You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.
– Johnny Cash
There are times when my mistakes, or what I perceive as mistakes, burn bright in my gut, blister my soul, and ravage my fortitude. In those moments, I don’t see my failures or my struggles or doubts as stepping stones. I am unable to close the door, and, instead, feel as if the world is devouring me where I sit huddled on my couch.
Those moments feel similar to the end of a vacuum hose placed upon my forearm, sucking my skin into its dark hole. All my energy is drained, taken from me like cream from milk, and there is no ability or willingness to try again, to remember there is hope.
I could say I pull myself up by my boot straps, or, if you like, my big-girl panties, but I’ve never really been able to do that. On my own, with my own mind, I languish in doubt and self-absorption. I falter and fall, flounder and flail, and usually find something that will help me to pretend or to give up or to convince myself I never needed to do different anyway or to ever try anything new in the first place.
Now, I ask the universe for help. I do this in various ways. I pray, ask for guidance. I call someone and relay my fears, my doubts, my willingness to try again even if that willingness is minute and barely hanging on with a thread.
I cultivate gratitude for what I do have and for what I have been able to do and see. I generate love down deep for those around me: to know them, to witness them living their lives, to hear them laughing and smiling.
I gather the facts of what’s ailing me. Most commonly, what’s ailing me, is that I’m not good enough in some way shape or form. That inadequacy can manifest itself in my work, in my raising my kids, in my financial participation with my family, in my relationships and so on.
I have a magnifying mind that zooms in on the most negative thing I can see, then I stay there. I’m unable to see the whole painting, all the colors, the range of texture and feeling. I see only what I believe is unacceptable.
The facts help me to back up, take another look, see the whole painting not just the scary storm of doom and destruction.
Before I know it my failures are stepping stones, something to build on. I’m able to close the door but remember without dwelling. I don’t have to offer my time, energy, or space up for the slaughter. I can raise my head, smile, and know there is work to do be done and I’m capable of doing it.
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