It’s Okay to Fail

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As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We have this religion we believe in, and we want to be good, we want to do the things we know we’re supposed to, so we give ourselves unrealistic expectations. The truth is, we aren’t perfect. We make mistakes. We fail. We fall. And that’s okay. It only means we have somewhere to go. I wrote a single line in a poem about it.

Wanderlust to Roam

My wanderlust to roam
like the cravings of an addict to nicotine,
living high on wind and earth and sky,
free of anchor or root to chain me down,
free to soar and fall and soar again.
My wanderlust to roam.

The poem is twofold. Obviously the main idea is about my desire to wander and explore. But the line free to soar and fall and soar again was about failing. It means that it’s okay to fail because we can succeed again. Falling isn’t the end. We fall, we get up. It reminds me of Imagine Dragon’s On Top of the World. There’s a line toward the end of the song that’s about how hard it is to fall and get up, but get up, anyway.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve fallen or failed in my life—too many to even remember. Depression is something that beats you down, anyway, makes you feel like a failure most of the time. In high school, I beat myself up anytime I didn’t get a 4.0. I felt worthless never finishing college with a Bachelor’s degree. I think women in the LDS church especially feel pressure to be perfect—to have these perfect little (or big) families with perfect children and perfect spouses, and of course we have to be perfect too. And we’re scared to show the world otherwise. Well, through this blog, I’m showing everyone how I’ve fallen, and I’m saying it’s okay.

I think going through a divorce is what has truly taught me what it means to get back up. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, the worst hell I’ve ever experienced. I feel as though divorce is still somewhat of a taboo in my religion. But it happened. I got divorced. The worst panic attacks I’ve ever had were shortly before it was final, as I thought about how my life had come to this, how much it hurt. A couple of times I ended up on my bathroom floor, crying and shaking so hard I literally couldn’t breathe and thought I was about to pass out, thought I might end up in the hospital. Those first couple of weeks after my divorce was final were extremely hard too. I felt like the most epic failure ever, felt so incredibly worthless. Suddenly becoming a single mom was so hard. Yet, I did it. As my routine fell into place I realized how strong I had become—because of the fire I had been through. I failed, and I fell, but I got back up and was stronger and more refined than I’d ever been in my life. After that, I realized I was happier than I had been in years.

Life certainly isn’t perfect. I’m still a divorced woman and a single mom. I still deal with mental illness on a daily basis, yet I’ve learned to get back up when life gets me down because I know it’s okay to get pushed down. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to fall. Falling isn’t the end. Sometimes it is a beginning—one that leads to knowledge, strength, resolve and refinement. One that can lead us closer to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

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