The other day I saw a young father holding his young son in his arms. The boy was crying, and the father kept saying, “Now, stop your crying. Listen to me. Stop crying.”
Of course, the little boy only cried harder.
And that’s how it goes, right? As I walked past I thought of all the times I told my children to stop crying. Why? Because their tears made me uncomfortable. Geez, it was awkward. I had no clue what to do with a crying child. I was worried what other people thought of me as a mother — I mean, my kid was sobbing hysterically. Doesn’t that trigger the Really Bad Mother Alert?
As I watched that young father, my heart went out to him. And I thought about what I’d do now if I were in that same spot.
I think I’d say to my little child, “Honey, it looks like you need some time to cry. How much time do you think you might need? OK. I’ll be right over here — you take all the time you want.” And I’d sit and wait until the crying was done.
‘Cuz sometimes we all need to cry.
I’d let my kid decide when he was through feeling sad or angry or whatever, rather than tell him when to stop. If we’re told to deny our unpleasant feelings when we’re very young, how in the world can we expect to know how to handle them when we’re adults?
There are a lot of people out of a job today. Yet, many of them are stuck in their job search. Why? Because they haven’t honored what they really need — understanding and acceptance of why they were let go from their previous job. Every single day they get that old message, “Stop it now. Stop crying. Suck it up. Get on with it.”
And this is why folks get stuck. And why they bomb job interviews. And they remain in limboland.
Because they haven’t taken time to honor the full sweep of their emotions over losing their last job.
If your self-talk is all about the past — the wrongs done to you, how stupid your old boss was, what idiots they were to keep Joe and let you go (sound at all familiar?) — then do yourself a favor. Set yourself up for success by taking some time to fully feel how sad you are. Mourn the real loss you’ve suffered.
You may have heard that your results reveal your true intentions, and that is absolutely, 100% true. If you are out of work and not really working on your job search, what might be holding you back is the past.
“Oh, sure,” you say. “I’m out of work and she wants me to get all introspective! I don’t have time — I need some money!”
I’m not saying wallow. Or become paralyzed. I’m saying have yourself a good cry for as long as you need to. I’m saying let it out and let it go. And then wipe your eyes and get back on track.
Because when you finally come to terms with the grief you’ve been denying, you will have let go of the past and planted your feet firmly in today. Let go of the past, sugar, and it has no power over you. You’ll be happier, and look happier, and feel happier.
And happy people are the people who get hired.