I had a phone interview this morning for a job I’d be very good at and a situation that seems ideal for this time in my life. The phone interview did not go very well, I’m rubbish on the phone and always feel much better in person. In addition, one of the interviewers was, well, a bit of an ass. He started sucking the confidence out of me throughout the phone call like a weird phone vampire.
Now, I’m fighting a downward spiral into depression that has been slowly lifting. I've been asking myself today why. How did this guy, and this interview, have such an effect on my confidence? Logically, I know that I am really adaptable and can just get a job somewhere else, so what’s with this spiral? Yes, it’s normal to be sad, disappointed, even to grieve a little, but there’s a difference between those emotions and spiraling down into depression. So, when I start to spiral downward, like I started to today, I’ve started asking myself, “What am I making this mean?” In this case:
I don’t deserve good things.
I always fuck it up.
There is a big difference between worrying about things happening that are out of your control, and worrying about things happening that are out of your control and THEN making them MEAN that you’re worthless.
So, if I start making a bad interview mean that I’m worthless, then I start making up scenarios of my worthlessness.
I can’t ever get a job anywhere.
Andy will think I’m dumb and leave me.
My friends think I’m lazy and useless.
I end up homeless and crazy.
Pain doesn’t come from the fear of the unknown nor from the failure itself, it comes from what I make those things mean about myself.
I now recognize that I don’t get nervous for things I really want. I get passionate and animated for things I really want. I get nervous for things my ego needs in order to feel good. My ego wants this job because it looks good, because it works well for me, because I think Andy would be proud of me, etc, but truthfully, my heart doesn’t really care! My heart would rather not be bothered by nerves at all, because my heart wants to play. My heart wants to write, connect with friends, connect with strangers, travel, walk my dog, dance, sing, cuddle, play play play! I can play with data. I can play with computers and projects and basically anything. If it’s all play, and I don’t make anything that happens MEAN anything about who I am, there is absolutely no reason to be nervous.
It’s understandable to get nervous, after all, things change so quickly in this world. Our sense of security, much like our happiness, cannot be dependent on anything external. But trust me on this: if you have the ability to imagine, usually on the fly, of hundreds of ways in which things could go wrong, you also have the creative ability to pull up a plan of action if and when things do go wrong. This is where your sense of security lies, in your ability to adapt, to formulate a new plan of action, to creatively step into life unfolding. If you have the ability to worry about it, you also have brains to handle whatever is thrown at you. Believe this about yourself and you will find your sense of security within you.
All this to say, I’m really proud of how I turned my thinking around today. I stabbed that confidence vampire with a wooden stake. Well, not literally.