This is a post about trying and failing. And trying again, and failing again. Trying and failing so often, in fact, that I’ve forgotten how many times attempts I’ve made. In some ways, this is a post about meditation (and I’ve written a few of those posts before). But it’s also a post about being resilient, and staying open minded. Most importantly, it’s about the valuable lesson I learned when it comes to mental health. If at first you don’t succeed…well, it might not always work. But sometimes trying again can be just what you need.
The inspiration for this post was reflecting on my relationship with meditation. The way I view meditation has ebbed and flowed over the years. When I first heard about it, I was hoping and praying I’d found a way to solve my anxiety. I read up on the benefits of meditation, the value and importance of the practice. I listened to people talk about mindfulness and give advice, and I learned what I could.
I did my best to learn what I could about meditation and the first time I decided to give it a real try, I failed. Spectacularly, I might add. It put me more on edge, and made me even angrier at myself. It was having the opposite effect, and this first attempt didn’t last long. I left meditation alone for a while after that. I tried other things to manage my depression and anxiety, doing my best to grow my mental health toolboox.
But at least once (sometimes twice) a year, I would try and come back to meditation. And it was a struggle for me every. Single. Time. In fact, it wasn’t until last year – after nine years of experiencing depression and anxiety – that meditation became part of my daily practice. And even that process is still ongoing, more than a year later.
There will be other posts where I reflect on the specifics around my journey with meditation. Today, though, I want to focus on my mindset. When I first learned about meditation, I was excited. I thought it would be an important part of my mental health toolkit.
As it turns out I was right, but not for the reasons I thought. The main reason I wanted to improve at meditation was that I thought it would help me “get rid” of my mental illness. If I could conquer mindfulness, I could stop my depression. And this problematic assumption didn’t solve a thing.
I wouldn’t say that it was my resiliency that led me back to meditation time and again. I felt resilient, but that wasn’t the main motivation in coming back to it. What pulled me back in was the idea that I’d had the wrong mindset about meditation in previous attempts. And that’s the lesson I’ve learned time and again in a decade of living with anxiety and depression.
There’s a famous saying: “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” that I’d like to add to. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again – and if trying over and over isn’t working, that’s okay. But that what might not work for you today could be something that works for you in the future. We’re always changing and always evolving, and our mental health can be the same way. Sometimes, trying again is exactly what you need. Here’s hoping that second (or third, or fourth) try works in your favor.
Now I want to hear from you! What is something that took you awhile to learn, or took some time before you found success? Have you ever succeeded at something after failing in the past? I want to know! Let me know in the comments below.