“People Just Like You” Series – Dolly Parton “You will never do a whole lot
“Often, its the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self” Karen Salmansohn
Life is a mystery they say, just as we see waves momentarily rise from the ocean, expressing shape and individuality before they recede back into the sea, so is life’s journey.
Some say life is a journey. I couldn’t agree more. It is a journey filled with hard lessons, heartbreaks, ecstatic and joyous moments, celebrations, special moments, hardships and frustrations at every twist and turn.
The challenges that life presents will test our resolve, our courage, strengths and faith. And at some point we may question our very existence and at other times we would wish to live forever.
Since life’s journey is not without its obstacles and set-backs, the pertinent question remains how we react or respond to the shades that life throws our way. Our response will determine the outcome of what the rest of the journey through life would be.
So what happens when things don’t quite go our way in life?
– We can either focus on the fact that things didn’t go how we had hoped and they would, and let life pass us by or
– We can make the best out of the situation and acknowledge that these are only temporary setbacks and find the lessons that are to be learned.
Talking about lessons, I learnt a valuable one from an acquaintance some weeks back. He declared and affirmed in public that he had no regrets whatsoever in life. I thought that was a really brilliant thing to say. Not many people can say the same.
But you may want to read the following sentences twice if you will;
“Always follow your heart, and most importantly never have any regret. Don’t hold anything back. Say what you want to say, and do what you want to do, because sometimes we don’t get a second chance to say or do what we should have the first time around”
If what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, then rise out of your setback like a phoenix.
Let’s talk about the Phoenix, shall we?
First off, there is no such animal in real life as a Phoenix!
The phrase “rise like a phoenix from the ashes” is based on a story that goes back thousands of years. The phoenix is a part of ancient Greek folklore, a mythical giant bird associated with the sun. It was a feathered creature of great size with talons and wings, its plumage radiant and beautiful. It’s said to have lived for 500 years before it built its own funeral pyre, burst into flame, and died, consumed in its own fiery inferno. Soon after, the mythical creature rose out of the ashes, in a transformation from death to life.
Phoenix is now a symbol of rebirth from the ashes of the past. It refers to the process of emerging from a catastrophe stronger, smarter and more powerful.
Christianity adopted the depiction of the phoenix rising from the ashes as a symbol of rebirth and eternal life.
One striking feature in the story of the Phoenix is the classical, mythical imagery and symbolism of resurrection, of life reborn anew and transformed that it represents. In essence there is no phoenix until it first died. Many times in Life, You cannot rise until you fall. To rise in this instance speaks to getting back up and stronger from a position of failure, despair and downcast.
As much as we do not like the discomfort of failing, it is a part of life’s journey. While what some considers a failure differ from person to person, there is no denying the fact that set-backs are part of the journey through life.
It is often said, that if life’s journey presents only the perks, then one should be on the look-out, because a set-back, more than often, is lurking around the corner. If you’ve spent most of your life avoiding failure, it can feel really scary when it finally happens. Facing your fears, however, can be the key to reducing the discomfort.
World economies and that of great nations follow a cycle of boom and gloom. We win elections and lose some. We fall in love and get heart broken. We suffer financial losses, loss of a loved one, lose a passionate job, suffer debilitating ailment, and many sad unmentionables.
These situations set us back. Sometimes so badly we think we do not have the strength or will power to ever recover to become who we were before.
Of course, you would never become who you were before! You should become much better as you emerge from the ashes like the Phoenix.
Yes I know just like everyone else that failure is accompanied by a variety of emotions; embarrassment, anxiety, anger, sadness, and shame to name a few. Those feelings are uncomfortable and many people will do anything they can to escape feeling emotional discomfort. But you must embrace your emotions and allow yourself to feel bad.
Guess what? It is motivating!
It can help you work harder to find better solutions so that you’ll improve next time. So dear friend, acknowledge how you feel and let yourself feel bad for a bit. Label your emotions and allow yourself to experience them. You don’t win by ignoring your emotions. That’s not how this works!
Once you embrace your emotions, you then initiate healthy coping mechanisms by speaking to a close friend, loved one or someone who can help you go through the motions. Remember that a problem shared is half solved.
As humans we are social beings. We naturally gravitate to providing comfort during times of grief or sadness. Go to human’s closest cousins- the monkeys, baboons or chimps to see how they cope in these situations.
So when we suffer a heart-wrenching set-back (no matter what it is) the time spent to understand, cope and accept it is cut by more than half when we share our emotions and feelings.
Not every coping skill works for everyone, however, so it’s important to find coping skills that will work for you.
If you struggle with bad habits when you’re stressed out—like smoking or eating junk food—create a list of healthy coping skills and hang it in a prominent place. Then, use your list to remind you of the healthier strategies you can turn to when you’re feeling bad.
In our clime, sometimes when we suffer a devastating set-back we often develop some irrational beliefs about the source (in this case, it’s exactly what you are thinking…lol…diabolical) of the set-back or about ourselves. Perhaps you think failure means you’re bad or that you’ll never succeed. Many people blame others or unfortunate circumstances for their failures and this will prevent them from learning from it. Some think it is so impossible to rise out of the ashes.
Many times those types of beliefs are inaccurate and they can prevent you from doing the right things to rise above the mess.
So what to do?
Learn from it! Carry out a deep introspection and trace the process leading up to it if you can.
Failure can be a great teacher if you’re open to learning. Did you make a mistake? Did you make a whole series of mistakes?
Think about what you could do differently next time. Then, you will ensure your failure has become a life lesson that helped you learn something.
Watch it though! Because replaying your failure in your mind over and over again won’t do you any good. Don’t allow yourself to ruminate on all the things that went wrong. Dwelling on your problems or rehashing your mistakes will keep you stuck.
Create a plan for moving on. You certainly can’t wallow in self-pity forever and you will soon learn that people stay away when you run into difficult moments. Again, that just the way life is. Instead, think about what you will do differently next time.
Create a plan that will help you put the information you gained from failing into practice.
Listen; there are no specific rules and plan for how you get out of a set-back. If you leave everything to nothing, then be prepared to spend an awful lot of time in the doldrums of failure.
Every great person has suffered a set-back or failure at one time or the other. And from every failure they learnt something different and chose a different approach and path. You cannot rise out of the ashes of failure without a plan. You cannot write or devise a plan when you haven’t learnt any lesson.
Please wake up fellas, if you came into this world alone, then you must fight your battles by yourself (with the help of God of course). But no one else will fight your battles with the same passion like you will.
Spread your wings and soar, flap your wings hard and harder till they propel you off the depths of despair and sadness. Take motivation in knowing that he that is down needs fear no fall.
One interesting quote I love to share about this subject is;
“Poverty is a beautiful background, you cannot go any further downward, but upwards”
Knowing how to cope with failure in a healthy way takes some of the fear out of failing—and it might reduce the pain so you can bounce back better than before.
If you’re struggling badly to function after you’ve failed at something, please consider seeking professional help.
Whether you’ve experienced a failed marriage or you’ve failed in business, talking to a mental health professional can assist you in bouncing back.
Click here to seek help.
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