When I began this blog I wanted to make sure that I was honesty with myself in what I wrote down. And, for the most part, I believe I’ve been successful.
I don’t know why it’s hard to admit failure. Perhaps for me it’s because I’ve been doing all of this work so publicly, maybe it’s the self-imposed pressure of wanting to do good by the people that support me (both through this blog and in the “real world”).
This past week, I failed.
After having such an empowered week the week before, it was quickly followed by a stretch of doubt a mile deep — with complicated emotions and stress the likes of which I’ve not felt before in my life.
Guess who’s almost 40?
Am I doing what I should be doing? Am I happy? Why am I not happy? What is the root of that? Am I lonely? Why am I lonely? Whose fault is that? Do I scare people away? Why do people shy away from me? Everyone thinks I have this licked? Do I have it licked? Why is it so hard to let people in? Where are the people I am to let in? What are their names? What are the qualifications? How do I make more friends? What is a friend? Am I where I should be? Where should I be? Do I belong? What is belonging? Will I ever belong?
It all swirled like a tempest inside of my head for days on end.
And then on Thursday and Friday it happened.
It doesn’t sound like a big deal. It’s just four letters. But the consequences could have been far greater.
I went to the one place I had always gone to quiet that storm.
I drove head on into it. Or in this case, into the drive-through.
What followed was shame — a whole boatload of it.
Why now? Why does this happen now? Two years into this journey that I’ve been doing so well on. I’m not saying I’ve been perfect, because I’ve not been. But, I’ve been careful.
After living the majority of my life trying to negotiate my own emotions, sometimes in weakness it’s easy to fall back on what’s worked in the past. And for me, that was food.
This is incredibly embarrassing for me to admit. But, I think it’s important to talk about.
Changing your life around is not for the faint of heart. And you’re going to have amazing successes that make you feel like a million fucking bucks — and in the same breath may have moments where you feel like the smallest person on earth.
So, what do you do when you fail?
First and foremost, you give yourself a fucking break.
For me, I kind of just accepted what happened. In the past that would have sent me in a tailspin. I would have continued to eat and drown myself in food.
This time around, I didn’t. I stared at my situation from 30,000 feet and looked at all the good things that I’ve done compared to those two days of weakness, and I realized I could learn something from them.
So what did I learn?
I learned that natural default settings never die. They live inside of you forever. They lie dormant, and no matter how much work you do on yourself and the time between “activations”, they will still be ready to roll at any given moment. And it’s important, it’s more than important, it’s vital that you keep that shit in check.
But, perhaps, more importantly, is that if you do fall off — if you do make a mistake — you have to keep this one piece of information firmly in mind.
You’re a fucking human being.
Don’t punish yourself with things like shame, guilt, anger, or self-loathing.
These are poison. Toxic blends that will serve no other purpose than to undo you.
Harness the strength you’ve gained from the hours, days, weeks, or years before — whatever the case may be — and move on.
Keep moving. Always keep moving.
Yesterday, I went to my gym (The Energy Company) and met with my trainer Mike O’Neil. I explained to him what had happened. He threatened me with violence accordingly.
I’m kidding, of course. He cares about what I’m putting into my body. Constantly checking up and making sure I’m making the right choices. After all, I am working my hole off, and I’m not about to let a couple of bad days throw that for a loop.
Sensing that I needed to feel a victory this week we attempted a new milestone. I’ll let the video speak for itself.
Failure, like success, is a part of life.
It’s what you do with it is what is important.
Don’t let it take you down. Instead, learn from it, allow it to fuel you, and drive you towards better days.
Pride feels better than shame any day of the week.
You remember that.
And I’ll be sure to do the same.