Next Time


  • Author Eric Forth
  • Published June 18, 2022
  • Word count 607

Life is different now for most of us as we navigate the online world full of news, opinions, and the trends we feel pressured to adopt. There are normally at least a few different news stories regarding a particular event, or series of events, from certain ideological viewpoints. Social media appears riddled with assigning blame for whatever ill that falls upon individuals or groups. There is this sense of outrage focused outward with fault-finding as its only objective. With the stage being set through the news and social media how can we avoid a similar fate in our personal lives? Is there a way out of all the arguing and strife we currently find ourselves in? I hope so. I believe that our focus may, at least to a larger degree, need to be directed more inward than outward.

I feel that a task awaits us and it isn’t one that can be taken lightly: self-reflection which is often painful; but I believe it is a necessary step towards experiencing any kind of relief. I’ve had quite a bit of help along the way that I want to acknowledge, and relatively speaking I haven’t been on this journey that long. A willingness to look at myself in a more honest fashion has done more for me than anything anyone could tell me. This isn’t to say that I haven’t found inspiration in books or that my direction hasn’t been pointed to by others; it definitely has. At the risk of sounding trite, nothing can replace looking within, and blame only leaves us feeling powerless. If the problems in our lives are solely the fault of other people or circumstances, then we are saying that we ultimately have no power to change it. Of course, it can be quite uncomfortable to look within: a fact that I’m definitely not going to deny. Although being unwilling to look inward may alleviate initial discomfort; it does so at the peril of continuing the misery.

It’s frightening to look in the proverbial mirror and to take stock of what you see. Very often, the fault that I find with others and the world as a whole is looking back at me. Most of the problems in my own life have come from my own doing, or lack thereof. What I mean is, it doesn’t come necessarily from explicitly doing something that causes a particular problem, but more from failing to take action when I should have acted. Remaining idle due to fear inevitably results in more fear. It makes it much more likely to remain idle next time and even more likely to remain idle the time after that. Each cycle strengthens this outcome. This evokes a sense of victimhood throughout life. I tell myself that I’ve dodged a bullet by remaining idle and maybe even convince myself that I had made a wise decision. This “wisdom” would often disguise itself as an extremely critical persona which had very deep worldly insight and who couldn’t be bothered by such trivial pursuits. I didn’t fail; I quit. Honestly, I quit before I even started. Maybe a fear of failure caused me to quit. I’ll never know if I would have, or not. If I would have failed, maybe the failure would have taught me a lesson that I needed to learn to bring me to success the next time. I never would know. Maybe next time I need to look at my fear uncompromisingly and directly in the eye. Maybe there doesn’t need to be a next time.

I enjoy writing about the things I learn in life. I'm curious and I'm normally taking a program, or immersed in some obscure subject. I live in South Carolina and have spent the majority of my life in the southeastern United States. My short essays help me to navigate my life and hopefully it will help you do the same.

Eric Forth

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Article comments

Julie · 2 years ago
Very good explanation about the need for self-reflection. Very insightful article!