Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Barbara Crafton writes:
I judge myself harshly, looking uselessly around for something to blame when I fail, as if failure were a moral category. It's not. It's just a fact of human life. We fail at things sometimes. It's not such a big deal.

Every time we try to deny this, we get into trouble. It's usual these days to avoid the word failure altogether: it's judgmental finger pointing, we tell each other. There really aren't any failures. There are just challenges.

Oh, please. Let's not minimize the pain of not being able to do something you want very much to master, the sharp sting of it, the way foolish tears assemble behind your eyes and threaten a march down your face when it happens. We don't have to wear a damn smiley face every moment of every day. Embracing the truth of failure could de-fang it for us, let us know that it's okay to feel terrible about not being able to do something because the feeling will pass. You will try again. You will learn how. Having failed doesn't make us failures; no person is ever a failure. We may have failures -- and, for honesty's sake, I want very much to embrace the painful truth of mine -- but we never become one.
My issue tends to be mistakes rather than failure, but the two are very close. I'm beginning to think that remembering that the feelings will pass may be the most useful approach to a lot of things.

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