I’ve been thinking a lot about all the things I’m not good at this week. The list fluctuates depending on my mood and perspective, and this week it’s erring on the extensive side. For one, I’m a bit extra hormonal this week so that affects the mood and perspective part in a way that considerably suppresses my normal happy. With it being the beginning of summer and the change of season, I’ve also been hyperaware of all the happy relationships (new and old), weight-losses, job promotions, and general surplus of things to celebrate, of which none are mine.
I applied for a job a month ago. The job seemed a perfect fit and would have allowed a bit more flexibility to teach and practice more yoga. Long story short, I got my hopes WAY up, and didn’t even get considered. I spoke with the hiring person who very nicely told me that I didn’t have anywhere near the level of experience they were looking for, and while my youthful enthusiasm and perspective could be an asset, and my tremendous reference letter was telling of my character and potential, they were looking for something more. When I applied for this position I was careful to make my resume, cover letter, and references perfect. I put everything I had on the table, and took on the perspective that if I didn’t get the position, it meant someone was better suited, had more experience, and deserved to be hired over me. And I’d be okay with that; a pretty story I was pretty sure I believed until I didn’t get considered.
Not being hired was hugely disappointing. It stirred up feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty in me. I thought it was my big break; I was going to step into this perfect situation: my bills would be paid and I’d be doing what I loved. I interpreted the rejection like this: You don’t have the right experience, you’ll never have enough experience, you’ll always be inferior, you need to grow up and get a Master’s degree or go to school for something that matters and stop playing pretend thinking that this funadventurousfreeplay lifestyle you’re living is going to get you anywhere , your broad experience is just that-too broad, the work you are doing or have done does not warrant recognition, blah blah blah. (Our minds are funny things.)
Let me just add here that I am surrounded by amazing, successful (financially and otherwise), adventurous, fulfilled people, many of which make a considerable amount of money more than me. They all worked their asses off for what they have. I’m seriously impressed with all these people and am blessed abundantly not only by their presence in my life but also by their generosity. With that being said, I often find myself envious of them. Or more specifically: their stability. This pre-existent envy lays foundation for the eruption of insecurity that resulted from the job rejection.
I too have worked my ass off at certain things in life. I’m trying to figure out what the difference is between me and the people of my envy. Sometimes I wonder if I never actually worked as hard as them. In some cases this is absolutely true, but I don’t believe it’s the fundamental difference. One thing I know to be true is that doing does not always equal getting; which is not at all to discredit the value of hard work. Effort alone does not reap reward. The recipe usually includes some combination of discipline, awareness, patience, perspective, perseverance, etc. I think I’m proficient with all those things. So that must not be it. I also don’t truly believe I’m unique in feeling insecure and inferior—I know there are a lot of folks who probably have these exact thoughts. Maybe even the persons of my envy! With all that being said, I know the answer is very subjective.
But what does it come down to? Maybe the difference is that I have never known what to chase. Growing up, we never had much, but always had enough so I was never motivated to chase money (degrees or paths that led to high paying jobs). No one in my family followed a traditional path to success, so I never learned what that looked like or the steps I was “supposed” to take. There was never just one thing I was passionate about or extraordinarily good at, so I never had that thing I was meant to do. No one ever told me what they thought I should do, and I was left up to my own exploration to figure it out. None of these things are wrong. In fact, each are things I highly value and attribute to my overall experience of the world. This notion of having something to chase informs that people who know what they want to chase will probably get there faster, wherever “there” is. I think I’m figuring out what I want to chase and I’m realizing the journey is long and wide and there isn’t a stable staircase to get to where I’m going but more like a rocky hike with a lot of switchbacks, fallen trees, and a couple of bears along the way. It’s the path I’d rather be on, and sometimes I can’t help daydreaming about the staircase. For some, the staircase is where it’s at. There’s obviously no right or wrong path here, only an understanding that all the paths are teachers. Not getting that job was one of those switchbacks… It appeared to be the top of the mountain or at least a level plateau, but the trail continues. I can sit down and pity myself for a moment, but moving on is inevitable and the only way to the top. I’m curious what’s going to be there.