Sunday, May 25, 2008

You Can't Do Both

Parking Still Available, originally uploaded by Fixed Image.

  • So you've just failed at your project. Maybe you put a great deal of effort and thought into it. Maybe you could have done more. Still, your goals were not accomplished.
  • So you've just been fired. Maybe it was justified. Maybe it was not. Still, the reality is you now need a job.
  • So you've just been told by a friend you aren't really as good a friend as you thought. Maybe they are being unfair. Maybe they're not. Still, your friendship is now facing a crossroads.
  • So you missed a promotion you had thought you were in line to get. Maybe you were overlooked by a less qualified person who won't do nearly as good a job as you would have. Maybe you were never up for consideration in the first place. Still, you are going to work tomorrow doing the same old thing.

You have two options.
  1. You can be bitter.
  2. You can get better.
You can't do both.


Thom Singer said...

Actually I think you can do both. Being bitter is a normal reaction when you make a mistake or somebody cheats you out of something you feel you deserve.

The trick is to not let the bitterness take over your life. Feeling bitter is just an emotion that people have, but you need not let bitterness shine out to the rest of the world, and you should use the situation to get better.

I had a situation recently where I lost something I thought I should have won. The judging was "subjective" and they chose someone else for first place. Others were more outraged than I was (as you can't win every time in a subjective situation), but I was bitter. The trick was not to let everyone know about my bitter feelings and to prepare to fight another day.

The mistake I have made when I was younger (I am ten years older than you) was to not feel my feelings. I would push them into a box and close the lid. The most important thing I learned at 40 years old was that it is okay and normal to have negative emotions (like bitterness), but to use those feelings to focus on that getting better part.

I like you blog and your photographs are amazing.


Andrew Weaver said...

Thanks for stopping by and adding your input. I'm always appreciative of thoughtful feedback.

You have a point. I would agree that the initial feeling after a set back can be very helpful in motivating one to accomplish more. However, I think I would identify that initial feeling as "anger" before I called it being bitter. To me, being bitter is when someone permits their initial emotion (anger, disappointment, irritation, etc.) to become stagnant. Suddently that is all they can see and cannot seem to move past their set back. I've always thought of that state as a state of bitterness.

All that said, I think we're pretty much in agreement. I would use certainly use that initial feeling of disappointment or anger to my advantage.