What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.
– Mary Pickford
Failure, one of life’s playfellows. There are little everyday failures that we swipe from our minds because they seem inconsequential, like failing to use our turn signal when changing lanes.
Even if a fellow driver honks at our blatant failure, we may wave in hopes of assuaging their anger, but we don’t internalize that failure as the epitome of who we are.
We don’t use forgetting to signal as a way of destroying our whole day or year, or the rest of our lives. We move on, either with the idea of being more mindful or not caring all that much.
There are other failures that bring us to our knees though, and we may find it difficult to stand. We may believe there is no point in rallying ourselves. “We’re just going to fail again,” we say.
And so, we become conditioned to laying on the ground and wallowing. We begin to hate those that walk around us. “Why do they stand and walk and I lay here suffering?” we may ask, as we wail at the universe for a crappy lot in life.
I was one of those, laying on the ground, wondering why I was stuck in the muck of my own disappointment and failed dreams. The thought never registered that maybe I manufactured my own bed of disillusionment and woe-is-me mentality.
I didn’t know that 99% of the people walking and standing did so because they were willing to fail again and again but weren’t about to stop getting back up, no matter how many times they fell.
I figured someone gave them something I wasn’t given. I believed they were better than me, stronger than me, smarter than me, luckier than me…
I didn’t know that my effort was all that I needed to concern myself with. And, really, this thing called life was more about the day in and day out experiences of living and doing than it was about where I arrived.
Because, if I consider where we arrive when life is done with us, it’s not anywhere I need get to quicker than another. The grave doesn’t embody life, fulfillment, love, laughter, and all the things I wish to experience.
I experience life in the living of my life, which requires me to get back up and keep going. That means, when I fail and flounder and fall down, I need to rally myself to get up again.
I may need to ask for help or try another way or let go of something, but I get back up and keep going. Because, “[w]hat we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.”
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