Have you ever had this serious envy on a person’s success and wondered why you couldn’t be just like him or her? Have you ever day-dreamed so much about how you could be better physically, intellectually, or socially? Have you ever poured your blood, sweat and tears at the start of a goal and giving up the next day sitting on the couch with a bag of chips on hand and just embraced the philosophy of Netflix and chill? In reality, you’re not alone; everyone at some point in their life gave up half-way in doing something. Whether it’s mastering that Pachelbel’s Canon in D, solving a math equation that you find too difficult or making yourself prettier with that beauty care routine you watched on YouTube, we are utterly and undeniably susceptible to giving-up.
Perhaps a way to understand this is to try and trace back to a time when we’re young and learning. During the toddler years, we yearn to be autonomous and do things on our own; we want to be able to do the tasks independently. This cultivates our will and courage to try new things, learn and explore not for any reward or reason but for the pure bliss we get when you accomplish things. At some point though we made a mistake and we were scolded, punished and perhaps threatened to never try that again or we will receive more pain – pain that is not just of physically or verbally inflicted but pain that manifests from the disappointment of the authority figures that we trust. Without a nurturing environment to pacify it, this seed of doubt, shame and guilt then sprouts and wraps around the confidence in doing the simple things such as raising our hands to ask a teacher, talking to a stranger, or extending help to those in need. Luckily, our constant development and further understanding of ourselves others prunes these vines to keep them to a minimum as much as possible.
As we grow older and bolder we begin to have clear cut goals and aspirations. Each time we set our eyes on something we desire such as a healthier body, a good performance or better grades, we set ourselves in a series of steps of continuously diverging paths – a choice between pushing on or giving-up. The ideal decision would be to push on and endure but why do we tend to blaze through the path we don’t really want to go? Did we forget? Was it too hard? Whatever the conscious answers are, there is this unconscious thought that endlessly whispers seductively its malicious intent. A thought that sprouted a long time ago but remained dormant until it was necessary. It begs us to hear the words it softly murmurs – “you can’t do it.”
We can’t just blame everything on this thought though; it’s just doing its job of protecting us from pain. It urges you to not disappoint that authority figure which by now is most likely ourselves. It tries to tell us that we shouldn’t get hurt anymore. It warns us that instead of struggling relentlessly we should stay put and not try at all because it is afraid that we might once again be in pain. Sadly, we believe this thought and refuse to step out of our comfort zone. We hide in its protection as it blinds us with an illusion that everything is nice and dandy but deep down you know you could be better and you know you should not give in.
Fear not though, in some occasions, out of our hearts there is this loud booming noise that attempts to silence this resilient lie – hope. Hope that was built in our infancy when we learned to trust is the key. Hope that lights the way to the right path is the reason. It is the weapon of choice that most of the people we envy wield. It is what gives us these longing to be better than what we are today. It is the voice that calls out to us to try again.
We can’t change what happened in the past but we can continue cutting the vines that plagues our life with hope. We have to whisper to our inner child that it is alright if we fail as long as we take the responsibility of cleaning up our own mess and be better next time. Give it hope and it will have the will to try again. Give it will and it will have the courage to be better and take the risk of failing. Give it courage and it will be the competent you that you desire.