Reentering the Arena

colliseumHave you ever been really stung by someone’s criticism, felt the stab of harsh opinion? Have you ever failed at something important to you and lost a little confidence in yourself?

Unless you’re not human your answer almost certainly must be yes! We’ve all felt these hurts, usually many, many times! And each time we do we have a decision to make. Are we going to slink away and hide, lie down and give up? Or, are we going to reenter the arena?

One of my favorite quotes is Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

We all face many arenas – stepping into a new job, dealing with a difficult boss in an old job, starting a business. The terrifying arena of putting it out there for public office or trying to share our talents with the world and hoping they like us. The different but equally terrifying arena of opening our hearts to love.

Doing any of these things takes courage but it pales in comparison to the courage it takes to have your ass kicked in the arena, to have your heart broken, your pride hammered and then to choose to pick up, dust off and go back in. Hard stuff, not the easy way. But that’s how we grow and it’s how we make a life that makes a difference.

So to all of you who are bruised, wounded, standing before the arena gates with hands or hearts trembling afraid of what the lions and mob will tear into next, know that there are lots of us who feel you, who get it. Your fear is real.   So is your strength to push through and dare greatly to love, to strive, to put yourself fully out there once again.

Take a step — the world needs you and your incomparable uniqueness.

If old demons of self-doubt pounce like starving lions remember the past doesn’t dictate your future.

If anyone spits or throws rocks or tears into you they’re only doing it because they’re in terror themselves in their own arenas.

Move you brave soul! The critics, those cold and timid souls who knew neither great victory nor great defeat, are irrelevant in the face of your courage.

Cylvia Hayes   #cylviahayes

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4 thoughts on “Reentering the Arena

  • This is the best of your writings, dear…..I would love to hear you speak these words out loud with all the passion of your soul……

  • Stop it, NOW. You’re still wallowing in your guilt trying to make us think you are a victim when you are clearly NOT.

    And don’t contact me with your stupid New Age garbage. You’re guilty and you have not right to act like you’ve redeemed yourself. You’re a fraud and a fake.

    • Greetings Theresa, Minnie, whoever you really are.

      I find it funny that you are so interested in and intimidated by me that you continue to read my writings and send nasty comments. You clearly have some issues that are chewing at you. I don’t know about you but I have had the courage to enter some very challenging and perilous arenas and I have the courage and toughness to reenter after I’ve been pummeled. I genuinely hope you find some healing, peace and self-love so that you can evolve beyond attacking others in an effort to feel better about yourself.

      All the best to you,

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