“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” Maya Angelou
“Don’t let the incidents which take place in life bring you low. And certainly don’t whine. You can be brought low, that’s OK, but don’t be reduced by them. Just say, ‘That’s life.” Maya Angelou
I would question why so many people worry so much about failing except I do it myself. One never plans on fretting but somehow it filters in. As children we attempt to do the somersault everyone has already mastered. We practice because it isn’t cool to be the only one who hasn’t done it. As children, we hide our grade if it is lower than a B or 80, in case everyone else did better. If we come in last while running a race, we blame it on a late bedtime or too much for breakfast. It can never be something intrinsic.
As we mature our attitude towards failing only gets worse. We begin comparing ourselves to everyone. Girls usually need to dress in a similar fashion to make the correct statement. Boys must pass the I am tough test to be included in the group. It could be the athletic group or the math group but having similar qualifications is important in order to be accepted.As adults we don’t stop. We still look for approval and dread anything less than that which is considered failure. If we think about it long enough and hard enough we find a pattern. No one wants to be alone or outside the circle. We all want to fit in somewhere or someplace. Crashing is just not part of the scenario.
What nobody is willing to look at is the fact that we all do fail and likely many times. To admit it would be next to God-like. Why do we feel like such a loser when we collapse? I wonder why. Sometimes we are forced to learn by falling down. It isn’t necessary for anyone, including ourselves, to make a big commotion about it. We all hate nose-diving, and probably attempt to hide our unsuccessful attempts, as if it was a reflection of who we are. Maybe we worry we will be stamped with the words FAILURE written on our backs. We will have to carry the stigma around forever so we think.
We might become almost close to fear at times. The doubts about overcoming our mistakes creep in and dominate our thoughts. As teens we worry if we will ever have a boyfriend or girlfriend whichever the case. If our friends are all involved it makes it so much worse. Again we feel diminished. We can’t look our friends in the eyes because they might see our ineptness. Somehow as we go through life we find it necessary to complete all of the landmarks we find as rites of passage and entrance to maturity. Everyone expects it of us including our family. As we continue through adulthood it doesn’t change much as we still feel the need to succeed at opportunities presented to us.
How important these opportunities are is not as relevant as accomplishing the tasks necessary. We never question what the reason is for the completing of the tasks. We never doubt how or why they have such a sense of importance to us regarding belonging. We don’t ever consider what happens to all those who can’t do something and basically fail. We just count our blessings that it isn’t us. As adults, if everyone has a trimmed yard, we will toil in our yard.
The people who fail are hurt beyond compare and go through some soul-searching and if they are lucky they find how pointless it was to reach for the silly goals of being like everyone else. At some point we are all unsuccessful at certain things because we are all different. It isn’t vital for us to run a fifty mile dash in a certain amount of time or become the hero everyone adores.
Missing the mark sends us into a period of questioning our motives and beliefs. Are we doing something we want or is it anther’s wish. Falling down teaches us tolerance patience and humility. We learn to continue towards our goal. We take our time and begin to look at other people who missed their goal of becoming winners. Perhaps they and we just haven’t made it to the finish line yet. Probably many of us cheer the failures on because we can identify with them on many levels. We likely see ourselves in them.
We would have to be very egotistical to imagine we could accomplish everything on a first attempt. When we fail we recognize our need to persevere in the task. We don’t give up. Maybe we learn that we also can’t give up on people in general. So what if they failed and let us down. They need another chance and we will give it to them.
If we learn so much from crashing I see it as a good thing. We don’t have to look at it as something to brush under a rug. The lessons are greater than the ones that come from winning. Our status is not tied to a golf game or baseball or soccer game. It is not tied to our ability to knit or crochet. It is also not tied to how perfect we are as parents or how many times we did or didn’t control our temper.
I view malfunctioning as a way to go back to the start and begin anew. We think defeat is a bad thing, because we view in terms of the intrinsic qualities of the person. A miscarriage simply means we have not overcome our challenges, whatever they may be. So what if someone buys all the correct foods for the baby. So what if some kids are totally disciplined. There is no correct way for anything. There are many ways to raise kids, discipline with love, nurture and take care of a home. Our method can be as worthwhile as anyone else’s. Having faith in our abilities is vital.
If we fret and question what we do in comparison to others, we will never trust we are doing anything correctly. We have our own ways. My mother had total control over her kids. The result was her adults kids were easier going and relaxed on discipline. The house was clean but not neat and life was flexible and the children were happy.
I wonder if she grew up in a home that was more flexible so she chose to be strict. I guess that proves parental rearing can go in many different ways and kids survive and thrive. Failure can be what we want it to be. It can make us realize we are in the wrong field, make us stronger and make us stretch beyond what we ever thought was possible. All it takes is a different name for what we call being unsuccessful at something we are attempting to do. Maybe we are not old enough just yet. Perhaps we haven’t learned enough about the subject. It is possible we have not persevered a long enough time. Whatever way you want to deal with it suffice it to say it doesn’t define who you really are. It counts about as much as a game of ball.
Don’t get cornered by failures. See them as life scars that have added dimension to your soul. You are more than your failings. Your many attempts stretch you beyond recognition into something far finer and more impelling. You have faced fear and overcome it in your demonstration of your survival.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Khalil Gibran
Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them. Rabindranath Tagore
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson