Fernando: Moving up or moving on


THE first week of April must be declared the “congratulation week.” The week celebrates graduation, recognition, completion, promotion, and other kinds of ceremonies. Looking at the posts on Facebook and other social media accounts, one may think everybody is moving up. Yet flipping the other side of the coin, we know there were others who did not join the graduation, completion or promotion. The reality in life is, everybody does not go up at the same time, some are left behind either by choice or by chance, and those who remain must learn how to move on.

Life has measurement for everything and so we have the words promoted and retained, passed and failed, qualified and disqualified and it’s difficult to swallow that we or our sons and daughters belong to those who were retained, failed, and disqualified. It is hard to understand the concept of moving on when the internet fills us with photos of friends and relatives celebrating their achievements. I was surprised to know that many of the children I used to know as little kids were now wearing their graduation togas. I had a younger schoolmate in high school who was forced to be a helper after the death of his parents. He and his siblings had gone their separate ways. The other week the Philippine National Police (PNP) has promoted him to the rank of a lieutenant. One can’t help but admire the achievement. It is a very proud moment, a definition of a moving up event. With this picture in mind, I can also imagine the frustration and feeling of failure and defeat of those who did not move up. Sometimes parents avoid conversing with others because they do want others to know that their sons did not graduate or did not pass the board exam. I think when we are one of the many people who would like to move on, it is good to limit our access to social media to avoid comparing ourselves to others.

It’s not easy to move on after a failure. It makes us question our capabilities and doubt our strengths. Sometimes we do not even want to wake up afraid of feeling the sting of the failure. Others vent their frustration to drinking alcohol or to other unhealthy ways. That’s why moving on requires an inner strength. The inner strength that is oftentimes motivated by faith makes people suffering from frustrations and failures see the chance of getting up again. But before we realize that we do not run out of second chance, we must understand that moving on starts from acceptance. First, acceptance that we do not always get what we want. Second, acceptance that things do not always happen as we planned. The acceptance that we have weaknesses as humans that hinder or delay us from achieving our goals. Then the acceptance that life is really challenging and so is success. Finally, the acceptance that we are in a difficult situation and it requires determination to pull ourselves together to move on. It is the acceptance that we have to do it some other time. The graduation or passing does not happen today and we have to understand that. If it is painful let it be.

Not all people choose to move on while others does not know how after suffering failures in life. Many students after failing a grade level choose not to continue their studies anymore. They reason out that people can succeed without a degree though it is just their way of ignoring the missed opportunity. Some board examinees who failed their first take do not bother to take the second one. It is because they cannot move on from the pain or embarrassment perhaps. Some people with failed marriages decide to just waste their lives instead of deciding to move on. Moving on is difficult because the person involved cannot stop asking what went wrong? He/She finds it difficult to forgive himself/herself for his/her shortcomings. What happens is he/she punishes himself/herself for the failure instead of looking forward. The memory of the failure overwhelms the person and so he/she cannot think of a way to move on from it.

Moving on, in a sense, is also moving up because it proves that a person gives himself/herself a chance to move up again. People suffering from failures need help to make them realize that it is not the end of everything. Moving on is living in the presence and not dwelling so much in the past. Moving on is looking at next year or next time as a chance to do it again. There is always a chance to move up and we must not deny ourselves of these chances.


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