Monday, September 21, 2015

Accept Your Defeat

Are you happy? Can you look at yourself, your life, and your circumstances and say that you are really truly content? Are you negative? Are you feeling defeated? Have you faltered along the way?

This post might be for you. 

I'm not a guru or a life coach or an adviser. But over the past few years I've learned a few hard lessons that might help you out.

Learn to be content with where you are, but not comfortable. We must learn to accept the place we are in right now, so that we may have peace. But we cannot get comfortable enough with our current status that we remain in the same situation.

I say we, because I struggle with this reality daily. (I don't know if I'm writing this for y'all or myself, if I'm being honest.)

Let your frustration fuel you, but don't let it burn you out. Don't allow yourself to be consumed with defeat, depression, despair or discontentment with your circumstances.

I, for example, struggled for work after I left school. I wrestled with the idea of going back to school. After months of unemployment, frustration, anger and prayer, I finally found a full-time job. It wasn't in my desired field, but it was something I could do while I looked for something more professional.

I took the job. I applied for others. In my field, in any field. And time and time again, I got turned down. So I stopped. Told myself I was taking a break from applications.

Almost two years later, I'm currently still in the same position.

I got comfortable. I got complacent. I got nowhere. And I got mad.

I looked at other people achieving their goals. I saw people reaching the goals I was struggling toward. I realized that somewhere along the line, I had put my goals on hold while I worked to help others reach theirs.

I got so frustrated with myself that I became unable to focus on anything else. My unhappiness invaded my personal and professional life. I couldn't get through a single day without complaining.

But nothing was changing. Nothing was moving. Nothing had happened, except I had become the kind of person I can't stand to be around. I had become so negative that never actually got around to making the changes that would help me be happy.

So I decided to make a conscious effort to turn things around. It wasn't (and still isn't) easy. But I had to try. I thought about my goals. My dreams. I tried to map out the steps I'd have to take to reach them. I reached out to people doing things I wanted to, I made connections.

But before I was able to do any of that, I had to accept where I was. I had to accept that I had faced defeat. I had to accept that I needed help. I had to accept that I wasn't happy. And after I accepted those things, I became content with them. I embraced my defeats and my unhappiness. I celebrated the fact that I could recognize that needed help. And then I became content with the fact that it was all temporary, if I allowed it to be.

When I accepted my reality, and allowed myself to reflect without feeling shame, I became to act, and act purposefully. I put out applications. I revised my resume. I saved my money. I networked. I researched. I got turned down. I got denied. I got discouraged. And then... I started it all over. And over. And over.

As I write this now, I'm entering my last week of work in my current position. After almost two years of absolute madness, I finally got a job in my field. I got accepted into a (minor) program at a great school. And I'm over the moon with excitement. But I still struggle. I'm still not where I imagined I'd be. And I'm still trying to make it through the day without absolutely losing my whole entire Black mind at work. But I'm not where I was. And I'm content with that.

If you're like me and struggling with something that's hanging like a dark cloud over your life...let me let you in on a lil' something. It's something that I try and tell myself every day.

You are more than the sum of all your defeats. And you're going to do great fucking things. 

Now, let's go get started.

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