Failure   Leave a comment

I do not know how many times I have either said or heard someone else say, “I’m my own worst enemy.” We are harder on ourselves and “beat ourselves up” over even the smallest of mistakes or miss steps.  On the other hand, when we are successful, we minimize it and pass it off as being the result of luck, or due to the efforts of someone else.

 Unfortunately, failure has a way of finding us at our weakest times, especially, just as we are getting back to our feet after having fallen down due to a relapse. We feel like that we are just getting going good, doing everything that we are “suppose to do”: taking medication, keeping our appointments, going to support groups, talking to peer support, etc.  Then “LIFE HAPPENS”: we get in an argument with our significant other, Money is tight and you can’t pay the rent, you become physically ill, etc.  It can be any of thousand’s of triggers. As I have listed these, pause for just a moment and ponder the “triggers” that have tripped you up in early recovery in the past. Jot this list down, for later consideration.   These triggers may by huge challenges, or simply unknown ones that we are unprepared for, because we are at a place in our life we have never experienced before… getting better! 

 Let me draw a parallel with a real life experience that we all share. Consider an infant when it is learning to walk. It is a process of successes and failures. We stand supported… we stand unsupported… we walk supported… we walk unsupported. However, what happens form stage to stage, many MANY failures and falls. But, what would have happened if we had given up and quit. We would still be crawling! Recovery, especially in the early stages is just like being a baby all over again.  Just like an infant learning to walk, we need support to help us to keep our feet in the beginning. We must have supportive friends and family that are knowledgeable of our illness, and caring enough to intervene and even confront us if need be when we begin demonstrating behaviors that indicate that we might be starting to relapse. At the same time, we have to understand our own weakness at this time and have an open ear and mind to hearing them out and considering their perspective.  We must not become defensive and guarded, because they may be seeing something in us that we can not yet see for ourselves. But gradually, as we grow we still need our support system we just are not as reliant upon them.

Failure is not when we make mistakes and fall down; it is when we choose to give-up, quit and stop trying. Refusing to stand and walk again. I came across the following quote regarding failure:

 If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.  Mary Pickford (1893 – 1979)

 Ms Pickford was a Canadian born actress and “America’s First Sweetheart”. She appeared in an astounding 236 films. In addition, she was also a writer and producer. Also among her accomplishments is assisting in the establishment of “Universal Artist Pictures” and she was a founding of the “Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences”. She won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the “Academy” in 1976.

 Falling down and relapse to one degree or another is inevitable! The true challenge is when I do fall what I am I going to do with it? Quitting and giving up has been our usual response in the past, it is what comes easy; it is “all we have known.” We have long told ourselves. “I am a failure; that’s what I do”. “I will never succeed at anything.” As long as we continue to in this mentality, we will perpetuate the cycle of failure. Just as another person we all know said, and I am sure that he had more than his share of failures along the way. Where would we be without his successes?

 Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.  Thomas A. Edison (1847 – 1931)

 More people give up when they are on the brink of a break-through. Don’t quit just when you can’t go on, give it one more push and see that you will realize strengths and capabilities that you may have never tapped into in the past. However, once they have been tapped, then the resources are there for you as you move on from here.

 You are NOT the sum of your failures! Your failures and mistakes do NOT define who you are!  So I urge you:  

                        STAND UP

                                                DUST YOURSELF OFF

                                                                                                And

                                              WALK!

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