Okay, for those not up on the latest slang, that the kids are saying these days (yeah I’m still a kid… at heart at least) an ‘L’ is a loss. To take an L means you’ve taken a loss. (side note* this L is different from the L symbol used when labeling someone a Loser… which is just mean of course)
The thing about kids though is that they don’t always see the bigger picture. They don’t always understand how taking an L can actually be of benefit. That everyone takes L’s sometimes… but that L can be so much more than Loss, as long as you’re able to take away the Lessons behind it.
I’ve myself have taken my fair share of L’s… and as most will tell you, it’s a tough pill to swallow. So you can imagine how I felt taking my most recent L when I was scammed out of some money.
Being scammed out of money is not a joke, hard for anyone to take in stride. Let alone any man… especially where I am from, where the rules of masculinity (toxic?) almost demand payback and retribution. Couple that with being a Dad… a parent… with kids and mouths to feed… it’s enough to make one go irate!
So yeah, I was irate for a while. Feeling bitter, anger, resentment… infuriated at taking this loss.
I felt like a sucker for having been scammed… pressured to somehow to get it back and make them somehow pay for it. To not lose my respect and manhood in the eyes of society.
Well, in all honesty, to not lose my respect and manhood in my own eyes… because I see now how some part of me still holds true some of those toxic ideas, of what its like to be a man.
An eye for an eye and all that. Or rather two eyes for an eye, where I’m from because getting even is never enough… someone’s got to learn a lesson.
So I found myself fantasizing (maybe a little more than just fantasizing) about tracking down and hurting those who wronged me, and all the ways I could punish them… from physical violence to possible jail time and an all the possibilities in between.
Then, something happened in my digging for options and fantasizing about payback. I got time. I got the time and space I needed to step back and get my head on straight.
I got to really think about what had happened. My own responsibility for the whole situation. Choosing to trust someone I didn’t know, making a dumb investment in hindsight, because I was being a little greedy and trying to find shortcuts. Not listening to my own gut instincts and intuition. Recognizing something as too good to be true and trying to bank on it anyway because the potential ROI was so appealing. None of that was anyone else’s fault… that was on me. and I had to own that. yes someone took advantage… saw a mark/sucker… things went sideways and I got screwed… but I put myself there in the 1st place. That’s not to excuse anyone else of what they did, it just to own what I did as well.
Then I started to think about what I’d really suffered. Yeah, I lost some money, but I was smart enough not to put too much into it. The amount I lost, (something my pocket will feel for a bit) was relatively small, and not like my life savings or my son’s college tuition or something. I had the presence of mind not to jump off the deep end, and in the long run, the amount I lost was equivalent to what I’d spend on a few good lunches here in NYC or nice date night with my lady (sorry baby 1 less date night this month).
I realized how much time, energy and effort I would be losing and the further damage it would cause if things escalated (I’m sure they would’ve). I saw how not worth it, it’d be… because the truth of the matter is, that the biggest ‘L’ I took was the blow to my ego. As it was my own ‘fragile male ego’ that was pressuring me to get redemption.
So instead I’ve decided to step back and choose to learn from my experience. This is definitely an ‘L’ … but I’m flipping it from just taking a loss, to learning some valuable lessons. Lessons about recognizing when things are really ‘too good to be true’. Trusting my gut (instincts). Listening to self over the words of seemingly trustworthy people. Making more empowered choices instead of being pressured into hasty and rash decisions, which usually lead to dumb uninformed decisions.
See, there is great value of the lesson learned when taking an ‘L” … as long as being willing to step back, owning my shit and looking at how I was at fault and how I could be better in the future to not have it happen again, has given me more tools insight and wisdom. its a painful and costly way to learn a lesson sometimes…. but the pain and cost will assure they are lessons I never forget.
So there can be great value in taking L’s, when the L’s are seen as lessons learned, instead of just being losses taken.
Just like failure, taking L’s are steps on the path the push us further… make us grow and teach us the things we need to know.
So I invite you all to take any L’s life has handed you… and flip them into the lessons you need to keep going.
Much luv yahll
Peace and blessings