Do you know what it feels like to fail? Do you know what it feels like to not meet standards; to not be enough?
Why are we so afraid of failing anyway? Well, it’s simple. It’s because we don’t want to let people down. We’re tired of the tearful, sad looks people give us when we fail. We’re tired of not being able to reciprocate the trust that people give us. We’re tired of not doing the right thing. We don’t want to let people down anymore; we don’t want to let ourselves down.
When I encountered my first failure this semester, someone told me that failure is part of everything. That in order to learn, we need to fail. I’ve heard it a million times. I’ve heard the list of successful failures a thousand times and I know that I’m gonna hear the same lines again when I fail. Sure, it’s inspiring. It’s inspiring to hear that these people succeeded despite their previous failures. It’s heartwarming to hear about how these people conquered the negative responses of others by proving themselves. Yes, I’m amused, I’m motivated, but no, that doesn’t mean that I’m okay with failure.
It hurts to fail. It hurts to fail when you know you tried your best. It hurts to fail when you know you could’ve done more. It hurts to fail when you see pity in people’s eyes. It hurts to fail because you know that there’s so much at stake. Ultimately, it hurts to fail when you’re no longer the only one involved.
I thought about it countlessly—how my parents would feel disappointed, how my friends would feel like distractions, how my professors would feel inadequate. It’s horrible because I feel like failure brings me to the ground where I have to be dusted and picked up. It’s horrible because I feel like failure makes me so helpless because I can’t undo failure, I can only do over it and it’s not that easy.
Failing is painful. Failing is horrible, but to a certain extent it is true that failure teaches us a lot of things. It strengthens us and helps us to push ourselves to greater limits. Failure is one of the greatest motivators. It wakes us up when we’re half asleep. Failure reminds us that there are people there to help us, and that there are people counting on us. It humbles us.
Failure is a lifeline. We either push it away or embrace it and hold on to it ‘till we get back to shore. Hold on to your failures. It’ll keep you swimming by, but remember: don’t ever let your ship sink again.