Throughout my life, I’ve found it easier to give up on my professional dreams rather than relationships. Ever since I was a young teenager, I’d be discouraged to pursue anything ‘artsy’ as a career path. But at school, with my friends, I’d learnt to never give up on your feelings.
I was allowed to love, but I wasn’t allowed to dream.
The term ‘unrequited love’ was the definition of my love life for as long as I remember falling in love. Yet, it only made sense to me to keep on trying. I’d get rejected by a guy, but as soon as another guy would come along, I’d forget all about the previous one and pursue the next.
I’ve been through two official rejections before finding someone that said yes. (By official rejection, I mean that I went to the person and I asked him out or confessed.)
It was heartbreaking for a moment, but ultimately I coped and moved on to the next person.
I wouldn’t say the same for my ‘dreams’.
What happens when you’re very much in love with a type of job and yet, get rejected because of figures of authority and societal norms?
Or what happens when you love doing something that you suck at? That kind of heartbreak, to me, is the most painful.
People tell you to follow your dreams like they tell you to listen to your heart. But not every person you like will like you back. And you may not be good at every passion you have. Sometimes, you may feel you have a chance, but you’re still not good enough. So you get shunned.
See? They are not so different after all: your love life and your career path. They both come with a passion for someone, something. There’s this magical pull… but there are also barriers built by others. And that’s the hard part.
I’ve always put my career first, thus it comes as no surprise that this was where I got discouraged more easily. I was determined about my choices at first, but… what do you think happens when everything you come up with as a potential career gets turned down your only ‘investors’?
However, when I look back at my ‘love’ path, I’m stunned by the resilience I showed. Back in high school, while nearly all my friends had a boyfriend/girlfriend or at least someone who had a crush on them, I had no one. Only one-sided crushes and rejections.
But being the nerdy girl, it didn’t affect me as much. Therefore, despite having always experienced unrequited love, I still confessed to my crush for the first time at 17. I knew the answer would be a ‘no’, but I did it anyway. I thought that person was my soulmate… and that we’d eventually be together.
That didn’t happen. I was devastated for 2 years, but I think that deep down, I knew I’d find someone else. That I’d find ‘The One’. I believed in that concept until I turned 20 when I got rejected for the second time. This time, I’d really thought he was ‘The One’; I was certain of it! But no!
And yet, a few months after that incident, someone said yes. I had stopped believing in the idea of a soulmate, but I hadn’t given up on finding a life companion. That became the meaning of love for me, up ’til now.
As for my career, it didn’t happen like that. I gave up so many times; I stopped focusing on what I loved doing. I’ve let myself down in this area so many times.
I stopped believing in my passion for writing. Or maybe I just stopped believing in myself.
Yet somehow, there are always unexpected opportunities around the corner that sparkle the fire within me again. But it’s a struggle to keep it lit. It’s hard to feed it when you lack the support you need.
Then, sometimes, I look at other areas of my life, and I’m like… well, with every failure comes another opportunity. I have never given up on finding a life partner, love; all I did was to move on to the next and the next until someone said yes. I didn’t take it too seriously or too personally. It was just… life.
I think my love life taught me a lot about handling rejections and second chances. And I should reflect on it for the sake of my professional life—my career and the next chapter in my life.
Love and work aren’t so different after all.
Accept the idea of failing in your career. The idea of fucking up and having to do everything again. Every misstep leads to another chance to do better. Just like in our concept of love.
People tell us there are plenty of fish in the sea, but they also tell us that you only got one chance at your career.
Well, nope, time to stop this kind of thinking! Take your second chances.
It won’t be easy but please, don’t give up just yet.
D. K. Waye.