A few days ago, I was out playing with my dog in our back yard. Taking her out in the yard is the only time that she is ever really allowed to be truly free.
Walks and potty breaks are always made on leash and indoors she’s caged by walls and contends for space with all the furniture. Being outside gives my dog a sense of freedom no where else does and I know that she loves every second of it.
The minute I let her out she kicks it into high gear and springs into action! She runs around and around, chasing all the wonderful smells, breathing in the fresh air, and having fun. I was watching her run and play when I noticed her lose her footing and tumble into the dirt and mud.
I stifled a laugh as I walked over to check on her and make sure she was okay. But before I could even reach her she was up and running again as if nothing had ever happened.
She was covered in dirt and grass and looked a complete mess. I wondered if the fall had hurt. But it seemed that even if it had, my dog didn’t mind. She had no choice but to get back up again. Regardless of how she felt or looked.
Watching her I wondered why it was never that easy for me to get up after I fell.
Every time I fell, I spent a lot of time on the ground, feeling sorry for myself, cursing God and the world and myself for failing.
It wasn’t fair.
The world is cruel.
I am worthless.
I will never achieve my dreams.
The world knocked me down and I beat myself up with words.
Stay down, I would tell myself. That way you can’t get hurt. That way you cannot fail again.
But failure is a part of life, a small part of me would whisper.
You have to be like Bean.
You have to stand up again.
Bruises and blood and heartache and all.
What if instead of letting my failings and shortcomings keep me down I decided to learn and grow from them, to stop curling up with defeat every time something terrible happened.
What if I stopped accepting rejection? Stopped letting the fear of it control me and use it as a reason to grow?
What could my life be like?
Dogs are amazing creatures. They don’t have the capacity to regret. They don’t life in the past or pine for the future. They don’t belittle themselves. They simply let themselves be and enjoy the world as it is right now. And when life gets hard or they fall down, they perservere. They don’t have a choice but to keep going.
Life is full of wonderful and terrible things. Life can surprise you or thrill you or beat you down. It’s up to you to chose the kind of life that you live. It’s up to you to determine how you will handle the ups and downs of life. It’s up to you to make the best of it or let it destroy you.
So next time you find yourself on the ground, failing and struggling and tempted to admit defeat, stand up.
If you’re anything like Bean, you’ll be too busy noticing the wonderful life you’ve built around you to even bother to brush yourself off.