You have faced rejection at some point, and you do not want it to happen again. So you push yourself too hard and avoid mistakes as much as possible. You cannot fail this time. Not now, not ever. Every action must be perfect, every decision must be correct. You do not want things to be just good—you want them to be great. You cannot settle for less. Not anymore.
You know the pressure more than anyone else. You understand every bit of it. That’s what makes you crave for success even more. The pressure gives you purpose. It propels you to places you have never been before. It motivates you.
But it also rips you apart, tears you down. It breaks you into pieces. Because nothing is more painful than not getting what you want despite giving everything you got.
You have spent sleepless nights working on it and there were so many that you lost count. You devoted every minute of your life for the purpose of achieving it, and maybe you have sacrificed far more than you should have. Because you believed that at the end of the day, good things come to those who work hard for it. Your blood, sweat and tears will be all worth it.
But it wasn’t.
Deep down you know you are not alright, but you act like you are anyway. You do all sorts of trying—trying to comprehend what happened, trying to convince yourself that you are okay. You want to feel numb, but you feel these emotions all at once. You want to make it stop. You want the world to come to a halt.
You find yourself asking what went wrong. What could you have missed? What could you have done better? Then you begin thinking of “if onlys”. If only you have seen that coming. If only you have practiced better. If only you have read it thrice, or maybe even four times. If only you have known what would happen. It feels horrible.
And you know you cannot blame anyone but yourself.
Because more than anyone else, you know how much you want it—how much you need it. Whatever it is that you are trying to attain, it gives you validation. It is a way of congratulating yourself for pushing through, for fighting for what you believe you deserve. Because at the end of it all, it is you who worked hard for it, it is you who wanted to prove them wrong. And you were almost there. You were that close to the sweetest, grandest thing you ever wanted. But all of a sudden, you are not.
And now you are so exhausted of hoping, because you discovered that expecting has the power to turn dreams into nightmares, to transform desires into aches. And you learned the hard way.
But slowly you learn to let go, to accept. When you fall, you rise up—no other options. The light inside might have stopped for a while, but you are still working. Sometimes we need to repair ourselves, because not all steel are unbendable. You have gained incredible strength and spectacular courage along the way to conquer all your obstacles, so who says you cannot do it again?
We know perfectionism has its limits, and one of them is that it can only be so good until someone gets hurt. And that’s you. In our quest to greatness, sometimes we forget that we are allowed to make mistakes, and that we are allowed feel bad about ourselves. It is normal to feel down after a defeat, because what is important is how you pick up the pieces after losing. Do not lose sight of yourself, and do not look at the world through someone else’s eyes. Do the things you love simply because you love doing them. Your journey is only yours to take, and people can only watch from the sidelines. Remember, this is your life.
The path to victory is not easy, you know that. That is why you are willing to give it your best shot. Do not stop. Do not be scared of trying, and continue being the warrior that you are. Keep fighting your battles even when it gets rough. You will always need your fighting prowess, because the combats will get harder and harder each day.
Remind yourself that you are allowed to feel weak, and that you are entitled to your emotions. You tend to push people away when you want to be alone, because grief is not exactly what you decide to share to anyone, or at least not right away. You need to express your sorrow one way or another, so do not be ashamed when you find yourself spilling your heartaches to someone who might understand. If you are not ready to talk, find an outlet that will let you convey pent-up emotions. One of the worst feelings in the world is being disappointed in yourself, and the only time that your heart can mend itself if when you let it.
One more thing; learn to forgive yourself. You are flawed, just like everybody else. Sometimes you do not get want you want, no matter how hard you strive for it. Maybe it is not for you, maybe it is. Maybe it is all about timing. You will never find out if you cease trying. So set your eyes on the prize, even if this might be the last time.
Your greatest enemy is and always will be yourself. This is the same person who whispers in your ear the biggest lies about yourself. Do not let your insecurities bring you down. You are more than your fears. You are more than your shortcomings. In this very moment, you are enough.
I hope you find reasons to begin again. More importantly, I hope you learn to love yourself once more. Because when all else fails, the person who’s going to be there for you, is you.