42. How You See It

When I try to do something and fail, that seems to suggest that I can’t do it. Suggest, but not prove. This is where I have to decide, and choose between letting it go, or trying harder. If I try again and fail again, the suggestion gets stronger, so the determination must get stronger, or else rationally I should choose to let go of that endeavor and move on. Does that make me a quitter? Or a failure? That’s my choice too.

Everything that happens in life is open to interpretation, and ultimately the only interpretation/ opinion/ belief that matters is yours, because that is the only one that actually has any true power or influence on your life.

The children’s rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” is good advice, though not entirely true. Words can hurt, a lot, but can not conquer you, unless you choose to let them. You always have a choice. Are you going to let somebody “out there” set your course in life? Will you choose to let their opinion change your own inner knowing, that you are much more than they can see? Are you doing that now? Why would you do that?

Once in a casual conversation, a firefighter friend told me “you can do it if you set your mind to it.” I wanted to be a firefighter but as a woman, at 5 foot six and 112 pounds, the odds against it were enormous. Three years of hard work: pumping iron, running bleachers with a backpack full of sand, biking 40-mile-a-day rides, and many failures later, I became firefighter, and then an officer. Though I started late, I served eight years of active duty first-response Fire and EMS, with a remarkable record of work well done. My friend was right.

This is a truth: We can often learn more from failing than succeeding. The experience of failure is painful and humbling, but it is the ultimate challenge to our inner strength. It can develop character and courage, depending on how you look at it, how you choose to see it. Everything in life is open to an unlimited number of interpretations. The one that matters, is yours.

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