CIP Blog

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Learning From Your Failures with CIP's Support


kaitlyn-f-berkeley

CIP student Kaitlyn speaks during parent weekend about learning from her failures.

For as long as I've had a life philosophy, mine could be summed up by one word - balance. 

As a child with high levels of anxiety I was taught thought replacement therapy, replacing negative, destructive, irrational thoughts about what a failure I perceived myself as with positive, constructive statements.

While effective, this caused me to develop a fractured psyche in times of stress or self-doubt, my rational and irrational thoughts warring directly with each other. Achieving balance between my emotional and logical halves is a constant struggle. Striking an equilibrium between two opposing yet equally legitimate positions is a theme that may have started in third grade therapy but has resonated throughout my life.

Breaking free from my parents and starting my own life versus the emotional comfort we take in our interactions, venturing into the unknown versus the fear of the unfamiliar, solitude versus being social, and preparation versns spontaneity, all of these are constant dichotomies in my life.

ClP has helped me broaden the line I walk between these contradictions. In therapy here the perfect metaphor has emerged: me as a Chinese acrobat, attempting to keep dozens of spinning plates in the air.

Before coming here, if I dropped one, I would then give up on success and simply drop them all. Perfection is not possible, I will never achieve an unwavering balance between my issues and my abilities. As I go through life, things will tip and sway to one side or the other, and I now have faith that when I eventually look back I will see an even equilibrium, each tilt evening the other out with enough distance.

Like Robert Frost, and many of the other students here, I have dropped my entire armful before. It was necessary to get me to a place where I could start again, this time carrying the knowledge of what worked and what catastrophically failed.

"For every parcel I stoop down to seize I lose some other off my arms and knees, And the whole pile is slipping, bottles, buns Extremes too hard to comprehend at once, Yet nothing I should care to leave behind. With all I have to hold with hand and mind And heart, if need be, I will do my best To keep their building balanced at my breast. I crouch down to prevent them as they fall; Then sit down in the middle of them all. I had to drop the armful in the road And try to stack them in a better load."

-"The Armful" by Robert Frost

"Confront the dark parts of yourself and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminderof your strength."

-August Wilson

By Kaitlyn F., CIP Berkeley student