To believe in ‘failure’ you need to believe that you can be made smaller than you are. You need to believe that something outside of you can actually decide your worth, that something can take away your power.
(Power in this context means: the right and ability to decide for yourself; who you are, how you behave and what your worth is.)
‘Failure’ is merely bumping face first into the wall of beliefs that you are not the owner of yourself. It is a moment when you let go of your ownership of yourself and put yourself on the free market to be owned and consumed by others.
Oh, yes – and all costs incurred are charged to your account.
Does that sound right to you?
Sounds a little fishy to me.
I hope this is stirring you up. It’s high time we dumped this ‘failure’ thing.
Think about a moment in your life where you feel like you failed. Now ask yourself, “Did I keep my power in that moment or does it feel like I lost it in some way?” (Re-read the definition of power again if you need)
Now think about what happened to your trust in yourself and in your ability to hold your own power in your life after that incident?
I’m betting it was affected negatively.
If you choose to believe there is such a thing as failure you are perpetuating the illusion that you can lose your power. You can’t. And this is exactly what ‘failure’ is trying to teach us.
‘Failure’ is not a powerless moment of shame and worthlessness, it is a healing messenger – or a cheerleader, if you will.
For example, my book hasn’t been published yet. That could be seen as a failure. It feels that way sometimes. But that’s only because trying and failing is showing me the many ways I delude myself into thinking I have no power. It’s revealing to me all the clever tricks I use to keep myself small. As I see each one I heal it as best I can. I wouldn’t exchange this journey for a published book. ‘Failure’ doesn’t even come into it. (Besides, as I grow I watch the ideas mature and I thought it was time but I see now it’s not.)
If I look at it this way, then I’m happy to ‘fail’ as much as I need to because I want to clear out all the silly fears, frozen experiences, judgements and beliefs that hold me back from living unafraid and unashamed. I want to liberate myself from the labyrinth of beliefs that block me from shining and living fully in my authentic self.
I intend to dismantle the labyrinth belief by belief. Anything that stops me from the freedom to be me and to be seen in all my realness and silliness and glory has to go! Including how I flinch when thinking about my previous belly-flops. (See part 1)
I said I’d get practical this week. So here are some ‘failures’ I’ve explored with people:
“I should have been better at saving money when I was earning more.” ‘Failure’ to save is showing him his belief that wealth is temporary and that he has no power in the matter of how he earns and saves.
“I should not be getting anxious about this stuff anymore. I get so irritated with myself for failing at being calm when I know better!” ‘Failure’ to put her skills into practice is showing her how her constant self-criticism helps her stay small and not attain her goals.
“I should be able to make peace with my body, not have to go for surgery to feel better about myself. I’m doing it to make myself feel better about myself but I feel like a failure for having to have it in the first place.” A chance to clearly see how self-judgement is blocking him from living his truth. The surgery is an opportunity to intensively practice treating himself with more trust, gentleness and respect. He wouldn’t have had this opportunity if he had carried on plugging along to try to feel better about himself without the operation. No failure here.
“I shouted at my kids again. They just weren’t listening and I went pop! I’m failing them.” Each time this happens she’s being shown how feeling powerless and unheard triggers her intense old pain. Shouting and then berating herself for it stops her from seeing her true importance. This plays out in many areas of her life, not just parenting.
“I should have studied what I wanted to study, not what my parents pushed me into doing. Now I’m just a failure at my job and failure at standing up for myself.” A powerful example of the miserable outcomes of making her life choices to please others. She has to learn this because she has something important but controversial to contribute to the world. She has to ‘fail’ doing it this way to be all she can be.
“I failed at acting and singing even though it’s what I loved doing. I just didn’t get the main roles. It left me feeling like a failure.” She is doing powerful healing work now and would probably have been distracted from it if she had ‘succeeded’ at acting. Focusing on her old ‘failure’ now is giving her an excuse not to take her healing work to the next level.
“I never should have married her. A part of me knew it back then. I couldn’t have guessed how badly it would turn out though. I’ve failed at being married.” Ah yes, also about listening to himself and honouring his boundaries. He couldn’t bring himself to do it with his family of origin where he needed to so his ‘failed’ marriage now shows him those patterns and pushes him to decide who he is and what he wants.
See? No such thing as failure. Only loving messages that we are buying into the illusion that we can be small and powerless.
(Originally posted Mar 2, 2015)