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Showing The White Feather


“Showing the white feather” means whining or behaving in a cowardly manner. In relation to this saying, in Japanese, there is another proverb somehow related to this one which says, “to show the white flag” or “to raise the white flag”, which means, to give up something or to surrender.


“Strike back with regaining lost grounds” is another proverb I like, which means that after being defeated in a battle, one should regain his strength and fight back.


This is quite similar to the proverb, “recover lost ground,” which means to continue to strive for success after delays or problems. This very much applies to our lives.


We sometimes experience drawbacks like failed exams, lost customers or business, etc. In such cases, we sometimes tend to feel regretful and speak negatively, but we still have another chance.


So as long as we remain on our track and continue to move forward, we will eventually regain the things we’ve lost. And I will continue to do this.


Many people associate “showing the white feather” with losing. Well, it may be true sometimes, but we tend to make feeble complaints.


The more difficulties we experience, the easier it is for our will and desires to become broken. But, as long as we stand our grounds, keep trying and pushing forward, we will eventually accomplish our goals, despite the countless failures. Whining will just be whining during our journey because one day we will reach our accomplishments.


These negative emotions that arise, no matter how strong and frequent they are, do not mean that you’ve lost the battle.


These negative emotions can be translated into, “I’m facing a dreadful reality, but I don’t want to give up. I just don’t know what to do now.”


Those who whine might just desperately want to turn things around for themselves. They’re trying and wanting to change the negative situation into a positive one.


I believe whining for a while is better than doing nothing or plainly giving up.


The bottom line is this – regardless of how you react to a difficult situation, whether it is showing the white feather or temporarily raising the white flag, you must keep moving forward. But, just remember, showing a white feather for a long long time is just wasting our precious time and mental energy.