“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need” – Rolling Stones.
Come on – I can’t not start this blog post off that way.
You’d be disappointed in me if I didn’t.
But honestly, there’s no better way to kickoff this post because that statement, that one simple lyric, is so honest and straightforward there’s little room for muddling up the message.
Simply, it doesn’t matter what we want in life or even how bad we might want it because if it’s not meant to be than it’s not meant to be. Even when we whine loudly and stomp our feet even louder in protest of being denied that very thing, if we look closely… really, really closely… we’ll usually see that there was a reason the universe decided, “nahhhh” as it kindly shut us down.
In most situations that you feel slighted or upset, chances are that you’ll learn from it, take a lesson away, and grow into a stronger human.
But that’s not to say that life doesn’t suck for a little bit once I’m denying the thing I desperately want – for example, I go through stages when something bad happens:
1. My eye twitches a little bit and I whine-yell in my head, “Whyyyyyyyyyy?” and the longer I drag out the y’s, the better I feel.
2. I pout and think, “Wow. But seriously. Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this crap?”
3. I start to accept that while I didn’t want it, it’s happening and I can’t stop it from happening to me.
4. I begin to deal with it. I’m no longer whining in my head but figuring out how to handle the situation in the best way possible with what I have. If I can’t stop it, I’m going to kick its ass in one way or another.
5. I kick its ass.
6. Once the situation is over or close to it – sometimes breakups or being fired or whatever can leave bad taste in your mouth for a while – I reflect back on it. Mainly because I want to think back at how awesome I just was at kicking the bad situations butt.
(6.5. Sometimes I even take an extra few moments here to look at my reflection in the mirror, wink, do some finger guns, and say, “Yeah girl. You handled that with confidence, a smile, and you didn’t let it slow you down. You were pretttttty awesome.”)
7. I try to pull the “good” from the bad situation. This isn’t always easy and it’s not always so straight forward but, again, when you look closely, chances are you’ll be able to find something.
Let’s see this in action, shall we?
Once upon a time, I was in a relationship with a guy and I thought I was in love. Head over heels in love. I mean, seriously. I was into this 110% and while things weren’t great and he had a bad sense of fashion (oh, that was an unnecessary dig), I didn’t care.
Things progressively started getting worse and we just could not get on the same page with each other, no matter what. I’d try and try and try. I made sacrifices, I put his needs first, and I even worked really hard at making dinner one day instead of ordering it in.
But, nothing works. We decided to end things (more his decision than mine if I’m being honest), and I felt like my world was over. I was upset, I cried, and I thought, “Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?”
I went through all of the steps listed above and once the breakup fog was clearing away and I started reflecting back on the relationship, I actually thought to myself, “Whoooa… whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a second. That relationship actually kinda sucked and he was actually kind of self-centered, and pretty judgmental, and he didn’t really do much to fix things or try to repair things like I did…”
That’s when I couldn’t stop thinking about how much more caring, and kind, and giving I was in that relationship. Not just when I was trying to repair what was so painfully broken but rather during other (cough cough most cough cough) other parts of our time together.
It figuratively hit me like a sack of bricks (isn’t that the saying? Did I make that up?) that I had absolutely and totally romanticized the situation. I put this guy up on this pedestal that no matter what, he couldn’t do any wrong.
Or rather, I didn’t want to see any wrong in the things he did and said.
I was so blown away at the idea that this guy had swindled me and when my head was up in the clouds, romanticizing him and the idea of us, he was over there standing on the other side of the room being kind of a jerk while wearing mismatched clothing (another zinger).
It was only after I was removed from the situation, separated my emotions from the situations and actions that ACTUALLY happened, that I began to see the situation for what it really was – a waste of time with someone who didn’t actually care about me in the way I deserved to be cared about.
From that, I saw the silver lining in what felt like the most painful breakup in history.
1. No man should ever stay upon a pedestal that he did not climb up himself. Never again will I place someone on top of there – he has to earn that spot.
2. I’m stronger than anything life throws at me (well, or most things at least) and while things hurt really badly, I won’t dwell in that place longer than I need to to feel and experience. Once I’ve learned what I need to learn and have dealt with the emotions properly, I’m getting the hell out of that murky hole.
3. Being so caught up in the fog of something I thought was real but wasn’t definitely caused me more harm than good in the long run. Sure, it was hard on me personally, as most breakups are, but I also saw that I ignored a lot of important things in my life – I took a hiatus from being the friend and the person I want to be for the people who actually deserved my time and effort.
What the actual heck was I doing?
In a relationship, the other person should be building you up instead of looking down on you from that pedestal, helping you see your surroundings clearer rather than fogging them up with lies, and they should be enabling you to be the best you can be both professionally and personally.
What I thought I wanted was that relationship – what I actually needed was the breakup.
After the fog cleared, I was able to figure out that the universe didn’t give me what I wanted for a reason. And that was a hard lesson to learn – I don’t want to downplay that.
What I wanted, with every single fiber of my being, was that relationship and that’s because I had built it up in my head into something it wasn’t. The universe was like, “Okay, that’s cute Kate but no. You’ve had enough of this so let’s just put a stop to it, ok? Yep… Okay… Stop hugging him so tightly…”
And thank gosh it did. I can truly say that I’m happier, more focused and I’m getting back to the things that make me who I am – aka. finishing up/editing my new book!
Do me a favor and take a moment to think about a situation that you’ve been thrown into headfirst. A situation that was beyond tough. A situation that took a lot out of you emotionally.
Was it a job you wanted really badly but didn’t get?
Was it a relationship that ended before you felt it was ready (like mine)?
Was it a health scare that turned out okay but really sucked going through it?
Now, try to find that silver lining:
After the job passed you up, did you find something even better that you wouldn’t have applied to if you would’ve gotten the first job? If not the job, did you meet some really great coworkers who became friends? Did you learn a new skill or find that you were better at a certain aspect of the job you ended up taking that you didn’t expect?
If the relationship ended prematurely in your mind, did you find a kind man or woman to date after? Did you learn that you don’t need to rely on anyone else for your happiness and now you’re a strong, single badass human? Did you learn what you want and don’t want in your next relationship?
If you had a health scare (and I hate that if you did), did you find that through the turmoil you actually became closer with your family? Did friends come to your side that you thought didn’t care in that way? Did you learn to value the days just a little bit more than you did before?
The universe doesn’t always give us what we want but it does give us what we need.
Next time you find yourself in a situation that feels like it sucks, take some time to whine and stomp and then try to figure out the good you can take from it – that silver lining.
Think about the lesson or the lessons you learn as the gift you get after going through the tough stuff. Those rough patches that tested your character and your strength will truthfully only make you stronger moving forward.
(Side note: Above when I said I was finishing up/editing my new book – this is actually a chapter from it! Stay tuned darlin because I’m going to make 2018 my year)