I know you recently suffered a major setback to your dream.
Something you worked, and suffered, and prayed for. Something you wanted so much that perhaps your other blessings seemed to pale by comparison. Something that would advance your hopes, your calling, and your life.
But you didn’t get it.
To make it worse, you had to watch while someone else heard “yes” instead of “no.” Maybe that person was even a friend–compounding your anguish by making you feel like a wretched, selfish person as well as a loser.
You watched your failings written large upon the vault of your existence, in ways that make you feel both inadequate and small.
I know that pain. I’ve been there.
If I could, I would do anything to take that pain away from you, to turn the “no” into a “yes,” or bear your suffering on your behalf. If my strength could carry your burden, I would shoulder it. If my blood could heal your emotional wounds, I would bleed on your behalf.
The fact that I cannot take your pain inflicts on me a sorrow deeper than these words can ever say…and yet, I have only words with which to help you.
And so, I offer these five words, the great and strongest truth I have to offer:
YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.
I know, today, you won’t believe me. Failure stings too much for that right now.
You will think I’m only saying this to make you feel better.
You will think I’m only speaking through the blindness of my love.
You may think I do not know you, that I’ve never felt your pain, and that I have no way to know what you endure.
But you’d be wrong.
YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.
It is true I’m saying this to make you feel better. It is true that love can blind us to a fault. It is true, I may not know you, and may have never felt the very pain that hurts you at this moment.
But I do know how it feels to suffer. I have walked my miles in hopeless shoes.
I have watched my dreams go up in smoke, and had to build them up again from nothing.
I have heard that painful “no,” and watched my friends succeed where I have failed.
But I am not a failure, and I know that YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE either.
I know how it feels to wish you could hide, alone in a corner, because it feels easier than standing up to face the world’s pity. I know how it feels to wonder why your answer was no, when someone else heard yes.
You may not believe it now, today, but someday, in the future, whether hours, or days, or even years from now, you will see that I was right–that this loss, this setback, does not and cannot define you.
Until then, please trust me that these words as true: YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.
You are a beautiful person whose life has meaning. You have a calling, and you will achieve it, whether or not you can see that far ahead on your path right now.
Mourn the setback. Shed a tear if it helps you. But in the morning, when the sun comes up–and it will, no matter how you feel today–get back on the path and move forward with whatever you are tasked to do. Because you are NOT a failure, and someday, when you reach the top of the mountain, you will look back on this moment and realize that surviving this setback may even have helped you find the strength to reach the goal.