Sorry; I have no space left for advice. Just do it.
-Donald E. Westlake
I work as a freelance writer and magazine intern, and every time I sit down to write something, I freeze. I’ve been through the scenario a million times, but each time I futz over the assignment as if I’ve never written anything in my life.
For example, my first freelance magazine piece is an interview due on Saturday, and I’m having the hardest time organizing my thoughts. I’m going back and forth over the details, reading articles from past issues and staring out the window every five minutes, hoping a wave of inspiration will wash over me. And nothing happens. Nothing happens until I stop squirming and write.
I think we make things more difficult when we forget our successes, when we forget that we’ve done this very same thing before and have done it well. Sure, I haven’t written this exact piece before, but I have written profiles. I’ve written blog posts, e-commerce copy, and term papers. With every new project, it’s up to me to have confidence in myself that I can finish the job. And the best way to finish a job is to just do it, not to obsess over it.
While it’s not easy, I’m really trying to remind myself of my successes when I feel stuck. Once I finish what feels like a daunting assignment, I realize how silly it was for me to stress over it. So today, remember your successes. Remember that even when something is new and a bit scary, you may already have the tools you need to conquer it. Once you realize you’re already prepared, don’t stress any longer–just do it!
“It takes courage to love again when you’ve been hurt.
It takes pain and strength again …
to pack it all away.
Somewhere in all the pain somebody has to have the courage …
to be OK…”
–Madea’s Family Reunion
April’s painful, unexpected events have blurred my vision. I feel confused and angry, pessimistic and heartbroken.
But I have trained myself so diligently to think positively yet flexibly. After more than a year of introspection, therapy, and growth, my brain yearns to feel joy in spite of pain. I want to be brave. My lips want to smile even when I’m frowning. Although though I am sad, I long to be happy.
Then guilt sweeps over me. How can I continue to laugh and smile when someone I loved can no longer do so? But reason must prevail: I know my loved one would want me to be alright. He wanted me to succeed when he was alive, and I doubt he would have changed his mind about that.
I’ve practiced the art of positive thinking because life is going to feel unbearable at times. This is exactly what I’ve been preparing myself for–the heartache, the loss, the sadness, the inevitable difficulties of life that fortify us, if we allow them to.
Slowly, the little pieces of glitter dancing in the snow globe of my life are falling back down. Soon they will settle, leaving my house in precious peace for a time. I am determined to keep my head on tight as the chaos dissipates.
In any hardship, I want to have the courage to be OK–and I know that strength is inside of me.
We all want to be accepted. So when we get a “No, not at this time,” it never feels good.
But rejection allows for reflection. It allows us to ask ourselves what we can learn from this experience, what we can do differently next time. When we don’t get what we want, we can recalibrate our desires to match reality. Even when you don’t get the goods, the world still turns.
The key to staying strong, focused, and confident after rejection? Remember your value. No one can take that away from you, no matter how many times you get a “No.” So keep moving, dreaming, pushing. Don’t wonder what’s wrong with you: You’re fine. Just figure out what’s next.
I shouldn’t tell myself not to be upset. I don’t need to tell myself to get over it. I have to allow myself to feel what I’m feeling first, then move on. Ride it out. Feel the pain just as I would feel joy. Understand that raw, embittered emotion so I can learn how to cope with it. Dulling it with food, alcohol, sleep, sex, or any other distraction often makes things worse. Accept the feeling, then allow it to subside naturally. That’s how you get tougher.