Article in brief: The author discusses her take on what failure truly is.
Ever since I was a little girl, I had a fear of failing. In the back of my mind, I had the idea that once I’ve fallen down, there was no recovery from failure. Because of that, I worked extra hard in order to avoid failure and luckily, my mission was going smoothly until I turned sixteen.
I experienced my first failure when I failed my SATs. I suffered from the most distressing feeling. It was as if I had become a loser who would never receive a proper education. My future plans of achieving academic success and obtaining a PhD were crumbling before my eyes, which made me panic greatly. As such, I decided to work harder than I already did in order to avoid failure once and for all.
Even though I performed my SATs again and passed, I was still worried. I knew that failure could come any second and take away what I have been working very hard for. The thing is, my fear of failure haunted me to the extent where I started to consider my accomplishments to be disappointments. Don’t get me wrong, I was content with everything I experience and had, but I always felt like I could do better.
I was in a dark place, constantly dreading what the future held for me. This negativity swarming over me was ruining my productivity and inner peace. This way of thinking of mine cost me my happiness. It made me give up my dreams at some point because I was worried I’d let people down, including myself.
To this day, my definition of failure is still unclear to me. I sadly feel like I will not amount to anything because my full potential isn’t being utilized properly. I have given up on myself countless times, because I misunderstood the difference between hard work to build my name, and completely missing my chances of being who I truly wanted to be.
I was at war with myself, knowing that I can be more than I was told I could ever be, but fearing that I would only make a fool out of myself.
But then I had an epiphany disguised as my father. He said,
“Feeling like a failure only means you’re on the path of success. There’s a difference between feeling like you haven’t achieved enough and collapsing.”
I then realized what I should’ve known the entire time. It’s not failure unless you think it is. Everything is a learning experience from which we can grow and learn how to do things differently and more effectively. Good things take time, and it’s unhealthy to think that successes can take place immediately.
I now understand that I have been a failure all my life because I was afraid of it. But now, I have the power to face it without feeling ashamed of myself or like I’m a walking piece of disappointment.
So now, I can proudly say that I faced failure once again when I turned eighteen. I am no longer ashamed to admit that I have failed my driving test four times so far. I am merely confessing because now I understand that one can never grow until they admit and accept their failures as part of them and then move on to overcome them.
Alia is an AUS student double majoring in International Studies and English literature. She is also the author of Alatash fictional novel. Her main goal is to make a change and empower the youth. Her column is meant to help the younger generations deal with tough situations. It was given that title as hidden promises is what us teenagers often believe; false promises.
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