Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

August 22, 2004


The best way to handle failure is to get over it


      Eventually, we all fail. No one gets through life without swallowing the bitter pill of defeat. Some learn how to get over it and move on. Others never learn.

          The way to handle failure can be summed up in three words: Get over it! Worry does not help. Bitterness makes things worse because it sours our spirit. Regret is useful only if it shows us ways we need to change.

          The death of a loved one produces sorrow. Grief is a normal and understandable experience. Yet eventually we must get over it for life does not stand still, it moves on. Sadness must give way to joy if we are to move on with the flow of life.

          In the dark days of our lives, we can learn to look for light where we can find it. The words of Carlyle are helpful: “The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough.” If we will gaze up into the dark sky long enough, eventually we can see the stars shining.

          Realism demands that we remember that life is not all sunshine and sweetness. There will be sad and lonely days, but we can choose to overcome our misery. Longfellow understood this reality:

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining,

Behind the clouds the sun is shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all;

Into each life some rain must fall, --

Some days must be dark and dreary.

          Adversity, after all, is a great teacher. We learn much more from our failure than our success. Success often leads to pride, and pride causes us to stumble. “Pride and weakness,” Lowell said, “are Siamese twins.”

          When we fall, we need to ask what caused us to fall, and resolve to improve wherever improvement is possible. Only a fool continues to make the same mistake repeatedly. We can learn not to do certain things again. Unless we do, we will never be able to “get over it.”

          Sometimes people get ahead by stepping on others. It hurts when someone else gets the promotion you thought you deserved. When that happens, you have a choice. You can stew over it and complain bitterly. You can scream and cry that you were wronged. None of that will help you. It succeeds only in making you miserable. Dare I say it? The best response you can make is to get over it.

          To get over a disappointment is usually to rise above it. Washington Irving said it well: “Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above it.” He was right. We can refuse to be subdued by our defeats and become better people because of them.

          Anger is a dead end street. Problems are never solved by tearing our hair out, though some people try it. Baldness will not soothe our sorrows. Though it is normal to become angry with those who hurt us, we must learn to calm down and get over the hurt.

          When someone hurts us, we can never get over it until we are willing to forgive the person who has wronged us. Years are sometimes lost by holding on to hatred and resentment and in doing so we only hurt ourselves. Hatred is a chain that ties you to the person you hate. The only way ever to be free is to forgive. Forgiveness breaks the chain and sets you free.

          If you are nursing a sorrow, hurt, disappointment, or failure, admit that you need to get over it. If you will get over it, you can move on with your life. Life will not be perfect, but it will be sweeter, and you will be able to share with your friends: “I’m over it!”

          Remember too, the next time life falls apart for you, to say to yourself, “Get over it!” Then, take a deep breath, two aspirins, and get over it! Until you do, you can never move on with your life. + + + +