It’s hard to know what to do when you feel like a failure. Your failures seem insurmountable. They’re the bullies at the playground. They’re the opponents who outweigh you by one hundred pounds. All you can see is the size of the failures. All you can hope is that your feelings are wrong and that they won’t last forever. All you can do is stumble your way through them.
You not only stumble and hope your way through them, you fight them. You fight the voices that say you should raze what you’re building to the ground. You fight the voices that say you suck at your job. You fight the voices that say you’re going to be fired because of your ineptitude in your role. You punch and kick those voices until your knuckles are bloodied and raw, and your shins are black and blue.
You then curl into yourself. You try to make yourself as small as possible, and you cry. Not whimpers, not a tear or two rolling down the cheek. Gut-wrenching sobs, the kind that make you feel as though you’ve done 237 crunches in a row. The kind that make you stuff your face into a pillow so that – even though the only creature living with you is a cat – no one can hear. No one needs to hear cries like that; at least, that’s what some of the voices whisper.
Whispers like those are dangerous. They must be handled quickly and decisively. No prancing around the boxing ring. No practicing of forms. Go straight for the jugular. Sweep the whispers off their feet. Once they’re on the ground, don’t let them catch their breath. Choke them until they fall unconscious, then escape with your life. Escape with what little hope you still have. Run until you can’t breathe anymore. Stop to catch your breath. Take a deep breath. Take another one. Be grateful for that small space in which you can breathe before the doubts and failures rise again, before they’re chasing you down an alley, before you have to turn and fight, fight, fight.
Photo: Chapendra (CC BY NC 2.0)