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Failing does not mean you've failed.

03/08/2015
I, Rebecca, a self-proclaimed resolute vegetarian just did the shockingly unthinkable. I raided my fridge, silently manoeuvred my way around the wholesome fruit and veg, and pocketed some leftover Chinese spare ribs. I then proceeded to hide in the corner of my kitchen, anxiously looking around for potential witnesses, before brutally devouring them in one go. After my meat-filled indiscretion, I frantically rushed upstairs, not to hide my head in shame, but to hurriedly brush my teeth, because damn, those spare ribs were actually friggin rank.

I am now sat here sullenly on my bed trying to decipher my feelings. Do I feel guilty? Shameful? Defiantly rebellious? Well, I do feel a slight glimmer of guilt, but probably not in the way you'd expect. Instead, I feel guilty for my total ambivalence. I just don't really care that I failed today and scoffed down meat like some deranged carnivore. I think it's totally gross, but I don't really regret doing it. I'm definitely not going to beat myself up about it. I'll probably just make a cuppa and forget about it ten minutes into a Netflix binge. I certainly don't feel any less vegetarian because of it. I'll just try again tomorrow.

Frankly, I don't give a shit.

My guilty, skulking kitchen binge may suggest the contrary, but I can really only laugh at my lapse. I have the self-discipline of a hipster in a Starbucks. Yet whilst I think nothing of my lack of willpower, the condemnation of others always concerns me; the smug condemnations of 'I told you so' and 'I knew you couldn't do it', the self-righteous scoffs at my apparent lack of determination and principle. That's what I hide from. I certainly don't hide from my own human errors, because I know myself that I am prone to frailties. But that mocking smile of others, cuts to the core. I flush red in deviant defence but then shirk into shameful submission. I have no excuse, no comeback, I messed up. I failed.

People love to take their seat on the moral high-ground. Finding weaknesses and mistakes is a cruel intricacy of the human nature. We take too much pride in observing the failures of others, too much delight in 'knocking them down a peg'. It's a frustrating cycle of insecurities and inadequacies; in a bid to prove we are not alone in human mediocrity, we take comfort in the lapses of those who try. It's an alarmingly damaging mindset. One that has us yearning for the failures of others, and taking that failure as validation of ourselves. Why can't we just cut each other some slack?

Humans are a fickle species and the most of us don't have the mind-numbing resolve to succeed in everything we do. We're not Buddhist monks, we're allowed to be idiots. I for one, mess up all the time. I've had more fitness attempts than I've had dentist appointments. Just today I created the ultimate workout playlist - I intend to listen to it whilst I bake a cake. I've had to move the kettle downstairs, just so I do some sort of exercise. I'm just human, and I do stupid shit a lot. That doesn't mean my principles are any less resolved, it just means I am privy to lapses.

So next time someone is scornful of your indiscretions, or you feel guilty for a mistake, just remember that it isn't the end of the world. You can pick yourself up and give it another go. You might fail every now and again, but at least you give a damn enough to try. Failing doesn't mean you've failed.

1 comment

  1. I love this post. I've been there so many times and the stringent rules I'm making myself follow are created and enforced by no one but yours truly. We can only do our best in life and wasting time judging ourselves or others is just that - a waste of time. Great, well written post! xx

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