Monday, December 15, 2008

Failure and moving on

"If you have made mistakes . . . there is always another chance for you. . . . You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down but the staying down." --Mary Pickford.

We all strive for success (or at least, we strive not to fail), but failure is an important part of life. We learn when we fail, and it shapes us as much as success does. As painful as the lessons can be, as difficult as it can be to rise again, it's in our human nature to get back up. 

My coaching instructor put it this way: "We are never overcoming. We are always becoming." I love this sentiment. It makes me think about the failures or bad times in my life. Although I don't necessarily love the bad things, I do realize that they made me who I am, and I like who I am now. I won't necessarily embrace and seek out failure, but I do acknowledge its value.

One of the most difficult things I've ever had to acknowledge in my life was a very bad relationship in my younger days. I thought I knew better, I thought I was smart enough not to get involved with someone who would try to control me or be mean to me. But I fell for it anyway. For more than a decade after, I was angry at myself for being "so stupid" as to not see the signs. One day, I suddenly realized that to truly let this painful episode go, I had to forgive myself. It took some time, but I finally did let it go. I don't relish the memory of this relationship, and I don't want to dwell on it, but I know that it was important to who I am today and my very healthy marriage as well as my self-respect.

What failures have been important in your life? What have you learned from a failure that serves you now?

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