Defeat vs. Plateau

How can we tell the difference between one or the other?

Is there a difference?

Stating the obvious here but, 2020 has been nothing but ridiculous ups and downs all year. This one year has somehow mentally and emotionally seemed like five have passed. And yet, there are so many people out there, myself included, who have had a multitude of moments of defeat and stagnation. One is debilitating and the other feels so comfortable that it’s almost impossible to notice how deadly it actually is.

This year a defeat was: not getting to collect unemployment because you were deemed an essential worker or simply because the system’s defects were finally brought to light. Or maybe it was losing your home, or becoming a victim to a flood or wildfire or hurricane. Or worse, becoming one of the many infected with Covid-19 or losing someone you love who was taken ill by the virus. A defeat, isn’t something anyone of us can truly be prepared for. Defeat, is out of our control while at the same time, painfully temporary.

Defeat is climbing your way up a mountain and having a rockslide knock you off, sending you back down 100 feet.

In order to overcome defeat, to not fall victim to complete fear, all we need to do is take a breath. Take the time we need to reassess and remember what we’re capable of. To realize, “Yeah, I’ve been knocked down further than I anticipated but I got myself this far before. So, there’s no way I’m not gonna push past this point again to climb even further towards my truth.”

And, as with defeat, I’ve had to catch myself when thoughts of extreme neutrality or, “Eh,” seemed so tempting to latch onto. Where a part of me wanted to feel motivated to finish writing my book or train harder in martial arts but I couldn’t fight the voice in me that just said, “But, why?”

As if, my inner child had just decided to sit down. Disapproving of any and all my choices; disappointed at the adult I hadn’t become. “I thought we’d be richer, or be working for ourselves by now or maybe even a secret super genius…you don’t even have any kids yet?!”

For a while he convinced me of giving up, throwing in the towel, because nothing I’d imagined in my youth seems even close to coming true or so, he’d made me believe. Because the thing is, we as kids, knew absolutely nothing about the world as a whole. Nothing of how it works, nothing of what’s truly possible, and nothing of what qualifies as a super genius (maybe it’s just me for the last one).

Not knowing when we’re kids of anything that’s truly possible, is part of the magic and wonder of being a kid. It’s what makes growing up so hard but also, what makes growing up such an unexpected journey. While my inner child was being huffy I’d get hints of this realization, bursts of epiphanic reality, until one day I turned to him and said, “No, this isn’t where we’re stopping. We may not’ve been able to understand the capabilities of the world around us when we were younger but we’ve always known exactly what we’re capable of as a person. Come on, get up, I’ll carry you on my back if I need to-“

“Can I wear-“

“Yeah, you can wear the Yoda suit. Ready? We’ve got a ways to go.”

A plateau in life, is willful stagnation. It’s choosing to kill the spirit because you’re convinced that’s exactly what’s going to happen anyways. After so many defeats, choosing to plateau seems like the logical choice but really it’s the opposite. It’s illogical to cease being alive while physically still living.

Defeat is bound to happen but plateauing, is a choice made based on accepting the idea of fear fueled, imagined, unbeatable defeats. Plateauing’s a willful extinguishing of the soul. Defeat, ignites the soul to show us how strong and capable we truly are.

You’re stronger than your defeats, simply due to the fact you’ve become stronger because of them.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Aushana says:

    I love the last sentence. It’s so beautiful.

    1. Thank you, it was the only way to end this piece I believe.

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