As an aspiring journalist, my two-bit boss once told me, "You're OK, but you'll always need an editor to follow you around, because your writing just isn't great."
As a young woman navigating through the breakdown of a difficult relationship, my then partner once told me, "Go ahead and leave. You'll be NOTHING without me. You're damaged goods."
As an emerging communications professional, an unethical manager once told me, "You will do whatever it takes to win this award ... or else." (I opted for the 'or else' route, and ultimately discovered he'd falsified records in my personnel file in an attempt to frame me.)
As a trusting college student, the jackass who drugged and then trapped me in an empty room, in an unknown house, once told me, "I'll take you back home when I'm ready. When I'm ready." (Yes, that one's a doozy. I know.)
Everyone has a story.
Most of us have many.
The shit hits the fan. People let you down. You make a stupid mistake and the fallout is huge. You trust the wrong people. Mean spirited jerks slice you in two with words or actions intended to make you feel powerless, stupid, incapable or unworthy.
It's all stuff that, if you let it, will make you cave.
Some of us cave.
Or, at the very least, we allow these words and experiences to erode our confidence, sense of self and will to forge ahead and live extraordinary, fulfilling lives. Sometimes, we don't want to keep going.
We can't keep going.
Or can we?
I talk with many frustrated, depressed and downright crushed individuals. It's part of my job. Often, they're struggling like mad with a job search, a career transition or in starting up a new business of their own. And it's feeling very bad.
Often, their frustration, depression and crushdom has begun to erode their confidence, sense of self or will to forge ahead and live extraodinary, fulfilling lives.
And that's just not right, in my book.
Is this maybe you? If so, I want to suggest -- in the nicest, most supportive of ways -- one simple solution to what I recognize is almost never a simple situation:
Limber the hell up.
Brush off the dust. Cry it the heck out. Take all the mean stuff people have said to you, and all the bad crap that's happened to you along the way and pack it all in a U-Haul box. Or 10 U-Haul boxes. Pack it all up and then ship that sucker out to the curb.
Next, go be with people who value and adore you. EVERYONE has some of these people in their lives. Go be with them now.
Eat good food.
Buy the $14 bottle of wine instead of the $4 bottle of wine.
Do yoga, take deep breaths, knit something cozy.
Stop after one glass of that $14 wine.
Get professional help if you need it. Really.
And then keep going like great balls of fire toward whatever it is you want most.
Because, guess what? Bad stuff happens to all of us.
We all feel rejected, stupid, remorseful, betrayed or completely undermined sometimes.
ALL of us.
We all have periods of our lives during which we need to cry, curse, reflect, recover.
ALL of us.
So do what you need to do to regroup, already. Do whatever it is you need to regroup.
And then keep going.
Because caving? It's for suckers.
And you are completely not one.