Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

What Will You do When You Fall Down?

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At some point you are going to let others down. You will disappoint. You will fall short of the mark you strive for. You will not live up to your own expectations.

You will not love others as you hope. You will live a different story than what you want to live.

You will judge. You will exclude. You will yell and push and shove.

You will fight and fight unfairly.

You will hurt a stranger. You will hurt someone in a moment when you could have made a huge difference. You will hurt someone you love.

You will be a hypocrite.

Your failure might be a secret. A shortcoming that only you see. Or it could be made public. Broadcast over headlines.

You will fall down.

photo by Anthony DeLorenzo (creative commons license)

photo by Anthony DeLorenzo (creative commons license)

And when you realize how awful your failure is, you will be forced to ask yourself a difficult question.

How do you go on from here?

Here are three steps to help you get back up.

1. Accept and embrace your mistakes and shortcomings.

Denial, whether in private or public, will never help you. Yes, it was you who failed. You were the one who chose to do what you did. Avoiding your failure will never help.

2. Ask for forgiveness.

Understanding that you have hurt others will naturally lead to confession. Tell them you realize what you said was hurtful. Tell them you are sorry you neglected them. Admit openly that you were wrong.

3. Forgive yourself.

Forgiveness, of others and of ourselves, is one of the most liberating actions in life.

After you have taken this hardest step of all, then get back up. Re-calibrate if necessary. Head a slightly different direction if indicated.

But don’t give up. Don’t throw in the towel. Don’t choose to stop.

When you have fallen down, don’t stay down. Get back up and start again.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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6 Replies

  1. Patje Lentz

    No idea when you write your posts, but this one popped up just at the right time for me at 6:05 AM. Not only have I fallen, feels like I’m at the bottom of a pit. God spoke to me today through your thoughts. Thanks.

    1. I’m glad it helped, Patje.

  2. DanKnight

    Good 3 steps! I have fallen many times, but probably the biggest was 28 yrs ago when I committed a crime betraying a couple of close friends, and faced the courts. Sadly we have a lawyer profession that rarely lives out the first step, leaning instead to working to “get you off”. Thankfully in my case I knew I was guilty, and told my lawyer they’d be not dancing with the system. I plead guilty and was given a 2 year suspended sentence with probation, thus avoid jail-time. My crime was not “big” in the larger picture, but it was “big” for the friends I betrayed.

    The second step came 3 years later, when via an intermediary friend, I was informed that the original friends had seen the steps I’d taken to change my thinking and behaviour and knew of my desire to request and receive forgiveness. That “third party” helped facilitate what the court system couldn’t do. A glorious evening dinner where confession was the appetizer, grace and mercy the main course, and forgiveness the dessert.

    Writing with one of the original friends I had betrayed a year later, they wrote: “We all fail, however most of us don’t have our failures be public. You have demonstrated grace in admitting your failure and taking responsibility: that has helped you in your restoration. You are a true friend to stick with this healing process.”

    Needless to say, sometimes the third step is often the hardest, and we may need to depend on the forgiveness of others to shore up our forgiving ourselves.

    I look back at this event now with sadness that it happened but not with guilt. In fact with a tinge of gratitude for it, because as Joe Lalonde wrote on his blog our past shapes us not define us. (http://www.jmlalonde.com/your-past-doesnt-define-you-it-helps-shape-you/)

    1. That third step can be very hard, but equally important.

  3. We’ve all fallen multiple times. This is a great reminder of what to do when we fall Jeremy.

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