Growing up, I found learning quite easy. I really enjoyed it and was able to catch on to ideas quickly. I expected to get things right. My ego grew as I got good grades again and again.
Trouble is, this all meant I was wholly unprepared for failure. I had no resilience when I found things hard. I gave up or didn’t even start things I knew I couldn’t easily succeed at. I found it (and still do) emotionally very tough to get things wrong. My mindset was fixed that if I didn’t get it right straight away, I would never get it.
Then I took my A levels. It didn’t come naturally anymore. I actually had to work. Just before sitting my exams I managed to slice the tendon in my finger meaning I had to dictate my final coursework and exams. Imagine listening to an essay on a cassette tape! Still feel sorry for that teacher! I found revising hard because I couldn’t write so instead of finding a work around, I gave up. Then my results came. I got B A D (I have always read them in this order!!) I got the D in maths which totally devastated me. I had always excelled in maths. I had no idea how to deal with this failure (of course, this is not a failure but it sure felt like one). The only thing I knew to do was to cancel my gap year and get back to studying. To prove to myself I could do it.
In my first assignment at uni I got 44%. I really considered quitting. I felt like such a failure. I judged myself so harshly.
Even though my instincts were telling me to quit, the thought of being a drop out terrified me more so I kept going. I learned that I would get better. I realised that if I kept trying I would improve. I took extra modules in maths for engineering just to prove to myself that I could do maths. In my final year, I worked the hardest I ever had. And I got a first. It was redemption. But also a really important realisation: one failure doesn’t mean you will always fail.
Finding something hard today doesn’t mean you will always find it hard.
I’ve tried to keep this lesson with me and change some of the things I say to myself. In motherhood, never has this lesson been more important.
I can’t get my baby to stop crying
Today, I am finding it hard but we will know each other better soon and both find this easier.
I can’t juggle work and parenting
At the moment, it is a challenge to juggle my responsibilities but I’m already getting better at it so I know that someday soon I will find this much easier.
I can’t cope
It’s OK to find this hard right now but look how much you have already achieved.
My house is a state. I’m a rubbish wife and mother.
Today I didn’t get all the chores done but we are all happy and safe and fed and this will get easier with time.
So next time you feel like you can’t do it, remind yourself that you can’t do it yet but if you keep trying, you will get there.