The world is wrong.

It is easy to see, easy to say, but difficult to comprehend. The difficulty comes from examining ourselves and coming to terms with our obsession with negativity.

Through the years, humanity has glut itself on violence, deceit, judgment, pride, and a host of other sins, passing them down as an inheritance to us all. Darkness manifests in our genetic material as much as blood and we all know it, even if we loathe to acknowledge it. Doing so would acknowledge failure.

We have a love/hate relationship with failure. We love to see it in others, hate to see it in others, and especially hate seeing it in ourselves. That is why we always indicate others’ failures. “Look at them,” we sneer, “see their wrongdoings.” Don’t look at me and see where I’m lacking. Once known, it can never be forgotten.

Humans cling to failures. Positive experiences generate greater power, but negativity has greater stamina. Wrongs readily come to mind. Annoyances. Mistakes. Deficiencies. Disasters, natural and not. Pain. Unfulfilled promises. Abandonment. Betrayal. Death. So quickly the good slips from memory. Amid all the grievances, we discard it.

To deal with this onslaught of failure, we have been bred with one response: castigation. We excise it wherever possible in the most brutal fashion. After all, it’s wrong and shameful. Humans and society are supposed to be better than that. We’re noble, smart—basically gods. To fail should never be forgiven.

But we are humans, and we live in failure. Every day we fail. Every day someone fails us. Yet failure does not herald the end of the world, only a process of daily reflection. Without proper handling of failure, we will spiral endlessly into further negativity.

We require a heightened focus.

Failure is nothing more than something or someone not meeting the expectations we have designated. Such a view is skewed and selfish, ultimately wrong. Just because someone underperformed does not necessarily mean they did not try. Other factors are always involved besides the obvious observable ones—factors outside of our control. 

Failure reminds us of our lack of control, that forces beyond us interfere with our lives. Our vulnerability becomes illuminated. Instead of embracing such moments, we spurn them. We want everything to go as intended, to render failure obsolete. But it never will. No matter what we try, its grim specter haunts our choices. Because we cannot elude, comprehend, or alter this entity, we fear and hate its appearance—to our detriment. 

Adding negatives only produces stronger negatives. With their terrifying longevity, the negatives stick together, plastering to our souls and collapsing them, isolating them. When someone fails you—and they will—try not to lash out. No one beneficially learns from yelling or blaming. They will only remember the pain and negativity and return them to others. Do not heedlessly abandon someone who has failed. You have not always succeeded; people did not give up on you. Extend that blessing to others. To correct failure, patience and empathy provide better ease of access. 

When you fail, do not dwell on the failure. Tragedy pulls our attention inward, but life isn’t solely about you. Your failure might be another’s success. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing because life is not a competition. There will be other opportunities. Keeping score and demerits serves no purpose. Making sure the people around you are at their best does.

We cannot get away from people, so we must learn to live with them and their foibles. Though they will never do things exactly as we want, they will be present in our own worst moments. When we least want them around, that’s when we need them the most. Our relationships and connections are not chains but buttresses. Failure is never solely your burden to bear. It’s much too heavy. Share it and release it.

But do not forget the feeling. Failure needs to be remembered, needs to be questioned. The pain, the shame exists to fuel our drive to something greater. Failure shows us where we have been, what has not worked, so we can find what does. Failure does not make us bad people. We can become better. We always have the ability to learn and grow. Learning to live with ourselves might be the toughest challenge yet.

Failure is frustrating. Inexplicable events carve our hearts. Inability to perform adequately, the way we intended, decays the soul. But not everything depends on or results from you. We cannot perfectly control everything. This is not to be used as an excuse but an assurance. Trying is of paramount importance, not outcome. Do not be permanently discouraged or disappointed.

The world is wrong. So are we. Face it. Accept your place in it. It’s too easy to allow failure to remain a failure. Though failure is where we always are, it is not where we’re meant to be. Failure is simply the steep, jagged path we walk, for better or worse. Occurred events will not change. Our perspective can. The world, we, depend on it.

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Thanks for this, Kyric! Your sentence about trying reminds me of a line from T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets: “For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”

    Reply
    • Kyric Koning

      You’re welcome. Ah T.S. Eliot. If only I could ascribe to more of such beauty and wisdom.

      Reply
    • Avatar

      This is good, “Occurred events will not change. Our perspective can.”

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    Thanks for sharing your ruminations – it reminds me of the wise words of a mentor of mind, who loves to say ‘even in the face of a daunting, uncertain future, we can’t not try.’

    Reply
    • Kyric Koning

      Thanks for reading my ruminations! You can try, unless you adhere to the same tenets as my mother and immediately rebuke, “There is no try, only do” (mis-quoting Yoda, no less) even though trying technically is doing. She probably doesn’t like the possibility of failure that trying carries.

      Reply

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