I saw a post today on Facebook that said “You can’t fail unless you quit.”
At first, I thought I kind of liked it, but I quickly changed my mind and decided I think that is a statement that is unfair and untrue. Quitting something is not the same as failing it. Not at all. I mean, maybe you will disagree and say that you think I failed, but I am going to tell you two situations where I think that isn’t true.
The first is that I quit being married and got a divorce. And I don’t believe for a minute that being divorced means I failed at that marriage. Sure, it sometimes felt like I was failing as I was going through the years where I tried my hardest to save it and remain married, but thankfully I have wonderful people in my life who made sure I understand that it was not a failure. I was not a failure. Either was he. I married a great guy when I was just a young girl, and he was young too. We had great times together and raised two awesome kids together. We did a lot of things right. We went through good times and bad times and tried our best to support each other. But at some point as the kids got older, I realized that we never really had much to say to each other. Everything was wrong. I relied solely on my friends and other family for support when I was happy, sad, unsure, proud, scared, or whatever else I was feeling. We didn’t believe the same things and we no longer had the same goals for our lives. I’m not sure we ever did share the same goals because we got married so young that we didn’t talk about those things. I know we did not have the same beliefs where it really matters to me. We both got older and I realized that I didn’t have what I needed to feel secure or loving in my most important relationship. I wasn’t sure that when I felt weak he would have my back. I didn’t have a best friend. I never thought I needed that in my husband. And now I believe that I was wrong. I want that person I wake up to every single day to be the person I tell everything about myself. Without shame or any need to hold anything inside when it needs to come out for me to feel whole.
We quit being married, but our marriage wasn’t a failure. One definition of failure is “a lack of success.” Our marriage had many successful moments. Many cherished moments. Moments I would never want to erase or take back.
The second thing I feel the need to discuss is that I quit my most recent therapy group. And that does not mean I failed. Trying things is how we gain experience and knowledge as people. And I was learning helpful things in the group. However, I was also going through some things that meant when I was at group, I was preoccupied, anxious, and even angry. And during a recent individual therapy session, I realized something that threw me off course. WAY off course. So I had to quit the group. Maybe I’ll do that group again someday and maybe I won’t. And that’s ok. Leaving that group felt right the second I was done telling the facilitator that I had to quit. And leaving it also gave me the strength to admit in my individual therapy that I have a big hurdle I’m ready to take on and move past.
And that is a success. Not at all a failure.
So, I’m not saying quit everything you start or don’t try. But I am saying that if you start something and can’t do it, or have a setback, or learn that you really wish you were doing something else, that is totally ok. Start again. Try something else. And learn from what you quit because anytime you learn something, I believe that is a success.
NOT a failure.