Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

“Don’t get your hopes up.”

If I could begin to count the number of times I’ve heard this phrase over the past 5 years of my life, I probably would have gotten a better grade in math.

I’ve heard it all throughout my life- we probably all have. I began to apply for colleges and was instructed to not get my hopes up.

I began to apply for scholarships and the instruction was sent my way again.

I began to apply for internships and was met with the same advice.

And now, here I am, applying for jobs…with the same advice being carved into my brain.

I’m not supposed to get my hopes up. I’m supposed to imagine a scenario where my dream job, or internship, or grad school turns me down. And then I suppose that the imagination of this is supposed to lessen the blow should the denial come. But it never does. 

Here I am, in a similar situation that I found myself in just over a month ago. Waiting. I’m waiting to hear back from a job. It’s not just any job- it’s one that I’m truly invested in. One that I spent hours upon hours poring over my resume and cover letter to make sure that they were acceptable. I spent hours and hours poring over my work examples to ensure that they presented the right message. And now, I’m supposed to spend hours upon hours attempting to not get my hopes up.

Why not?

Why shouldn’t I get my hopes up? Why shouldn’t I apply for jobs that seem impossible to land? Why shouldn’t I put myself out there and take chances?  Why should I set myself up for failure by not believing that this is possible for me? Why shouldn’t I dream?

I’ve been turned down a number of times already, and I’m only 22. But in all of those times, I attempted to not get my hopes up. And when the rejection came- I wasn’t any less upset. I didn’t feel any better about the situation. I didn’t tell myself, “Well it’s a good thing I didn’t get my hopes up.” None of that happened. I was faced with the same sorrow each time. And no matter how many times I would tell myself that it might not happen… a part of me always wanted to believe that it could.

I don’t want to lose that part of me. I don’t want to go into every situation in my life expecting the worst. I’m not naïve enough to believe that positive thinking is all it takes to be successful in this world. But I’m also not naïve enough to believe that not getting my hopes up will ensure less disappointment with each rejection.

Life isn’t about not getting our hopes up. It’s not about preparing ourselves for the worst and expecting things to go wrong. It’s about keeping our optimism through each setback and allowing ourselves to dream. We can’t go through life preparing ourselves for the worst. We’ll spend too much time focusing on what could happen instead of experiencing what IS happening. Get your hopes up. Let yourself dream.

The greatest glory in living lives not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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