If Only

Failing, failure, falling down…it is all a part of the process of understanding your own purpose and will. Much time is spent on the art of motivating and explaining the process of getting up and there is a multitude of help in form of text, analysis and counseling in our saturated help banks. Something amidst the almost infinite information always seems to apply to you. Some of us read small and moving quotes from philosophers, poets, teachers, or politicians copy them into our ever increasing trauma tool box, and search yet again because the source didn’t quite suffice. This Band-Aid mentality seems to come in spurts or phases to be applied to “bad days”, “bad weeks” or “bad years”. Some of us will go down the block and take the metro to the psycho healer we’ve paid out our month’s salary for the answer which is most often produced in a question to ourselves, or an increase in Prozac. Mind you, I am totally in awe of those Samaritans that read the blueprint in their patient so well that the right questions are asked. However, the patient has to want to answer, has to be willing to take the plunge into a possible dark abyss. A lot can be avoided perhaps by embracing failure, embracing the lessons and stepping away from your own ego. So often conversations dealing with stumbling starts with “if only” and that is the first pitfall. The “If Onlys” of the world more than often have mentioned the term before, feeling cursed, feeling continuously lost. It takes a moment to see a failure for what it is, big or small…it is experience. It is an extra wrinkle and light spot in the brain, in the journey. The trick is reducing “if only” from the vocabulary. As a Boy Scout “be prepared” was always a banner flying aphorism which kept me as a child pretty much in check of the failure department (regardless of my many brushes with mediocrity) . It is as adults where we believe failure counts. It doesn’t. My child is taught that failure is always possible and always fixable. The experience is the center of what she has to evaluate. What was the cause, what was the circumstance, why didn’t I see it coming? Most important, “how can I use the experience to avoid the next pitfall?”  The small failures of a child seem trivial to those caught up in the own “woe is me” carousel. Those failures and stumbles in the formative years and the courage to beat them back with a laugh and a try-over is what will infuse the will and understanding to avoid the “if onlys” that haunt us as adults. Try it with your kids and learn from them. It is never too late to “not take it anymore” meaning of course treating defeat like an incurable disease. It isn’t. We are much more resilient than our fear-induced psychic-phenomena.


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