I think that people generally want to belong. We find friends of similar interests and mindsets. We are drawn to people like ourselves or that have qualities that we respect or identify with. There is a part of us that does like that alone time, but as a whole, we like to be around others similar to ourselves.
Why is it when something bad happens in our life we naturally assume we are so unique as to be the only person in the world that has either gone through this or understands it?
When we get fired, laid off or displaced we retreat into our own little world thinking we are alone.
There are situations that it may be hard pressed to find someone with the exact same circumstances; however, you are not alone.
So why do we allow ourselves to feel that way?
Fear or embarrassment.
We don’t want to admit that something bad happened. Perhaps it will be seen as a poor reflection of ourselves. I was fired so therefore I must be the worst employee ever. People will think differently of me, people will not respect me, people won’t respect me.
I wish for one moment that all those going through that thought process would take all that energy they are putting in that isolation into doing something positive. If I could have wrangled all those negative feelings when I was in that same position and put it into cleaning my house – it would have been spotless, Mr. Clean would be impressed.
It is wasted energy.
First of all, you are not the only one.
No, it is not the most pleasant thing to talk about. However, if you can take a much less pessimistic view and open up to people then what you might find is you will hear a lot of “been there, done that.”
No one needs to know the gory details of why it happened. The simple fact is it did. Don’t elaborate on it. Just state it and immediately, in that same breath make a statement that you are moving forward.
It will be hard on two fronts. First, the need to feel that you need to defend yourself. You don’t. Just state it plain, simple and quick. Second, people are damn nosey. You might get the “what happened?” questions. This will be difficult to avoid getting sucked in.
It is like when you break up with someone. I was engaged and then one day, I was no longer engaged. When people found out more often than not I heard two statements back to back:
“I’m so sorry!”
“What happened? You guys seemed perfect together.”
Thank you for the support and thank you for wanting to get all the details of which I was having enough of a hard time dealing with.
I got to the point that I started using one of my most prominent attributes: humor. Ok, let’s be honest, it is me. I used sarcasm. I started replying with:
“Someone forgot to tell us we were perfect for each other”
“Obviously we weren’t perfect for each other, but good to know you thought so, now I know never to let you set me up.”
Or something like that. The point is, I cut it off. I didn’t allow someone to get the “skinny” on something negative that happened to me. It wasn’t their business and by reliving it, I was not able to release it.
Today, I see it as a blessing. Before I got to that place I had to realize that I wasn’t the only one. Other people broke up and were fully able to move forward with their life, why couldn’t I? And I did.
There are very few people that can claim such horrendous circumstances in their life to claim that they are the only one. Nelson Mandela is one that comes to mind. But the thing about Mr. Mandela is that he still remained positive. He didn’t wallow.
Stop wallowing. You are not the only one and although it might satisfy someone’s curiosity, don’t relive the experience. Accept it, learn from it and move on. This will allow you to reconnect with the world again and truly move on. And one day you might find that this horrible event was one of the best blessings you could have ever received.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Brand Strategist & Career Coach