February 26, 2019

The Next Time you’re Rejected, Remember This.


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So I got fired.

A few months ago, I was over the moon after deciding to leave my corporate job that, in the words of my ex-boyfriend, sucked the living energy out of me. I had left my well-paying job at an established advertising agency to follow my heart’s desire of doing something that I actually loved that also helped me pay the bills.

So I joined a local yoga studio to help with marketing and teach classes on the side. It seemed like the ideal plan.

I was finally being pushed—both by the universe and by myself—toward a job that I was passionate about. And maybe, one day, I’d pursue my dream of becoming a yoga therapist, who helps people heal through the incredible miracles of the ancient yogic path.

My relationship with yoga is personal. Like many yogis and yoginis, yoga found me at a time when I was feeling like I didn’t want to go through this thing called life anymore. It felt like I didn’t even have the choice to exist or not, and was instead put here by some sarcastic universal power.

But the more I practiced yoga, the more I realized that nothing around me had really changed except how I felt, and maybe how I reacted. From the poses to the stillness, the discipline to the commitment to showing up, and all the challenging transitions in between, I began to understand that yoga was a precise manifestation of my life.

It’s raw. It’s real. It’s hard. It’s fun. It’s scary. It’s beautiful.

As I reached the final resting pose—Savasana—which ends every yoga practice, I experienced an orgasmic sensation that helped me accept that bliss can still be found in the most chaotic situations.

By making a conscious decision to join the yoga industry, I thought I would get closer to my cliché dream of being of benefit and changing the world by doing something that is fundamentally good.

Then, I got fired.

It’s been a week now since I lost my job, and I won’t attempt to tone down the intensity of the bruise and betrayal—it felt like sh*t. It was the only job that I’d chosen, wholeheartedly. Mindfully. Two feet and an entire body in.

I think it was Confucius who once said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It’s true. I loved what I did for a living. I loved coming to the studio, brainstorming creative ideas and social media content, embracing the challenges of working with a small team, and patiently listening to people’s questions about yoga. I didn’t even have to do the last part; it wasn’t in my job description. But like I said, it didn’t feel like work.

This is not a sad story, but it isn’t a happy one either. It’s simply real life. Raw. Painful. Fun. Temporary. Uplifting. Shattering. Happy. Sad. In a world where everything has to be labeled as this or that, we tend to forget that there are days when life simply feels neutral—like nothing and everything at the same time.

But when I first received the news, I couldn’t handle it. I went to my sister and did the sensible thing—I cried. And as I began to calm down, my mind instantly went to analyzing the situation to make sense out of what had just happened.

Who’s fault was it?
Is it me? Is it them?
Is it both of us?
Was there something more I could have done?
Was I not good enough?
Was I a failure?
Will I find another job?
Did I make a mistake by leaving my corporate job?

As someone who’s always been an “A” student, was never fired from a job, and was asked by every employer to stay on after resigning, my ego was a little hurt. Okay, maybe a lot. But at some point, I knew I had to accept what had happened. Instead of over-analyzing things that will not change the outcome, I had to first, simply be with the emotion of feeling hurt, and second, act fast if I wanted to find an alternative.

I didn’t have much time to dwell.

Without sharing details about my past employer or the reasons they gave me about why I was fired, I can confidently say it wasn’t me. Realizing this was the first step to embracing my new reality: I was jobless at almost 30.

“It is what it is,” is something I would repeat to myself every time life felt out of control. It might feel like a false coping mechanism to numb the pain of being rejected. But by meditating on the situation, I realized that I genuinely did everything I could have done to prove that I was the best candidate for the job. I put in the extra hours, was available on weekends, worked around every instructor’s schedule, took on extra jobs when I didn’t have to, and worked hard off the clock to pick up the skills that I was lacking.

I still believe that I was the best candidate—but that doesn’t mean I was the right one for this particular position. I was at the wrong job for my skills, and didn’t have enough tools to grow.

It takes courage live up to our mistakes, but what’s even more courageous sometimes is to accept that not everything is our fault. When we have a history of self-sabotaging thoughts and feelings of rejection, it’s easy to point fingers at ourselves. We thrive off of the thrill and drama of self-misery.

Even in the cases where we know we’ve failed, and it’s our fault, the most important question to ask is: “What can I learn from this heavy feeling of disappointment, of letting myself and others down?”

One thing I found exceptionally helpful while the doubts were loud in my head, was reaching out to people who are genuine. I opened up to my best friend, another friend who is a therapist, my ex-boyfriend, and a person I was wrongly involved with romantically. Despite my past disagreements with some, each one of them listened patiently as I ranted for hours. Although some provided more valuable advice than others, they all acted as my sounding board when I felt muted, not just by showing empathy or telling me what I needed to hear, but by revealing logical facts which I was too blind to see.

Getting fired sucked. It made me feel vulnerable. Exposed. Weak. Disgusted. But I realized that it’s a common human experience in the vast sphere of human connectedness.

It shattered me. It humbled me. It forced me to accept, more than anything else that I’ve ever experienced, that nothing is permanent.

And there’s both sadness and beauty in this realization.


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