When You Want Something To Work Out, And It Doesn’t

As you may have seen on Instagram last week, Ryan and I put an offer down on a house we loved and were under contract. In the last 24 hours before putting down our deposit, the whole deal collapsed – we couldn’t come to certain agreements with the Seller that would have made us comfortable.

I was shocked by how devastated I felt. I never in a million years would have thought I’d ever feel that emotional about a freakin’ house, but there it was.

In the course of the two weeks we were doing diligence on the house and visiting it almost every single day, my mind had full-blown fantasized about everything happening in that house.

I pictured a nursery and exactly where we’d put the crib, and little babies running around the open floor plan. I pictured our parents coming over and exactly where we’d all hang out. I pictured making my morning matcha there and exactly where my Vitamix would sit on the counter (LOL). I imagined where I’d sit and write to you, and where I’d talk intimately with my clients. I imagined how we’d grow as individuals and as a family there, finally putting down real roots somewhere.

All the things.

When it fell apart, I felt like that vision of our next stage in life went with it. On top of that, we’ve had a tough time finding houses we like here, so losing this house sent me into a scarcity and fear spiral: “it could take us another year to find something we like!”.

When I shared this on Instagram last week, I received SO many messages from you guys telling me about your past or current experiences with houses or with other things in your life that you really wanted but that fell through.

Whether you’ve lost a house you loved, didn’t get a job you really wanted, have been struggling to start a family, or a new relationship you were excited about fell through, I know we’ve all likely been in this feeling-space before. 

I wanted to share my process of mending in the past couple of weeks and the lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn in these moments. While this specific instance is about a house, this applies to many other areas, too.

As you evolve and grow, aiming for your dreams and desires, disappointments will inevitably cross your path. Learning to handle them with grace, resilience, and a strong mindset is a gift you can give yourself.

Here are some lessons I hope you can take with you if something you really want doesn’t work out:

1. There’s no roadmap for “feeling better”.

One of the most challenging parts of this for me was that I’ve never gone through the housing process before, and the feelings I had in the aftermath were new. Given that, I didn’t know the road to getting past it would go.

When I was in the dating phase of my life, every time a relationship didn’t work out, I knew how my “recovery” would go: initial disappointment, wondering if I’ll ever find anyone better, not wanting to date anyone else, but at the same time knowing that ALL those feelings pass and something better inevitably always comes.

In regards to the house, my brain wanted so badly to know when and how I’d feel better (hello, seeking control). But, I just didn’t have the answers.

I genuinely wondered: How does this work; will I always think about this house? Will I always compare future houses to this one? Do you ever get over this or is there always “the house that got away”?

Now that it’s been some time, I see that my path to mending has been similar to other losses in the past. Every day, I think about it less and the bruise feels like it’s healing.

When you lose something you wished and hoped would happen, remember that while the path to feeling better isn’t known or straightforward, time does heal. Have faith that time will do its thing.

2. While you’re mending, protect your heart.

Whenever I’d go through a break up, I learned I had to protect my heart while I healed and restored. For me, that always meant creating an environment that “protected my bruises”. I’d delete dating apps for a while and clear out things that reminded me of the person.

Similarly with the house, after it fell through, every time I looked at another house on Zillow, I’d feel a pit in my stomach. I knew it wasn’t healthy for me to keep pushing on the wound – I wasn’t ready yet. So, I deleted the Zillow app and all my notifications and asked everyone to hold off on sending me listings for a while. I just gave myself a break while all the little pieces of me were getting stronger.

It’s okay to protect your heart while you’re putting the pieces of yourself back together. Take a break. Recognize you have bruises and protect them.

3. Have grace with yourself as you move through new experiences.

Like I mentioned in #1, the house experience for me was so new and required me giving myself extra grace for not having any idea what I was doing or how to move past this type of loss.

As we move through life stages, we’re going to have new experiences. While that means we’re going to have lots of new joys and beautiful experiences, we are also going to encounter new types of disappointments.

I think whenever we’re going through something new, it requires extra compassion from ourselves. For me this week, I practiced speaking to myself with self-compassion like this:

“Jamie, I know this is a new feeling and a new kind of loss. You’ve never gone through this before and it’s uncharted territory. You’re not supposed to know exactly how this goes. Of course you feel disappointed and a feeling of loss. Take your time as you go through it.” 

This is the voice of self-compassion. A voice that understands that universally, these moments are challenging for anyone and we deserve to give ourselves grace as we move through them, especially for the first time. Practice being for yourself in this way.

4. One day you’ll be able to connect the dots + “It’s This Or Something Better”.

I can’t tell you how many of you messaged me on Instagram saying something along the lines of “We were also devastated when we lost the first home we loved (or two or three!) but we found something that is actually a much better fit in the end and you will too! Have faith.”

In life, I have constantly seen this proven to be true: while you can’t always connect the dots of why things happen when you’re going through it, in hindsight it becomes clear. I saw this so clearly in my dating life: every guy I was excited about but that didn’t work out was a valuable lesson and stepping stone to finding Ryan and being so beyond happy in my marriage. It is all distinctly clear to me now even though at the time I couldn’t see the full picture.

Last week I had to drop into a lot of pure faith that this was not meant to be our house, for reasons we perhaps can’t see right now. While it seemed “perfect” and exactly what we wanted, I have this feeling deep-down that there will be something better around the corner. While I didn’t feel this immediately — I was feeling  fear, lack and scarcity when it initially happened –, these feelings of faith have become stronger by the day.

While right now you can’t see the full picture, one day you’ll be able to look back and connect the dots. Have faith in that.

I posted about this idea of “It’s this or something better” on instagram HERE

5. You did your best at the time, given everything you knew

One of the hardest parts of this was blaming ourselves for messing up the process. In hindsight, now that we have more information about what was going on for the Seller than we did at the time, we could have probably made some different decisions that would have resulted in us having the house.

Because of that, I felt a lot of anger and blame toward ourselves:

If only we did this differently, we’d have the house.
We messed it up.

It reminded me of so many times my clients or friends, after losing something they wanted, have replayed the play-by-play of what happened over and over again in their minds, trying to figure out where they went wrong.

What I’ve learned and have always told others is that we are only supposed to have known what we knew at the time, and while we maybe did make some “mistakes”, it’s all part of the divine journey. The “mistakes” were supposed to happen, they are lessons to be learned, and we are never being “punished”.

I had to let go of the “what ifs” and come back to what was true: we made the absolute best decisions given everything that was made known to us at the time. Any lessons we learned about what we could have done differently are just lessons we get to walk away with for the next time. It’s all part of the journey.

Even if in hindsight you see things you could have done differently, remember that all you are expected to do is your best in any situation. Your imperfect best. Can you settle in that feeling of, “I am still learning, but I did my best at the time given who I was and what I knew?”

 

6. The fact that it’s not here yet means you GET to be excited for what’s to come!

This is one of my favorite lessons I learned this week. After the sting had settled, I started getting excited for “what else will pop up”.

While I know we all want certain things to be here NOW – the job, the baby, the relationship, the house – isn’t it kind of cool that it hasn’t yet arrived?

It reminds me of the quote by Atticus:

“Don’t give up now
chances are
your best kiss,
your hardest laugh
and your greatest day
are still yet to come.”

When we can relax and enjoy the ride, knowing that those moments are in our future, it brings more joy and excitement to the process and what’s to come.

7. When you’re upset you lost something, it actually means you’re clarifying what you DO want. This is so good!

One of the biggest lessons I learned in the house process is that I feel so much more clear about what we DO want. This house came out of nowhere and showed us what DOES make us excited and what we DO want in the house we settle in. The house elevated my vision and made me feel so much more CLEAR.

I remember this in dating, too. If you feel a loss after something didn’t workout, that likely means there were things about the person or the relationship that you DID like. And that’s such a great thing to learn about yourself. Every time I dated someone and it didn’t work out, it helped me clarify more and more of what I was looking for which I carried forward into my next step.

So the next time you feel a loss, try to also see it as “wow okay,  I feel disappointment because there was so much I LIKED about this thing / person / experience. I really do want x, y, and z and now I am even more clear on that.”

Our disappointments help show us more of what we DO want. What lights us up, what feels in alignment, what our true desires are.

I want to close this up by saying: life is always working out for us, even when it feels like things are happening “to us”. The more we can align with that perception, the more peace, faith, and positivity we can bring to our lives every day.

If you’re struggling with a loss of something you really wanted, I hope this gives you a tiny bit more faith that it’ll all be okay.

Sending you lots of love today and always!

xx
Jamie

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