THE TENDER MERCIES OF FAILURE
“The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi, made famous by Walt Disney’s animation, is the story of a wooden puppet who is led astray by a number of unscrupulous adventurers. Having lost his way, the puppet vows to return to his creator, Geppeto, with enough virtue to help him become a real boy. Everyone knows the story and everyone knows how difficult it is to stick to good intentions. If statistics are right, many a New Year’s resolution is lost and forgotten in the early weeks of the calendar. Old habits return and lead us again into misadventure and, like Pinocchio, we may fall and fall and fall again.
Still, having a good intention is the first step along a sometimes difficult road. Like the rooster’s call for a new day, it awakens us to the potential within in us and if we can forgive our mistakes, we can rise and take a second step. Even if we fall again, we are still two paces in the direction we want to go.
Progress largely depends upon our ability to forgive our failures. Few smokers quite cold turkey. With other addictions it is the same. We must remember to treat our failures with the tender mercy we provide our friends as encouragement. To succeed in our goals we must first be a friend to ourselves.
So, if the diet goes out the window for a day or two or three, the fourth begins as a clean slate. We have another chance. Keeping an eye on the objective is better than counting the failures.