Not just as you grow …. lol … once grown we make mistakes, too. And accepting that isn’t about the acceptance, it’s about being able to say you’re sorry. It’s about courage, to drop fears about not being perfect … and be able to say “I screwed up, sorry.”
If it’s mistakes while trying to achieve something personal, those aren’t really mistakes … those are failures and you try again. That’s not hard. There is generally no ambiguity — such as “did I fail?” You know it. And you have two whole choices: try again, or don’t try again.
If it’s about not letting your failure at SOME things, discourage you from trying other things … that is also easy. It’s if you keep trying to succeed at the same thing and always fail at– that is the hard part that takes courage. Trying something new is ALWAYS exciting and an easy choice, because it holds the promise that you might succeed.
IF you have somehow branded yourself a failure, for past failures — that you will fail at everything …………..it’s a problem you aren’t going to erase with one pep talk from a tv personality.
It takes work and knowledge to ultimately realize that you are more than the sum of your actions. Is failure ok? It depends what you fail at. Failing to finish a book on time, to return it to the library–is slightly less wrong than failing to attach an IV to a patient correctly to save their life. So the degree of importance, between success and failure — is always situation-dependent. Some things we can forgive ourselves easily, some things take awhile.
IF you go whistling off, after a failure that costs hundreds of lives, for instance ……….. that’s psychotic. That’s not healthy. There are many situations children will eventually encounter, where these philosophies will fall completely flat for them.
And the biggest thing … is that telling children they should not feel badly after a failure, is DENYING THEIR FEELINGS of failure in the first place …rather than validating them — “you just should not feel that!” ultimately, those stands are done to make the adult feel better, not the child.
The correct response, is “I’m sorry you feel badly for failing. Do you want to try again, or do you want to try something else?” Telling them to not feel the way they do, is a type of control that can be unhealthy, especially in the long run.
And it sounds really good … “we all make mistakes, don’t feel bad.” But it’s not the right way to approach a child. That’s what you tell yourself as an adult, while struggling to forgive yourself. A child doesn’t need to forgive themselves, they are new to everything. What they need is the permission to feel badly, to know that it’s normal to feel badly when you fail– and the love to understand that failure and success have absolutely nothing to do with YOUR approval and love of them.
As for mr. rogers … I could never watch it without wanting to hurl. When my son was a child, his nanny watched it with him all the time, and he loved it. I couldn’t watch it with him, not once.
Later — I forced myself to sit through one show to know a little more about it. Seemed to me that it glorified drama, like a soap opera. And at the same time instructed children to not feel or have emotional reactions in tune with the reality. My son was much too young to even understand those finer points — so I wasn’t worried about him watching it. I felt bad for Alive, though. She must have had some latent guilt, due to feeling of failure of her own.
We all get blindsided sometimes, into believing that kindness is complete acceptance. But sometimes … sometimes love of a child is NOT accepting, and guiding instead. Sometimes they need that more than they need the ability to try something new. And here’s the kicker … IF you continually deny a child their right to their own feelings, then they DO internalize those emotions and react by branding themselves failures.
And it’s very common … very very common. Too common …. Because Rogers was forgiving the adults. And the children? They need adults with courage, and the grace to allow their children to have their own feelings …. to not want to control children’s feelings as well as their actions. You control their actions to keep them safe. Controlling the feelings of others — even children — is done to keep YOURSELF safe. It’s a very selfish act, and ultimately leads to emotional imbalance in those AROUND the person who requires absolute control of the emotions of those around them.
It takes a lot of grace, to allow others to be what they be. I limit actions like you can’t imagine. But emotions? I don’t work to change that in others. I want them to own their emotional selves. And it’s far too easy a thing to manipulate emotions in others, where’s the challenge?
I recently have had issues with a pastor, due to all the drama she created. It’s easy to manipulate emotions in others. To escalate any situation into drama and angst. It becomes addictive to those steep in that kind of manipulation, and that addiction is to POWER.
And the taste of power, to stop a child from feeling what they feel? To manipulate their emotions into gladness or sadness ………… to NOT ALLOW them ownership of their own emotional selves … that is not allowing them individuality, that is about making them responsible for every single way that you yourself react to them. It’s a shift of responsibility onto the child, to make them tailor themselves to you.
And some of that mimicking through generations, gets tagged mentally ill– due to the way it reverberates outward. The only place it does not clash, is within the family or community unit where it originated. Outside of those units, the conditions of tailoring emotive reaction to suit others — that becomes volatile, incendiary. You explode, and start trying to control others to match what you EMOTIONALLY expect of them. It’s not good.
Many abnormal psychologies, therefore — arise out of the simple inability to allow another human being the ownership of their emotional self. To feel badly, if they feel badly. To laugh if they feel happy. To be whatever current emotion fills them as a real and honest reaction.
And what it takes to do that, to allow others their emotional self …… is a strength many of us don’t have. But we should at least try.
We should at least heal the souls around us, by seeing their emotions as part of them, and necessary. They aren’t indicators that something is wrong — on the contrary — they are indicators that something is very very right.
What do I do when I find myself a failure? It depends what it is. If it’s something important — I try again. If it’s not important, I let it go. But WHO decides what is important or not?
I do. That is how adults own their emotional reaction to success or failure. If I win a jackpot in Vegas for a thousand dollars, I’m going to scream louder if I’m flat broke, than if I’m rolling in millions. If your reaction is NOT relative, that is mentally ill. Success and failure is fully relative to your current self and position. “When you hit rock bottom, you have two ways to go — straight up, or sideways.”
Now with children, what they see as important might completely take you by surprise. I’ve had that happen … where I think a doll lost in the sand doesn’t mean a thing, and to them that is the entire world.
They are allowed to have their emotions, to hurt. And it’s important to understand that life itself, is inverted. When you are young, everything is the end of the world. Each perceived mistake has a finality to it, that only fades with experience. A doll lost in the sand might be the end of the world to the child-you, but the adult you loses your sunglasses in the sand …….. again …. and you laugh.
If you change that, and shrug off the end of the world when young ….. where is the laughter when old? Emotive lives are important things. Mass emotions, even more-so. Beware men in loafers, trying to change them.
When I was a kid, maybe 10 or so, I got this expensive ice cream at an amusement park in one of those big waffle cones. I went to go outside to join my grandma and sister at a table, and the ice cream fell out of the cone onto the cement. I cried quietly, not bunches of sobs — but went back in as I was told to do — and got another scoop of ice cream put in the cone.
And I still feel badly … about that melting ice cream on the cement. I do. A man came out and cleaned it, I felt badly that I made that happen. End of the world …. but when I spill something now? I laugh and say it’s not meant to be. That ice cream on its cement, is a placeholder. It set the bar ……….. and I had an adult with me, my grandma … who didn’t tell me I was a failure. Who didn’t judge me as stupid for crying, or that I was too old to cry. No … she told me to make it right, that she spent too much money on that. And I felt even worse. But now? Now when I waste anything and any amount of money wasted, I’m not afraid. I already felt the worst possible feeling of loss. A complete failure who could not even keep a scoop of ice cream inside its cone. The worst possible feeling of loss IN ONE SCOOP OF ICE CREAM. It’s all downhill from there. And what a ride.
This morning I had set my cup of coffee on the floor, forgot it was there, and knocked it over ….all over the carpet. I’m still laughing….