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'You failed, but you aren't dead'

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By Dr. Andy and Renie Bowman

Yes, you failed. It ended badly for you. Bankruptcy, nervous breakdown, divorce, the loss of any relationship with your kids, or maybe a physical adventure that went sideways and ended in you getting to know the fine folks of your local hospital. Endless possibilities come to mind when it comes to the ways we can lose at life. 

And the loss doesn’t just stop with the actual thing that happened. Like waves from a rock thrown into a pond, the repercussions just keep spreading. The hurt engulfs every part of your life, and it seems the meltdown will never end. 

After all, each part of our lives is intertwined with all the others. But you already know that, if you’ve ever experienced failure.

Financial ruin has intricate veins that stream pain to our emotional well-being, our physical health, and even our belief in ourself. Divorce or extended physical problems? That same network of veins runs full-blast with toxic energy that can damage us in every way possible. 
So, how do we successfully start over? 

Well, you’re not reading a column written by a medical expert or a life counselor, so don’t expect professional advice where you can hang your hat and totally relax. But there are a few things that are purely logical and need to be addressed.

First step, admit you failed. Not always an easy thing to do. Pride and self-defense colors good judgment, making it almost impossible to acknowledge the obvious. 

The favorite words when we fail are usually, “But if” and “It wasn’t really my fault because…” or “If only that other person would have….”   

But the thoughts behind those words are painful and obsessive. And ultimately useless. Like hyped-up hamsters on an electric treadmill, they run through your brain and get you nowhere. But admitting your failure to yourself? That’s stepping in the right direction.

Secondly, before throwing yourself headlong into proving to you and everyone else that you can succeed, just stop. Take a good look backwards at your life. There are usually some broad indicators of impending disaster when we take the time be dead-level honest. 

I won’t take up space listing them – an honest and hurting person can spot them in their own life.

My last suggestion? After realizing where you went wrong, work at making those changes needed. To loosely quote an old maxim, “Doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results is just dumb.” 

Relationships do not heal without work. Gutted finances can’t recover without some changes. A physically or emotionally battered and broken body needs healing time, and probably a completely different approach to life in the future.

Remember, you may have failed, but you’re not dead yet. You still have time to help yourself learn to succeed. Have the courage to admit your failure, look backward for potholes where you fell, and work at filling them in.

Instead of giving in to the temptation to blame someone else.

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••• Publisher's note: A free press is critical to having well-informed voters and citizens. While some news organizations opt for paid websites or costly paywalls, The Highland County Press has maintained a free newspaper and website for the last 25 years for our community. If you would like to contribute to this service, it would be greatly appreciated. Donations may be made to: The Highland County Press, P.O. Box 849, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133. Please include "for website" on the memo line.

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