Someone once said, “The way a person handles disappointment reveals a great deal about what is important in his life.”

Grief, sadness, disappointment and regret — we are all familiar with these emotions. Often, we feel them all together, and it is rare that one does not accompany the other. Even though it might feel like all the weight of the world is on your shoulders, one cannot simply accept defeat and let the uncomfortable feeling of disappointment hold them back. No matter how many tears you shed, it is inevitable that one day you will have to wake up and make peace with the world, for a rainbow never appears had there not been rain before.

Ever since I was young, it had been my greatest dream to attend Harvard, “the best university”, as it was called by my mother. All my life I had worked hard and maintained my grades, so that one day I could get into my dream university. All my friends and acquaintances were confident that I would be able to get into Harvard; after all, I had only ever passed with flying colours all my life.

However, my whole world fell apart when I got my rejection letter from my dream university. Everyone, including me, had gotten their hopes up so high that it was a long way down.

I caved into myself, not understanding where I had fallen short, despite having given my best. Nothing was able to revive me, not even getting into Yale, a “second best” university as I considered it. I cried all day and night, and barely ate or drank anything, letting my immeasurable disappointment and grief eat me away, because the problem with wearing your heart on your sleeve is that it can get bruised easily.

Each time I used to try to get a grip on myself, the feeling of rejection would come back and hit me like a train. But I knew that life could not go on like this. I knew that even though the news was hard to swallow, I had to take it in or risk choking on it. Though it was hard at first, I tried, little by little every day, and I pulled myself back together because it is okay to lose and to fail.

It doesn’t matter how many times or how hard you fall, it is how quickly you get back up that counts.

Even though it was painful at first, I accepted my admission in Yale and attended my classes with a stone over my heart. Over time the wound healed itself up. And even though my future turned out to be different than the one I imagine it to be, I still won for I fell down and got back again. I did not let my disappointment put a muzzle on me and command me to its will.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 11th, 2022

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