Nothing’s gone right? Feeling down, inadequate, stupid, ugly? Frustrated that you still haven’t achieved your ‘holy grail’ – to ‘be pretty’, to pass that exam, to get that job or make more money.
Try and think back to what you were doing at exactly this time last year. Then, look at what you’re doing now, what you’ve achieved, how far you’ve come. Living one year is an accomplishment. Are you measuring your success fairly, as you would with a friend?
Or, alternatively, are you measuring it against somebody else’s? (see my quote about unhealthy comparisons…). More fatally, are you striving to measure up to your own unrealistic expectations?
Aim high. Of course you should. But don’t do so at the expense of your happiness. Don’t be so busy concentrating on the next step that you miss out on everything wonderful around you right now.
Let me share something with you. This time last year I worked in a department store. I felt like I had so much more to offer but it was so difficult to prove that to any potential employer that I was of worth and had capability beyond what I had already done in life. I was young. We were in a recession, and it showed. Unemployment was at an all time high and everybody seemed very negative about everything. Some of my colleagues had been made redundant from the most amazing jobs, and now worked alongside me, some of them on less money than me. How could I take inspiration from anyone or anything?
I did what I have always done. I put myself in the right places, took every opportunity, and believed in myself. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I had faith in that, and in myself, even at the worst times.
Now, I am in a job I never, ever thought I’d be doing. It’s an exciting job full of everything I love and with amazing opportunities on the horizon. The value of my CV has increased massively. I now have the luxury of a choice of careers, all of which I have always wanted to do. I’m setting up my own business, writing more and travelling abroad more than I ever have.
It’s easy to moan and feel defeated when the rain is pouring and someone has said something or done something shitty to you, nothing has worked out, I’m stressed and frustrated with work or life in general. But it really is just one bad day.
Now, if I’m ever having a bad day, I remind myself of this. I think of the hours spent on the dirty, smelly buses to go and stand alone in the middle of a shop devoid of customers, to be berated by management for things that were out of my control. If I need to, I’ll go back another year, working shifts at 5am for an agency spraying perfume on people for 12 hours a day.
Think about where you were last year. Now congratulate yourself on all your achievements in that time. A year flies but it’s a long time – you can do a lot in a year. Looking back and counting your blessings helps you to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
Try it, and see!!