With the expansion of the internet and social media use, it seems a lot of attention has been shown to the phenomenon of failure.
Failure to get a good job, failure to get educated, failure to be happy, failure to be there when your friends need you, failure to get married, failure to comply with mainstream social norms etc. etc. etc.
There sure seems to be a whole lot of failure going on!
Yet with more and more websites, articles and radio stations telling us all about the millions of choices we have, what it means to be “successful” and exactly how we should go about our lives not being a societal “failure”, it seems that we sometimes forget that the natural state of people differs and that what is purportedly achieved by some, really isn’t that achievable or even desirable for others.
Everybody is different. Everybody has their own wants, needs, desires, limitations. Everybody has distinct personal aspirations and attributes that make them unique.
- Just because someone is homeless, does that make them someone to look down on and pity?
No. In fact, some people are quite proud of being homeless, and if that lifestyle suits them and doesn’t harm others in the process then why ever not?
- Just because someone chooses not to go to university, does that automatically make them unsuccessful?
No. There are plenty of opportunities for people to engage in happy and fulfilling work without a degree. People don’t all have the opportunity to go to university. Maybe they don’t have the time, money, desire, feeling of necessity. Why judge them negatively for that?
- Just because someone chooses to…
- Not get married
- Not have Children
- Not buy a House
- Stay at home with the kids
- Get a tattoo
- Get divorced
- Work as a stripper
- Deal drugs
- Work 16 hour days
- Take on/relinquish a faith
- [Insert some other societal perception of failure here]
…does that make them a failure?
No, not necessarily. Maybe in someone’s eyes. In my eyes, however, they are making choices. They are living life.
Out of desire, out of necessity, it doesn’t matter why. All that matters is that we don’t immediately judge them in a negative light for those choices.
Everybody’s idea of “failure” is different and we all live in a world where stereotypes are ever present and influence every one of us.
Despite this we can all make a choice: To look at things differently. To question the norm. To question our own thoughts, feelings and reactions. To care.
Next time you find yourself feeling sorry for someone because of their perceived “failure” to live up to your own or society’s norms take a step back and think.
Has that person really failed? Or has that person just made a different choice? It could lead them to a happy ending either way.