Messing Up Big-Time: Getting Past a Temporary Setback

I often gently chide my friends when they beat themselves up over a small matter; not doing better, getting behind on rent, not getting that all-important job, leaving the coffee cup on the roof of the car. However, when I recently messed up big-time I could totally relate, and I wanted to yell at my own self. I was tempted to bang my head against the wall in anger at myself and in frustration. Except that it doesn’t feel good and it sure doesn’t help when you feel like crap about yourself.

I get that this is what you feel like when you’ve been out there looking for a job for a long time, the bill collectors are rude and you have to deal with smarmy HR managers who put you through hell and back because they know there are a gazillion candidates just as qualified as you. But there are ways to stay upbeat while you are trying to get past that temporary setback.

*Do not beat yourself up. Don’t call yourself names or say that you “totally suck.” You may feel that way; however, you project how you feel about yourself whether you realize it or not, and you can inadvertently make yourself the target of a smarmy, bullying hiring manager. Get rid of your anger by punching a pillow, running a really fast mile or swimming a gazillion laps, whatever it takes.

*Keep it in perspective. It stinks when here we are at the alleged end of a recession and everyone is recovering except you — or at least that is the way it feels. There are still a lot of people job searching, and many jobs that disappeared are not coming back. You are being caught up in a larger economic trend, and while it does not feel good, you are not alone in this.

*Reflect on your accomplishments. Pull out your resume yet again and take a look. I know when I am striving to meet a goal sometimes I forget where I’ve already been and what I’ve accomplished. Remind yourself when other people treat you badly that you are still a good, accomplished person.

*Stick to a routine. Do not let rude people or phone calls make you upset or angry enough to pull you off course. There is an intrinsic comfort to maintaining a routine.

*Make a fun list. Keep the list with you and try to do something fun instead of beating yourself up. Don’t have a lot of money? Include some freebies on the list so that lack of money doesn’t stress you out when you need to cut loose.

*Take care of yourself. Getting sick when you are stressed is common, but it can make your difficult situation worse and lead you to not deal well or not deal at all.

Be nice. To yourself…

2 Responses

  1. I’ve found exercise helps a lot when trying to get out frustration or to pick myself up. The quiet pace of long runs can really help sort out what went wrong and how to bounce back. And boxing gyms are wonderful if you just need to punch something hard.

  2. You are so right. Running stairs til I’m out of breath seems to put everything into perspective. Maybe I should find a punching bag. The self-forgiveness part is a bit harder…

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