Disappointment or Failure

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough month both personally and professionally. Upon reflection, I’m reminded again, that the details matter less than the accumulation of emotions.

  • Anger,
  • Sadness,
  • Frustration,
  • Sorrow,
  • Disappointment.

Of course with the plethora of grandchildren in our quiver, there was also a good dose of joy, delight, encouragement, and unadulterated happy…

…but back to my brooding.

In the midst of ‘sober second thoughts’ coupled with ruthless self-reflection I was left exhausted; physically and emotionally. A place only briefly witnessed in decades. Now I had soundly landed and risked being stuck.

Throughout our lives we are given wake up calls. My latest came just over a week ago. A mild to moderate health scare; a wonder if I was dead or alive.

Alive, I am. A healthy alive at that.

When a counsellor and a pastor co-exist in a smallish urban apartment, what is lost in physical space is made up in emotional space. All that to say, we reflect A LOT!

And this reflection was all about me. Reflection on past, present, and future.

What are my for sures?

  • I’m a hard worker,
  • I’m intelligent,
  • I have great intuition coupled with wisdom,
  • I am loved, protected, cherished,
  • I’ve been blessed with a career that has been an awesome fit.

So then, why the angst? Why the questions?

In the midst of yet another educational-systems conflict (how many is that now?) I find myself weary. A good old, shake my head with ‘not-again’ weariness. That kind of tired can usually be shifted aside by doing, but there is no ‘doing’ for me this time round.

So then, here’s the deal. I still hold disappointments close to my heart. So close they hurt perhaps more than I realize. A gentle nudge from my reverend brought me to wonder if the sad is less about disappointment and more about a sense of failure.

  • Failure to shield  students from bad news,
  • Failure to shield my own children from disappointment or pain,
  • Failure to make the world a perfect place,
  • Failure to make my career move ‘up’ fast enough.

Hard to believe it comes back to the old, ‘I’m not good enough’.

Then I wonder, if I’m still vulnerable and fall back to this old ‘default’ of ‘not good enough’, then what can I offer as hope to students and staff. And here’s where the story changes. I’m not stuck here. I’ve learned to stare down failure. It can be ripped apart piece by piece. It’s not up to me to shield the world ~ to ‘fix’ the world. It’s up to me to stay grounded, feet planted, deep breathing. My job is to notice: beauty, sunrises, sunsets, laughter, tears, energy, weariness. Then stand in those places. Yes, stand in beauty and/or weariness. To embrace the here and now, to know there is hope, there is a tomorrow, there is a better.

My job is to never, ever give up.

To witness growth amidst a storm brings a new strength. A new commitment to move forward. To be still yet shout aloud – “it gets better, it really does”.

Warmest Regards,



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2 Responses to Disappointment or Failure

  1. Thanks Cheryl. Brene Brown is one of my favourites. I hadn’t heard the first one. Thanks for the link. My challenge remains to keep a soft heart, yet manage boundaries etc. etc. Overall I really like this stage of live. So much wisdom to tap into. So much easier to not have to be right, leaving the ability to learn afresh. I may not be perfect, but I am enough.


  2. Cheryl Berto says:

    here’s a link to a talk by Brene Brown that I find encouraging http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Qm9cGRub0 and then there is this one which is a great follow up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psN1DORYYV0 . i hope this is readable.


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