Hang on, don’t quit

I have heard “hang on, don’t quit” so many times over the years from other people , but mostly I’ve heard it from myself. I repeat that statement every time I’m faced with a difficulty. My brain is just wired that way, with a do not quit determination. If someone ever told me I couldn’t do something, I saw that as a challenge to prove them wrong.

The hardest thing for me to do is to accept failure. But whose failure? Who gets to define what failure actually means? Failure according to the world is the inability to perform a normal function. So I guess in the world’s eyes, I am a complete and utter failure because I am disabled and unable to do just about anything in a “normal” manner.

I no longer work a full-time job, can’t seem to put a complete thought together in my head without careful planning, have more numb body parts than working ones, and break down in tears more times than I care to admit. It takes me all day to do one load of laundry; I go to the mailbox once a week instead of daily because it’s exhausting; my bed sees me more than my own family does; I lose thoughts, keys and words by the minute; and if I try to stand without holding onto a wall, walker, someone’s arm or a railing, I fall down.

But even with all that, I don’t see myself as a failure.  As long as I’m doing my best, that’s all that truly matters…even if I fail in the process.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said…”To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

I agree with him. We aren’t less of a person because we are weak in body. We aren’t failures because we can’t do what the world thinks is important. Our bodies may be failing us, we have to be willing to recognize that, but we are not a failure because of it.

If you woke up this morning, you have already achieved success. Be yourself. Love yourself. Be proud of yourself. You are amazing just as you are.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  


About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

30 replies
  1. Jo Potter says:

    One thing you will never be is a failure Penelope. Or anyone else with MS either. You are making the best of the hand you were dealt. Along the way you are helping others. When you talk of working, you are referring to “paid work”. I too had to stop paid work, but that doesn’t mean that you stop working. Working to get through the day; working to help others; working to stay positive – don’t undervalue these things, for they are what you are meant to do as you strive to live the life you have to live. Take care of yourself and continue to be kind to yourself.

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    We only have to o what we can ; that’s not failure. Our normality is not the same as a ‘fit’ person. We accomplish more than they could do in our place. They just can’t understand what we are going through in our daily lives and what we are having to put up with.
    In getting my memorie restored I now have a great respect for those who have a ‘fogged’ brain having lived for 13 years with one. I found that you don’t know you’ve got it until you can see differently.

  3. Sandy Jones says:

    Walking down the hall, a co-worker observed that I was limping – which I get a lot. I just don’t notice it any more, it’s just my new normal. I let her know I had MS and I was just trying out an alternative gait – I always get where I mean to go.

  4. Ron Wheeler says:

    You made a key observation “who defines failure”. I have MS, and I define lots of things differently than l used to, but I see my life as a success! You sound successful, too!

  5. Amy Sparks
    Amy Sparks says:

    Your words were just what I needed today. I’m having a down day and needed a reminder that a down day is not the same as failure. Thanks.

  6. Leslie Beaver says:

    Have never personally felt like a failure. Cocky sense of self I guess. Can I do all that I did before? Of course not. But I do all that I am able. And sometimes am rewarded in surprising and wonderful ways. To repeat a story that I have likely related before, I was finished a yoga class. And putting in shoes and grabbing my cane. As I got up to leave, a classmate came up and simply said “you inspire me”. She had seen me struggle with the balance postures. But never give up. The lovely compliment still brings a smile to my face.

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