It just seems like doors are constantly being slammed in my face and nothing is working.

I don't feel like I'm burned out, but I just feel like when I'm ready to pursue a better life, it's just doors are constantly getting slammed in my face and it's just not working.
Asked by Li

Thank you for your comment/question. I will respond to this answer in a way that hopefully helps you to view some of the challenges that you have experienced in a more helpful and empowering way. First, I would like to take sometime to normalize some of the past experiences that may have led you to draw to the conclusion that, "Things haven't worked in the past and therefore probably won't in the future either." Although you may or may not have actually said this exact phrase, this could be the negative belief or message that you now subscribe to. What we believe about ourselves is one of the most important things about us as individuals.

The reality is we all experience challenges, difficulties and adversities of various types. In fact, many people choose to walk away or give up when experiencing difficulty. However, when we walk away, give up, or quit, we are foregoing the opportunity for us to grow. In other words, the way we build our emotional muscle is by going through adversity and opening up those doors after we just got slammed in the face by them.

As a therapist, one of the things that I find myself telling people is that we need to know that what we are pursuing is worth it. This means working through the difficulties that may come as a result of pursuing your goal(s). Someone once said, "Anything worth having take sacrifice." It's no different than someone who is training for a particular event or the person wanting to build muscle mass. Eventually, that person is going to have to go through the pain of training. The process is not always fun, but many times we need to go through that process to build the emotional muscle that will be required to succeed in whatever endeavor we are pursuing.

It is also important to consider that there may be reasons why the doors are getting slammed in our face. Some of the times, we may be sabotaging ourselves and we may be part of the problem. Other times, there may be circumstances that are beyond our control that caused the doors to slam. We can see this played out in the area of relationships for someone who may desire to have a partner but finds repeatedly that after some time, people just walk away. Or we can look at the area of employment, when someone repeatedly applies for a job and/or a promotion but never gets that call back or seems to be repeatedly overlooked.

As a counselor, I try to help individuals focus not so much on the door being shut, rather their response to the door being shut. I once read about the founder of Hershey's chocolate, Milton S. Hershey. Milton had nearly 1,000 rejections regarding his recipe for chocolate. Later, he was asked if he ever felt like giving up, after experiencing so many slammed doors, so-to-speak. Milton's response was impressive. He replied, no, rather he saw each rejection or "slammed door" as an opportunity to perfect his recipe, until it was finally accepted. There are countless similar accounts of individuals who have experienced quite similar opposition. Even Abraham Lincoln was rejected countless times before becoming president. You see, if Milton and Lincoln would let the slammed doors keep them from trying again, they would never have experienced success in the way they did.

The same is true for us today. Sometimes we need to reconsider what we are pursuing while other times we need to continue to press on and move forward. Yes, we will need to adapt along the way. Yes, there may be times when we feel like giving up. However, feelings do not determine truth and we can use the power of reframing to help us see the bright side of things. I have encouraged many clients over the past several years to take the "mess" and turn it into a "message."

What is it about individuals who are able to overcome and continue pursuing their goal? We may have a tendency to think these people were "special" and they had incredible abilities which helped them obtain favor and success. While this may be true to an extent, we all have gifts, abilities and are unique. It's not all about possessing the perfect skill set or having all of the right credentials. Rather, the thing that separates those who succeed from those who do not is resiliency. 

Resiliency, as defined by the Oxford dictionary states that it is: '1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.' Or '2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.' Wow! Isn't this what we all need? A measure of resiliency. Resiliency says you can knock me down but you cannot knock me out. Resiliency says, I may be down but I'm not out.

So as you get back up and move forward, consider the stories of Milton S. Hershey and former President Lincoln and countless others. And know that you do not have to go through this alone. We were not created to do life alone. Surround yourself with people whom you trust and who are for you. People who support you and help you get up when you may fall. Ask yourself, who do I have in my life who can help me along this journey I'm on? I would encourage you to consider talking to a therapist who may be an additional support for you. Someone who is not there to judge but to help you along your way. Someone who can listen to you when needed. 

I hope this response has offered you, perhaps a new way to view the situation(s) you find yourself in. In addition, I hope you can be encouraged as you move forward opening back up those doors that once slammed you in the face or perhaps finding a new door to open.