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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Losing everything else, but keeping ourselves


In a previous blog entry, The Fine Line: Failure takes no effort, success takes a lot of work, I observed that failure is a essentially a default position.  That is to say, failure comes 'naturally' by effectively doing nothing.  Success typically takes a lot of effort.

It occurs to me that a corollary of that point is in this life, if we live long enough, we face profound loss.  Loss is hard to avoid.  Also, even when we gain, it is usually temporary.  Even the 'permanent' gains can lose some of their edge.  In other words, there is always a degree of loss, even profound loss.  However, we don't have to be lost.

I will go over my concept--losing everything else, but keeping ourselves--and give what I see as a backstop to looking at life as hopeless.  First, losing.  On our travels through life many things pass. These are just a few of them:
  • Most people when they are born, spend a lot of time around one or both parents.  We get the attention and love, warmth, the security, the attention of them.  In time, as kids get older, their parents realize that they can't just hold onto their 'little one' forever.  They must allow their little angel to fly.  From the perspective of a kid, it is gaining their freedom.  From the perspective of a parent it is the loss of sharing joy and love with their child.
  • People come and go in our lives.  It is hard to lose someone we thought was our friend.  Sometimes, it is in a dramatic destructive fashion. Sometimes, people just drift apart. Other times, they just stop reaching out or back to us and we don't know why.  Even when it is not a dramatic exit, it the sense of loss is still present when friends just move away or fade out.
  • Loved ones pass away.  It can be the loss of those very close such as close family or friends.  It could be a friendly familiar face.  It could be a beloved fixture in the background we never got to meet such as Carrie Fisher.  Regardless, a passing still has a sting to it.
  • Our youth, our energy, our health fades.  The carefree nature of youth is lost to adult problems to where we miss the romanticized version of our youth.
These things, if we let them, can make our glass seem half-full or less.  These things can make us seem like we've lost more than we've gained or have.  But, I have learned in a much less dramatic fashion than Job, Anne Frank, or MLK that there is one thing that we can only lose--and therefore feel lost--if we choose to give it away or let it go.  That one thing is OURSELVES.

We can lose a lot in our lives, but we won't lose ourselves and be lost if:
  • We keep our self-respect and dignity.
  • We keep our honor.
  • We keep our basic sense of fairness and decency.
  • We keep our sense of who we are (our roles).
  • We keep our faith and purpose.
  • But most of all we keep our relationship between us and God (our Higher Power). All else flows from this.
So, let this world and this life try to keep us down.  Let this world and this life try and defeat us. We can lose everything, but we are only truly defeated and lost if we lose ourselves.  

* If you like this blog post, I think you'll like:
Always darkest before the dawn: Cleaning requires a bigger mess first



In the spirit of a man who lost everything (his life), but did not lose it all.  MLK kept his pride...