it’s out of your control.
My life-changing event happened a few weeks ago.
I’d felt it was coming but didn’t expect it to happen when it did.
I lost my job.
After getting hustled out of the office, I walked around town in a daze. I was upset and angry and it wouldn’t have taken much to make me cry.
My instinct was to find somewhere quiet and call my mum. I decided that bawling my eyes out in public probably wasn’t the best idea, so I went home where I felt safe. By the end of lunch I’d told my finance, my closest friends, and my parents.
You can’t plan for everything but when you’re hit with bad news or a sudden change, you need chance to take everything in.
But you can and you will bounce back.
The first few hours
I was lucky as I used public transport to commute. Had I driven, I would’ve needed some time to compose myself.
You may feel too emotional to drive. Take a few minutes and breathe calmly. Your mind might rush to months or years ahead, but take a moment. Focus on your breathing, nothing else. Those thoughts can wait whilst you compose yourself.
If you’re able to, go somewhere you feel safe and/or comfortable. It could be the toilets, your car, or your house. Don’t drive until you’ve relaxed. The last thing you need on top of how you’re feeling is a car accident.
Take care of number one
Once I’d gone home and told the people who mattered, I sat down in a numb state.
I needed to do something.
Something for me.
I’m a keen knitter and that’s always helped me to calm down, so I indulged in some long over due hobby time and a comfort film (Zombieland).
Do something that makes you feel good about yourself.
It could be reading a book or watching something trashy on TV. If you need some care from a loved one, don’t be afraid to seek them out. If you need to be alone, go be alone.
Sticking to your normal routine is crucial at this stage. It will help you bounce back physically from rejection. Go to bed at a normal time and avoid the temptation to stay up late. Keep eating well and going to the gym: if your body doesn’t feel good, your mind won’t either.
Take online advice with a pinch of salt
You may find yourself tempted to ask the internet for advice straight away, but I’d advise against this.
Your mind is in a jumbled and upset place. Take your time. Don’t overload your brain with too much advice.
One article that did strike a chord with me said that you should do nothing for a bit after losing your job. You should take some time off and relax. Don’t stress out about your income or fire off hundreds of CVs.
I agree with that, but then the article started going on about the virtues of taking weeks, even months off for travelling. I stopped reading there.
If you’ve lost your job you may be lucky to have a month’s pay. You may be even more lucky and have some savings put aside. In reality most people don’t have six months’ expenses saved up to tide them over for a long holiday.
Taking a holiday after you lose your job is tempting, but don’t be too hasty to spend money that you need for paying bills, especially if you’ve got rent or a mortgage to pay.
I took a few days off to visit my family and generally plan my next move. I caught up with people I hadn’t seen for a while which felt good. But I was careful to make sure it didn’t become one big tea party.
Bouncing back harder, stronger, better
I like to think that when I get knocked down that I not only get back up, but I come back with a sucker punch.I like to think that when I get knocked down I come back with a sucker punch. Click To Tweet
After some thinking, I decided to go freelance and create my own marketing consultancy.
I lacked the time and freedom to pursue my own projects when working full time. My mind was always on my own ideas but I had no time to work on them, and I couldn’t play to my strengths.
I’ve looked at my strengths and weaknesses and considered how best to overcome my limitations. I know my proofreading isn’t its best, so in the meantime I’ve been reading up on proofreading techniques and have hired a proofreader to check any copy going out to clients.
Getting back up takes time—and your confidence may not be in tact—but it’s important to look to the future and new opportunities everyday. You never know what you’ll find.Look to the future and new opportunities everyday. You never know what you'll find. Click To Tweet
Bounce back with a new perspective on life. Take it as a chance to learn about yourself and your strengths and weaknesses.
Consider where you went wrong (but don’t ruminate).
What weaknesses can you turn into strengths?
How can you play up your strengths?
Something to remember
Thank you to Kristina for her supportive attitude, as well as her tough love. When I told her she read out this great quote (from a scarf, believe it or not!) which has stuck with me:
Don’t judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.
We look at authors like J.K.Rowling and think, ‘Wow, they sure have it good,’ but we don’t think about the amount of rejections they received, or the dark moments of self doubt they inevitable had.
So if you’ve been dealt some rejection, here’s some ways to help you bounce back:
- Take time to accept what’s happened, pamper yourself, and don’t dwell too much (but have a good cry if you need to!)
- Spend some time alone, and/or with your loved ones
- Learn what you can from the event and see it as an opportunity, not a curse
- Breathe: you’re going to be ok
We’re all human: we can’t be perfect. But we can strive to be good; we can strive to be the best.We’re all human: we can’t be perfect. But we can strive to be good; we can strive to be the best. Click To Tweet
When it comes to rejection, it’s a matter of dusting yourself off and developing a thick skin. The world hasn’t ended: it’s still moving forward. So should you.