What Does It Mean: Getting Back Up From Failure
“Because the dawn right before the sun rises is the darkest.”
The last quarter of 2018 till this year has undeniably been personally rough for me. I was consistently giving myself (and people around me who probably never asked for it, I apologise) pep-talks on getting back up after failure. When you fail your first mock paper, it still stings a little. But after failing 5 mock papers in a row, you find yourself being numb to it. And after failing a couple more mocks in a row, you would develop a thick skin. I was ironically joking that I had a “winning” streak of failing all my mocks. Did it hurt my pride? Of course, of course it did. Was I ashamed in any way at all? Of course, of course I was. Did I show it at all? No. I covered it up with sarcasm and an aloof attitude instead. Did it help? No, not really.
So where am I in this stage of life right now?
I thought I would not be as directionless as I was, but new developments have now pushed me back to square one. I only have one final attempt before I’m deemed as being unable to complete my course. Or, as so nicely phrased in my head, being deemed as an utter failure. But before anyone comes to my defence (or offence, depending how you view my inner voice), this is going to be my third attempt and final attempt given to me to complete this course. How could I not feel like the scum of the earth when I’m repeatedly failing the same thing over and over again?
One of the epiphanies I had this year was how pride is able to become your own roadblock if you are not careful. When I was feeling utterly useless and dumb, I kept everything sealed within me. Instead of talking to others, I was facing the ceiling, wrapped in a blanket cocoon on my bed — with music being the only thing reaching out to me. What hurt the most was losing the passion I had. I came to a point where I couldn’t understand any longer why I was even studying in this field. Everything felt so directionless and pointless.
When I found out the news of my first resits, I was devastated. But I had exams the next month, so I was distracted quickly. When I found out results of my second resits, I was heading home in a few weeks — I was distracted just as quickly.
When I received news that I needed to resit for the third time, I lost it. There was nothing to really distract me — I was distraught. The mental battle involved in taking a paper/subject again and facing people too? It takes so much courage and strength for a person to not hide themselves away when they are faced with such a predicament. I am not as strong — I find myself still trying to avoid dealing with others as much as I possibly can. And I admit, that is unhealthy as I’ve been taking it out on myself instead of talking it out and making peace with it.
Everyone is always saying, “don’t give up?”, “one last push!”, “you can do it!.” But truth be told, saying you’ll get back up and actualising it are two very different things.
What is getting back up from failure, really?
Does getting back up from failure mean that I am able to pretend that it’s never happened? Does getting back up from failure mean I am able to completely detach myself emotionally from the event? Does getting back up from failure mean I can keep putting on a happy face despite my predicament?
I don’t think so.
Getting back up from failure ultimately involves making peace with yourself. To not beat yourself up for the “what if’s” or “what could have been’s”. There may be others who you could deem as worse off, but their situations do not automatically invalidate what you feel. You are allowed to feel. Getting back up from failure also involves the need to admit that you’re not okay. You may not be feeling okay — and that is okay. It’s okay to feel blue. It’s okay to feel disappointed. Really, who would blame you for feeling that? It may be a wrench in your plans, but getting back up from failure involves understanding that life isn’t always going to go the way you want it to. Getting back up from failure involves taking a breather, considering new ways to get to your goal, a new mindset, and treating yourself kindly.
You deserve to get to your goal.
You’ll get there.
And even if you don’t, it’s not going to be the end of the world.
When one door closes, another door opens.
So, what does getting back up from failure mean to you? Feel free to share your thoughts!
What Does It Mean will be a series where I choose a random topic, share my views about the matter, and where I also hope to be able to get your insight and interact more with all of you who may be reading my work!