...don't give up.
I know that sounds like something you'd read on an inspirational coffee mug, but I don't mean it in the trite or metaphorical sense. Nor do I mean it for everything that may come your way in life. (Believe me, I was wise to give up skiing after the third try.) I mean it for the things that really matter to you.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to give up on things sometimes? A diet, music lessons, a tired relationship? Sometimes it's much easier to say to yourself, "I really didn't care so much about that," or "It doesn't matter if this works out or not." But you know in your heart what matters and what doesn't, and you know that this quote from Wayne Gretzky rings unquestionably true:
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
Here's what I've been learning over the past few months (and years):
If you knock on a door and no one answers, find another door.
If no one answers that door, find another one.
If you find one, it opens, and then gets slammed in your face, FIND ANOTHER ONE.
Keep knocking, keep trying, and never stop reaching out to those doors until you find the right ones, with the right support behind them. Old doors may not open again, so it's your job to hit the proverbial pavement to find new ones. New ones may open for a while, then close unexpectedly, and then it's time to revisit the old ones if necessary.
Sometimes the right door is at the top of a steep hill, covered with rocks and brambles. Find a way to get to that door.
Sometimes the right door is answered by someone who requires us to put aside our egos, swallow our prides, and look outside ourselves for something greater. Find the strength to do all of those things.
Sometimes the right door is opened in way that is completely unexpected and unfamiliar. Find the space inside to trust in the process.
Not giving up takes strength, patience, faith, and perseverance. The heartache may often outweigh the joy. We may want desperately to give up multiple times. But the reward is worth all of the knocking, slamming, frustration, and uphill climbs. The satisfaction of the accomplishment is so much more fulfilling after having gone through all of the hard work it took to get there.
There's one more thing we all need that is essential to not giving up:
Those of us who have built stone walls around our hearts from repeated hurts and disappointments will say that the deceitful nature of hope only leads to deeper pain and despair. Well, I would challenge myself, and you, to see instead the beauty and buoyancy of hope. Feel the power and potency of potential. And with every triumph, consciously take a pebble out of those walls, to see what light might shine through from the other side.
"An optimist is someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward isn't a disaster, it's a cha-cha." ~Robert Brault
Care to cha-cha with me? The dance floor is just behind that next door...