Failure Taught Me More Than If I Succeeded

Yes, I Failed Myself But I Learned So Much More Then I Would If I'd Succeeded

It's OK to fail and fall down, but it's the climb back to the top that you will remember.

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Failure. A lack of success. Not succeeding in something you set out to do. Failure is one of the scariest things to go through in life. No one wants it, yet somehow, at one point in our lives, we all encounter it. We don't expect to fail, it just sneaks up on you out of nowhere and then BAM!

For me, my failure came at a young age... well my first encounter with failure.

And you might say, "You're only 19... how can you have already failed yourself?" But honestly, I failed myself on such a major level and no one can tell me otherwise. I set out to achieve greatness, to prove everyone wrong and more importantly to prove myself right. But tragically, I proved everyone right.

After my freshman year in college, I was so defeated. I went to accomplish my goals and I did not even come close to achieving them. Yes, I made so many friends and was so different than how I acted in high school. I became this social butterfly, which was totally different than the shy girl I was just six months earlier.

But no matter how many friends I made, my academic goals were not met.

The feeling of failing yourself cannot be compared to any other felling one might encounter within their lifetime. And it is that feeling that made me vow to never feel that shame ever again. I vowed to myself that I was going to change my 2018 year around one way or another.

With that being said, I started by organizing my life. I got a wall dry erase calendar and different color dry erase markers to organize every aspect of my life. On top of that calendar, I purchased a planner to write out in pencil what I had to do every day. I realized that being disorganized it the start of my problems. I would overwork myself by not scheduling me time or time for me to properly do homework which made me such a spaz.

Then I decided it was time to do something for myself. I set out to apply to become a writer for Odyssey. When my president contacted me saying that I was accepted into the community, I truly felt like this was going to help. I started writing pieces I was so proud about such as my article about my old best friend, my article about my dad that got over 5,000 views or the article about my town hero.

Me writing articles gave me an artistic outlet to put my thoughts on paper.

I decided it was time for me to go back to coaching cheer and choreographing for my mom and the other teams in our organization. With my sister being on a team, my sister-in-law and mom coaching, I thoroughly enjoyed spending more time than I normally would on the weekends. I found my passion again for cheerleading through my little girls who definitely gave me a run for my money. I was able to be creative and my creativity shined through my two teams at our showcase.

I lastly decided it was time to block out everyone's opinions and just worry on my own. Everyone has their own opinion and they are entitled to it. But it's when the opinions are non stop flowing into my life that makes me panic. I enjoy hearing from others, when it's appropriate or when I ask for the advice. But when its non-stop about how I'm living my life the wrong way, it makes my head do 360s.

This past year I learned that life is about living for yourself and proving yourself right. Although it took me failing myself... I'm glad I learned this important life lesson that everyone should learn once in their lifetime.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject. It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease. The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own. We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time. Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death. However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me. In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident. A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life. I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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4 Things I Wish High School Me Knew

Every day has a purpose.

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People don't give high school enough credit for having the ability to shape your life. It can build you or it can break you and often times there is no in between. As I enter into my senior year of college I have reflected a lot on my college career and how it really has been the best years of my life up to this point, but I know that without a doubt my life would have been so different in I would have known these things as a high schooler.

1. Your life is valuable

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. - Ephesians 2:4-7

2. You aren't defined by your singleness. 

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. - Song of Solomon 2:7

4. You aren't going to fit in

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2

4. Your clothes aren't going to fit forever, don't spend all of your money on them 

Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." - Luke 12:15

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