Throughout our lives, we often set ourselves specific goals and when we are not able to achieve them within the expected time frame or if the outcome is not what we ‘expected,’ we have the tendency to then label ourselves a ‘failure.’ I have frequently questioned the significance behind such terminology. It is as though someone had just woken-up one day and decided that all things in life must be met in certain ways and ‘failing’ to meet such expectations means you are deemed a ‘failure!’ It does leave the mind wondering as to whether it stems from Darwin’s evolutionary theory relating to survival of the fittest – mankind’s persistent biological need to compete with one another in order to survive.
And how does society play a part in this? Does the education system reinforce the notion through rigid standardised testing and grading systems? Is it then reinforced even further in the world of corporate industries – whereby progress and performance appears to be measured by an employee’s ‘ability’ to meet ‘expected’ targets within pressurised and unrealistic timescales? Does all of this then create a sense of competition among us all and the need to expect more and more from ourselves?
What about in our personal relationships with others? For example, a partner who is quick to point out the failures or does so in subtle and manipulative ways while we keep ourselves trapped within a toxic relationship. Consequently, this can lead us to question our own self-worth to such an extent that we may become too powerless to release ourselves from it; for fear of being deemed a ‘failure.’
Another such scenario may involve parents who place pressure on their children to do ‘better next time’ because this is what their parents expected from them. However, their justification for doing so may imply that they push their children to grow-up very quickly and become ‘successful high-earners.’ Such social influences may indeed contribute a great deal to the emergence of a self-destructive belief system; the tendency to possess a certain negative outlook or perception about ourselves, others and even life itself.
So how can we change all of this? How can we change this pattern of thinking from repeating itself over and over again? The kind of thinking that can influence our belief system in such a negative way and potentially block us from achieving the many positive things we wish to achieve in our lives. The kind of thinking that has been built and programmed within us over the years; from certain situations we have faced, experiences we have endured and people we have interacted with.
Imagine if there was no such thing as ‘failure.’ Imagine that what we perceive as ‘failure’ is actually connected to self-growth. When certain situations do not go the way we ‘expect’ them to go then rather than being quick to judge ourselves or others, we could choose to change our way of thinking. We could instead be quick to acknowledge our tendency to judge in this way and then follow this with choosing not to make any further judgements. Upon recognising the thoughts and feelings that come through us whilst we are in this state, we can also choose to hold some compassion for whatever comes through. While also learning to let go of the ‘expectations’ we often set ourselves, and for others, in our everyday lives.
This is not to say we avoid the task of setting ourselves healthy goals in life but rather we become non-striving and simply allow ourselves the freedom to feel more relaxed about our journey. To begin to truly embrace the notion that when one door closes, there is always another one that eventually opens up for us elsewhere – at the right time. To learn the way of life that enables us to fully grasp and live in the present moment. To practice the magic of patience, trust and compassion. To become more self-aware of the situation we are facing and appreciate the fact that we can grow from our experiences rather than become entrapped by them.
More importantly, we can choose to no longer allow fear to get in the way; to get in the way of making that move. That courageous decision or change that we have been wanting to make for our own highest good for so long now but never seem to follow through with it. Whenever we set the intention to do something that is for our own highest good instead of doing what we are ‘expected’ to do by others, then in the long-run, it is also for the highest good of those closest to us – even though it may never seem that way to begin with. We can set ourselves free from it all with our powerful and unique minds. We each write our own story and it is now time to leave no room for fear nor ‘failure’ – only self-growth!
So what are you waiting for? What is blocking you from moving forward and taking that leap of faith? We have the tendency to avoid making that decision or change by not quite ever being ready. More so because we ‘fear’ that change – a change that could in our minds lead to the risk of ‘failure.’ I myself have been a culprit for this in the past. But really the only thing that is blocking you from taking that step is YOU!
If we just set ourselves the intention that is right for us first. An intention that is in alignment with our true self then we are able to leave plenty of room for the rest of the good to follow. Just by shifting our way of thinking; shifting the way we perceive ourselves and the way we perceive ‘failure,’ imagine all of the wondrous and amazing opportunities that could be waiting for each and every one of us.
I leave you with this thought and a powerfully heartfelt poem. A poem that the late Nelson Mandela himself was once deeply inspired by during a very challenging time in his life. It leaves a lasting impression every time and I hope it does for you.
Love & Blessings to you all,
Blogger: Amana Y.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
(Invictus by William Ernest Henley)