IMPERFECTIONS & GETTING BACK UP AGAIN
Chelsea and I were on a call last week when we got to talking about how much we appreciate peoples’ imperfections. Much though the digital world we inhabit (and for us – work in!) can be perceived to portray a certain perfectionism, I hope you know that to a large extent it’s all smoke and mirrors.
Peoples’ lives are no different to yours just because they Instagram a pumpkin spice latte, or go on a beautiful press trip or whatever it may be. I mean, you drink delicious rounds of coffee too, but I’m sure you also have a whir of thoughts going on about the challenges and triumphs of life. We all do!
Along those lines, it’s important to acknowledge that you and I will experience setbacks, heartache and tough times. Ella and I even discussed this at length in Episode 15. of our podcast Let’s Discuss – and of all our episodes it got one of the largest bouts of feedback.
Just last year I remember lamenting to my friends how I felt like I was getting doors shut in my face work-wise at every turn. It was a strange time (and really disheartening) but it was also the impetus for me finding my feet and pursuing a completely different project – which I am SO nearly ready to share with you!
One of the reasons I adore sharing Chelsea’s advice with you is that it’s always real. And today’s post sharing Chelsea’s savvy take on getting back up after a knock is golden.
You will get knocked down, but you can absolutely stand back up again. Learn from what happened, and move forward.
Here’s to you and your own ‘getting back up’ moments!
Over to Chelsea!
Love, Monica x
Jacket: The White Company
Jumper: The White Company
Skirt: The White Company
How To Pick Yourself Up After A Knock
Of all his admirable quotes, one of my favorites from legendary Nelson Mandela goes like this…
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
As one of the greatest philanthropists and humble hearts to walk this Earth, I love his ability to acknowledge that even under all his wins, it was his losses that he grew from.
The simple truth is: none of us are perfect, nor are our lives. We’re bound to have fails, and if we understand the growth that can come from failure, we’re bound to make endless improvements as well. Even when mistakes/knocks/failures don’t seem like a blessing, we can usually see their opportunity down the road.
I didn’t make the “A” softball team when I was 12, but I made the “B” team and ended up making lifelong friends. I didn’t get into the “best college ever”, so I stayed in state, finished without out-of-state tuition debt, and freaking loved it. I didn’t get a “dream job” a few years back, but instead worked my butt off to get another one – that eventually led me to creating my own company.
Life is full of knocks; they’re inevitable. As long as we have the tools to get back up and dust our shoulders off, we have the chance to grow from those experiences.
And since I know that in the moment – the days or weeks following a heartbreaking knock – it can seem impossible to gather yourself out of bed, I wanted to share what’s worked for me. Because sometimes, we need help putting one foot in front of the other.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL
I can remember getting the call about my dream job going to another candidate (after 5 interviews!). Before I could end the call, I started getting choked up, trying my very hardest to keep it in. After I got off the phone, I tried even harder not to cry in front of the friend I was with. And you know that feeling when you really, really need to cry and you try not to? It’s the worst!
My sweet friend walked me through it and urged me to sob. So I did. I think I cried for about 30 minutes straight – I couldn’t stop! But you know what happened? I felt a tiny bit better after.
She didn’t make me hide it, she didn’t make me talk, she just left me to cry and brought me tea (and lots of hugs!). Sometimes, when knocks happen, we try not to process the emotions and instead push them away. But emotions are our bodies way of handling situations – so let them do their thing.
“Life is full of knocks; they’re inevitable.
As long as we have the tools to get back up
and dust our shoulders off,
we have the chance to grow from those experiences.”
GIVE YOURSELF A ‘FEEL BAD’ DAY
I know that some books or articles will tell you to ‘pick yourself back up and put on a brave face!,’ but some knocks are too darn painful.
I’m a huge fan of taking a personal day when one is needed, and for me, the day after losing that job was one of them.
I’m pretty sure I did every cliché in the books – I stayed in bed, ate ice cream, watched reruns of Friends, and completely self-indulged in the feeling of blahness.
I didn’t have to fake feeling OK. I had time – alone – to be bummed out. Which I think is necessary!
Even if you can only find a closet to sit in by yourself for an hour after a knock, find your safe area and feel OK feeling bad. We can’t all be happy 100% of the time – it’s completely unnatural.
Instead of trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel, or figuring out HOW this will ever make sense, simply release the knock.
Acknowledge that it wasn’t in the cards, and let it go.
I’ve heard of people writing down how they’re feeling, or simply jotting down the knock on a piece of paper, and then burning it.
I’ve heard of people screaming it out.
There are a lot of ways to release thoughts. I personally find that journaling about anything helps me get it out of my system. Bringing more meditation into those early post-letdown days can help too – it’ll train your brain to have a break from the thoughts.
“Start the small steps to finding motivation
to return to your normal self . . .
You can do this – take it day by day!”
By this point, you’ve allowed yourself to gently experience and release the knock, and you’re probably feeling pretty unmotivated. It’s OK! You’ll find it.
Depending on how you personally seek motivation, do that. After my job loss, that meant me tweaking my resume and coming up with a new badass cover letter to start sending out.
Start the small steps to finding motivation to return to your normal self, however feels right to you. And yes, sometimes, this is where the push must come internally.
You can do this – take it day by day!
I find that after I get past the point of feeling totally horrible about mistakes or knocks or let downs, I need to have some fun!
It reminds me of that scene in the Sex and the City movie where after Big leaves Carrie at the altar, the girls head to Mexico. Carrie is drowning in her sorrows (having some ‘feel bad’ days), until something really, really funny happens. Then, she laughs so hard she can hardly breathe.
She starts having FUN again!
If you can’t afford to rent a seaside villa in Mexico like the girls of SATC (#same), opt for whatever fills you with pleasure. If you don’t feel like planning it yourself, ask a friend.
Go to the beach for a bonfire, watch silly cat videos, attend a boozy brunch, see a comedy show, whatever is fun for you. And enjoy it, babe!
This part of the process can take months, or even years, but my guess is that you’ll eventually find time to reflect and learn from the knock. I usually end up having a few “ah-ha” moments along the way, and when the time is right, I journal the heck out of whatever I learned from the experience.
Note the things you learned, the ways you improved yourself through the knock, the things you want to avoid with the process in the future – everything. See the person you’ve become because of this “failure,” and be grateful that we have endless chances to get back up.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?
Now, what are your ways of dealing with a heartbreak? How do you get back up from a knock?
Love, Chelsea x
Photography by Frances McMahon