Written by Brittany Johansen, HOYH’s VP of Connection

The Great Wall of Defeat

Let’s start by saying this video is cute. Really and truly cute. Adorable even. I might go so far as to say it’s precious! But as I sit here (watching this little kid get his butt whooped by a giant wall that he’s apparently supposed to be able to jump over despite its towering position over his little body), I’ve got goosebumps all over. You know why? Because who doesn’t love a good rumble with fear? Or a head on collision with self doubt? Or a love story? I found this video to be a little of all three. So take a watch while I share the lessons I’ve learned in honor of this three minute heart-opening cuteness.

Six major lessons cleverly disguised in poor video quality and a tiny little human’s adventure of soaring to new heights:

1.) Failing is inevitable and happens far more often than our successes. We can benefit from learning to love our failures for what they teach us and what they prepare us for. I recently heard this line, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.” Failure isn’t comfortable or easy. But there’s nothing quite like the sweet taste of perseverance, success, and accomplishment when you refuse to give up.

2.) It takes practice. If you’ve tried something new or even something you’ve done a thousand times and are somehow perfect at it – you are an anomaly. We should study your unicorn magic. The reality is, perfection isn’t real. It’s made up, fabricated by people who want to prey off your feelings of unworthiness and self doubt. What is real? Progress. Progress is tangible, measurable, and attainable. Aim for progress, not perfection.

3.) Tears are part of the process. They come after our hearts are broken, when we are ashamed or embarrassed, when our fears creep to the surface, or when we feel defeat. Let them come. Feel them. Allow your needs and vulnerable heart to be seen. Give permission for the emotions to build, crest, and then crash down like ocean waves – because the quickest way through is straight across. And then take a deep breath, stand up, wash your face, and recommence the major ass kicking you have to do. You’ll be strengthened by the small act of compassion of allowing your body to release the frustration in the most natural way you’re designed to. Tears aren’t the enemy. They do NOT mean you are weak. They’re a sign you need a small break; regroup, realign, rest. Then get back out there and hurdle those walls with renewed determination.

4.) Everyone, and I do mean every human being on this earth, needs a tribe. Your journey, your practice, your road is yours alone, but it is imperative you surround yourself with people who cheer you on, sit in the passenger seat and help you navigate, and comfort you when times get rough. Find your tribe and love them hard. And let them help you when shit hits the fan.

5.) Attributes like pride, encouragement, honor, fortitude, friendship, curiosity, teaching, diligence, patience, resiliency, fear, love, excitement, anticipation, and passion are not unique to any one religion, race, gender, culture, or sub group of people. Neither is heartbreak, rejection, shame, vulnerability, frustration, anger, humility, loneliness, sadness and fear. It is exactly these human emotions and feelings that help us relate to one another. We learn that others have experienced what we have, and in that discovery we feel less alone, we connect with shared story, and we find the grace in accepting one another as we accept ourselves. Close the distance and bridge the gap instead of building walls to support separation and segregation. It’s time to live in love, together. We were made to.

6.) Allow others the right to live their own journey. One of the sweetest things about this video is the quiet patience with which the audience, fellow participants and coach patiently waited for this pint-sized athlete to accomplish his goal. It was his turn in the spotlight, and no one tried to take that from him. No one tried to shame or belittle him, and most importantly – no one tried to do it for him. Let us remember that to honor the boundaries of others experiences is to exhibit real, authentic love. Even and especially when their experiences and choices cause us discomfort, fear, hurt, anxiety and even pain. Be a genuine, caring witness. Stay in your seat when it’s not your show. Give them the respect they deserve for the lessons they need to learn.

I began by saying this video was cute. Precious, even. And it is. But it is so much more, now. I am reminded that the simplest things often hold the deepest truths, if I’m willing to look for them. I am reminded that in sharing the human experience with my billions of sisters and brothers, I am not alone in my struggle to find balance, success and peace in this life. Across all divides; countries, languages, cultures, religions, and even time – we are all united in our need for connection, empowerment and hope. I’m grateful for this little boy who reminded me that no matter how high the wall, or how many times we fail…

we got this.

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