Happy Wednesday friends and I guess happy April as well! I hope the week has been good to you so far. I'll be honest it's been a rough few days, but as you'll see the net couple of weeks, this month is full of a lot of hard memories and anniversaries, so I've been expecting things to be a little harder and have been giving myself a bit more grace when things get tough.
The funny thing about this post on failure is that I've been wanting to share it on here for a couple weeks or more at this point, and I have failed, day after day to do it. Overall I've been sitting on the thoughts themselves for a while now and try to refer to them whenever I need extra confidence, but last night I read through a few really touching emails from you some of you(I read all the personal emails from readers by the way:)), and so in realizing that this post was another answer of sorts I made myself get it done, so here I am. Bear with me if I'm a little scattered in putting my thoughts together:)
What I want to say definitely isn't anything groundbreaking or new, and it's not something that I've learned so well that I'm passing on my wisdom, far from it. This is something that as I said earlier that I struggle with constantly and try to remind myself of every day, and I simply want to remind you of it too.
Quite often as a mother, and sometimes non-stop for days or even weeks during the past year especially, I have felt like a failure. So let down in myself as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, as a housekeeper, as a blogger/earner for my family, as a member of my community, as a contributor to society, etc. No matter how many times I tell myself I'm allowed time to breathe, at the end of the day we still need to eat and pay bills, and I can't help feeling frustrated at how much I really need to do and how little I'm actually able to achieve. Even just yesterday I was reminded on my new youtube video(where I set a big goal for posting) how many goals like that that I've made in the past, and how many times I've failed to follow through, for one reason or another.
I was having a particularly hard day last week when Richard noticed my mood and asked what was the matter. I told him that I just felt like I was falling short in all those aspects that I mentioned above, that I feel like a failure, that I couldn't get anything right, and that I just couldn't get ahead no matter how hard I pushed myself. That I felt exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He assured me that I was doing just fine and made me feel better immediately, but I know that those moments happen to most all of us (edit: originally I said 'especially mothers' here, but I want to stress that while most of my struggles are around being a mother, we all share these moments mother's or not:)) over and over and over again.
I know there are times when you shut yourself in the bathroom for a moment of peace and just cry into your hands thinking about how you can't keep up.
I know that you've felt alone in a crowded room because you think that nobody understands what you're going through.
I know that you look at Instagram and Facebook and feel like a failure because you think your family isn't as happy or your marriage isn't as perfect as everyone else's, or your house as perfectly decorated and tidy as all the rest.
I know that you've gone to sleep with a wet pillow and smeared mascara more times than you can count.
I know that there are days where you feel every ounce of strength is drained from your body and you don't know if you can move.
I know that you look around at your life and wonder if you're making a difference at all, after you've worked so so hard.
I know, because I've talked to thousands of you in the last few years and we have all felt one or all of those ways at one point or another. I need these nextwords probably more than any of you, but stop it right now. I know it's easier said than done, but this is the main point of this post and it's that failure means that you're trying. And I know you're trying your best, and that's enough.
I heard a story a while ago about a family, where every night at dinner the dad would ask the children what they had failed in doing that day. That seemed really sad and depressing to me at first, but then the story went on that the children would proudly state how in what areas or ways they'd failed and would be congratulated. Why? Because failing at something meant that they had tried, and trying is the only way to succeed at anything. Because the one who falls and gets back up is so much stronger than the one who never took a shaky step forward. Because in order to achieve greatly at something, you have to be brave enough to fail miserably.
I have this newspaper clipping on my dresser and it says:
'You've failed many times although you may not remember.
You fell down the first time you tried to walk.
You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn't you?
Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat?
Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home-runs, also strike out a lot.
R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.
English novelist John Casey got 753 rejection letters before he published 564 books.
Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.
Don't worry about failure.
Worry about the chances you missed when you didn't even try.'
So at this point I feel like I've said a lot of things that sound good in theory, but there are still things that have to be done that are beyond us. Circumstances that mean to matter how many times we tell ourselves we're trying our best, that sometimes our best simple won't be good enough for whatever reason. I guess all that I'm trying to say is, go easy on yourself. You'll have days that you rock it and days that go horribly awfully wrong, and someone might come along and turn those days around or you might just escape to hide under the covers and try to forget everything, and that's okay too.
I want to push forward more than anything and do more of what makes me happy and that will produce more laughter from my family, but as I said, there are still many more days when I just want to stay in th basement with my babies eating snacks and watching cartoons without an ounce of physical, mental, or emotional energy.
There are days that I set out feeling so energized and motivated, and then a song will come on that suddenly takes me back a year and I'm useless for the rest of the day. Trying to move through chores and to-do lists suddenly will feel like trekking through tar. My chest will feel the all-too-familiar crushing grasp of heartache and the pull of fear and depression, and I can't get images out of my head of happy days gone by, or of memories that just hurt so much. Sometimes I can't stop the fear of being abandoned or of letting down my loved ones, of pushing too hard and taking on too much, of not doing enough or being enough. Some days I'm tired of failing over and over, and it's okay to stop and rest and to just be. Failure isn't permanent, giving up is perminant.
Don't give up.
Please stop being so hard on yourself. Take a moment to sit back and marvel at the grief that softened you, at the heartache that wisened you, at the suffering that strengthened you. Despite everything in your life that tries to pull you down you still move forward, you still grow, and you still keep trying every day, and that is enough.
Life can be so so hard. All I'm trying to say is stop demonizing the word fail, and think of it as a step closer towards your goal, not a setback. So, as funny as it may sound, I hope you fail today, and every day:)
Chin up, beautiful,