WOTD: “Failure”

Failure-as-learning-opportunity

A good time to start this conversation, because when you say, “I’ve had a bad day,” you may be more than right. Let’s not undermine modesty here: people try to cheer you up by giving you feedback that is extremely vague. Such as: “Don’t sweat it!” or “You’re amazing!” But never any…solutions. So, yes. You will be miserable sometimes, and I’m not even going to try to justify that or bring some optimism because what’s the point? The only thing you really need to understand is that you have to suffer in order to experience the good: life’s a balance. Like the good, the bad is only temporary, and thank everyone for that because I don’t know what I would do if either emotion stood for a long time. That being said, there is failure. According to most people, failure usually means bad things and could possible lead to a bad day. But does one failure mean that you’re whole day is going to be bad? Perhaps…

I just had the worst semester I’ve known in a very long time. I lost my 4.0 GPA and ended with 3 A minuses and a B plus, which is extremely abnormal for me. However, there are people who would consider this to be a success for them, and that’s totally fine. This is part of the point I’m trying to get at: we all have different definitions of failure. To me, failure is slipping up one little time. Even though I failed, I learned A LOT last night when I was checking my grades. Don’t ever screw up your finals and don’t take any class for granted. Trust me, these mistakes will never happen again.

And that’s what we should be getting from failing. We should be learning and understanding how to NOT do them again. It’s okay to make the same mistakes twice, despite what many people say. I’m a strong believer in second chances because when we make most of our mistakes, it’s not intentional.

Failing is such a powerful word, though, that we toss around all the time. If you get an F on a test, you failed it. But if you understood 69% of the material, isn’t that pretty good? That’s a lot of information that society expects us to cram into our heads. By the way, just because I’m talking about this type of failure does not mean you should lower your expectations to make points about how our society sucks. I did that all of high school.

But what if it does? We get mad at ourselves and each other for failing, and then we’re pissed off because we were too harsh, perhaps. Yet, what if we were nice to each other? What if we tried to justify our failures, to understand them? Then, we end up lowering our expectations and the likelihood of us moving past those mistakes is close to none. When we justify, we have no urge or reason to try to fix, so we just don’t.

Then, there’s the emotional failure. You’ve failed to accomplish a goal or to satisfy someone else or yourself. Defining failure in this way is the most difficult, because it requires you to try to define your emotions, which is not going to happen. You can experience family loss, but you can’t fix that because you can’t just go find a new family. You can experience a heart break, but you can’t just pick up the pieces and pretend like nothing ever happened (even though many people do that but end up being more miserable). Because it’s hard to define our exact emotions and it’s hard to find words that pinpoint how much anger and regret can rile up inside you. So, I can’t really help you here other than to say…just cry it out. Figure out how you can fix it (which is going to be hard).

And what if I could help you? What if I could make you feel SO much better by making all your troubles disappear? Or what could I tell you that would make you feel better about your failures?

Well, option number one is optimism. Tell you that there’s hope. Tell you that things can only get better from here. Even though these are true, I can’t tell you that because those are the empty words people tell us when they don’t know what else to tell us.

Option number two is to tell you to accept the facts and move on. That may be a little too harsh, but it’s definitely the most effective.

And option number three is to make sure you understand that you’re not alone. No one is alone. We live, die, breathe together, even though we’re all individual of each other. We cry and laugh together. Our self-identities are even derived from each other, considering that things like the media and society are framing how we should look at ourselves. Or even how we perceive ourselves. We have good and bad self-images. Then, we’ve also got images of how we see other people.

However, when we suffer, that’s when we feel the most vulnerable. The most…alone. We feel as if nobody could really understand what we’re going through. And I’m not going to lie to you and say that I do because my suffering may be different from yours. My failures are definitely different from yours. My 3 A minuses and a B plus this past semester is something hopeful for a child who is living on scraps of bread. Should I justify my failure for that? No. Because everything is relative. We’re not alone in that either. There are other people who experience different failures, like the starving child, and there are other people who are experiencing the same exact failures as you. You are not alone. You are not the only one who is failing.

That should be somewhat comforting.

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2 thoughts on “WOTD: “Failure”

  1. Failure can certainly be relative – I have relatives who are really good at being dismal ones!
    I agree with your options, but also view failure as a message from the universe not to have a self-pity-party, but rather to try again a different way (how many people try, try again in exactly the same way that failed the first time!) or to direct energies into a more productive alternative.

    Liked by 1 person

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