Rev. Wayne Walder: Is Life Risk … or is Risk Life?

by Reverend Wayne Walder

Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

… Sure, Eleanor, but you don’t mention the risk associated with living-up a life.

Follow your bliss … and don’t be afraid, … doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.
~ Joseph Campbell

Sure, Joe, but don’t tell us you never fell on your face when following your bliss.

In a human lifetime, we all try things. As we try them we hope everything will work out fine, everyone will stay smiling and our self confidence will help us through any problems. So we take our chances to live great life. When this works, we feel on top of the world. “Bring on the next problem,” we say. I hope each of us have had times like these.

But we have also had times when it did not work out. We tried to live a bigger life and our heart got broken, we lost $10,000, the love of our life left, the job evaporated. Instead of feeling on top of the world we felt the weight of the world. This happens too.

Loving life and trying new things are essential to a full human life … AND there are times when we all fail. Taking risks does not mean we will be successful.

Because we are wired to take special care of ourselves, as soon as we fail, our mind goes into self-protect mode. “I shouldn’t have gone there”, “I shouldn’t have trusted them”, “how could I be so stupid?” … and finally, “I’m never doing that again!”

We protect ourselves against the failures that hurt us. Immediately our shame and embarrassment cause us to distort what happened. We want to blame others. We want to justify why we could not have succeeded. We excuse our inadequacy, we see ourselves as victims. We again see the world as a scary place. We tell ourselves not to try again.

Knowing this can help us know that success and failure are part of every human life. Taking risks occurs every day. As babies we try to walk and we fall a thousand times. The falls often hurt, but we stand back up and try again. Then one day we are walking and all the falls are almost forgotten. Walking, one of our most human traits, is built by failure and perfected by success.

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