Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Try, try again

Failure. It's the word I can't get out of my head. It seems to keep crawling back up my arm and onto my shoulder, whispering in my ear that I'm not good enough. Plenty of people have told me I'm too hard on myself, that I hold myself to too high a standard and some have even said that I hold everyone to too high a standard. I don't know, maybe it's true. But I just can't settle.

Everyone has a certain part of themselves that they loath. The part that makes mistakes, looses its cool, sleeps in, wastes time, is inconsiderate and forgetful, treats others poorly. There are a multiplicity of sins I could add to this list of things I see and hate in myself. We all have imperfections and we all deal with that fact differently. Some like to ignore it, pretending that their faults don't exist. Maybe for them accepting the fact that they are imperfect means accepting defeat. Some like to emphasize their weaknesses and tell everyone about each mistake. Some get angry and defensive when faced with their faults and some curl up into the fetal position and give up, thinking that the challenge of overcoming them is too much.

I exhibit each method of dealing with my flaws to some extent. But for the most part, when one of my less-than-desirable traits is brought to my attention either by someone else or an illuminating circumstance, I tend to dwell on it get really down on myself. I start bringing up other things that I’m not good at and things start to spiral downward. However, I usually don’t let this go on for too long and soon I am much more motivated to be better – to handle the situation better next time, to be less effected by my emotions, to hold my tongue instead of brazenly speaking my mind.

Pearl S. Buck, author of The Good Earth, said, “Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.” I think that is true. We have the choice, many times even in the very act of making a mistake, to choose a better way, to right the wrong. I hope that through my many failures I learn to recognize that split second when I am capable of altering my gut reaction and that experience by experience my character will be refined. Of course any progress I make in this life is wholly due the One who makes hope into reality. I read this when my human imperfections press on me most heavily and all at once I know where to turn for strength.

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