If at first you don’t succeed, you’re human.

I saw this on a church sign while on a walk around my new neighborhood this morning. I’m not religious; never have been. But much of what is taught within the boundaries of religion has meaning for everyday life, and everyone can relate to this on some level.

I’ve never been good at accepting failure. There was always some part of me that was left disappointed, ashamed at the fact that I wasn’t perfect. That I couldn’t always do everything I set out to, because what did that show? That I wasn’t good enough to accomplish things? That I sucked at life because I couldn’t execute everything perfectly?

That’s what I thought. Sometimes I still do. But this little reminder today means a lot more than a simple message in passing. It’s a reminder that we aren’t perfect, and we were never meant to be. A light rain deflected off of my new raincoat as I walked, dampening my hair as I considered this. Life isn’t perfect–and why should it be? Why is it that we as humans are typically always in pursuit of what’s perfect and so often unhappy when we can’t achieve it? Where did this mindset stem from?

The trees that sprouted naturally in the nearby fields didn’t care if they weren’t in a straight line. The moss and lichen that lines the rain-soaked sidewalks here grows where it will, without boundary. Nature isn’t perfect, so why do we strive so hard to be?

That’s what I’ve always loved about nature. Despite the restrictions we try to put on it, it’s going to continue to do as it will. I care about the environment and want to do my best to live alongside it as opposed to taking control, and I’m a firm believer that nature has its ways of surviving despite the hardships it faces and the hits it takes. As humans we share that nature, and we have the same ability to succeed despite our downfalls. If we don’t succeed, we get up, dust ourselves off and try again.

Here’s to believing in this the next time I fail, because it’s going to happen. I’m going to face challenges and have to fight my way through dark and difficult times, and there’s no telling how or when it’s going to happen. Instead of constantly worrying about it as I have in the past, it’s time to take control of my life and get back in the driver’s seat. The only one holding me back is me.