I have a dear friend who used the statement, “I failed, even though I tried everything I could to help her.” That broke my heart, and I began to think about the pain we often go through when we try to help someone we love or someone we care about. It may be a child, a friend, a sibling, or anyone that is significant in our lives.
When you read the definition of failure, it has many situations for which it applies. Failure to pay rent, failure to be accepted into college, or failure to perform as expected. Many of these are willful choices to ignore obligations or simply ignoring something you have committed to do.
But let’s not confuse failure with disappointment. Sometimes disappointment is so strong it makes us feel like a failure. Disappointment comes when huge amounts of effort have been put forth to help or solve a situation. We all have had times when we have tried to help a person that we care about, but the person doesn’t want to participate in the healing of a situation. Other times disappointment comes when we can’t control a situation that we have done our best to do.
“You can’t want something for someone more that they want it for themself!” That’s a quote I live by. I have had people work for me in which I saw such great potential to be a leader in our company, but they wanted everything handed to them instead of accomplishing something. I tried to counsel and encourage, but nothing happened. I was so disappointed that my efforts had not helped them to see their true potential. Again, I wanted something worse than they did. I was so disappointed that I thought I had failed as a mentor. But no, I had invested myself in that person. While I was disappointed, I was not a failure.
Reality is this: There are situations we can control and those that we can’t. All we can do is do our best in any given situation. Please understand some things are out of our control, not matter what we do or how much time we commit.
Do not let disappointment drag you into thinking you are a failure. Look up and realize your gift of caring is very special. When you love and care, it enriches your soul. It makes you and me better people by caring—it allows us to grow as a person.