It is something that plagues many of us.
The relationship that didn’t work out. The job we didn’t get. The choice that hurt someone’s feelings. The risk that didn’t work out.
But what if all that energy we have put into licking our wounds, feeling crushed, regrouping wasn’t really necessary. What if those things just weren’t failures at all?
What if there is no failure?
What? No failure? But if there is no failure, how can we beat ourselves up?
Let me put it to you this way.
Do you believe that there is a such thing as perfect?
My guess is probably not. Most of us have let our desire to chase perfection go. We realize that no one is without the need to grow, there’s no one whose figured out this journey so well that she is just parked in, all aglow in her awesome perfection. Perfect is an illusion, one that takes away our power and starves our desire to pursue our possibility. Perfect is a farce.
You don’t need me to tell you that.
But here is the thing. If perfect is an illusion, a false promise meant to get us to be restless, to consume more, to extinguish our desire and settle up short, then guess what else cannot exist?
It’s polar opposite- imperfection. Imperfection can only be measured against a standard, perfect, and without that standard, the whole theory behind it is blown away.
There is no imperfect. And it is the things that we judge as imperfect that we often label failures.
Failure isn’t real.
What if you changed your mind? Gave failure and imperfect up. Realized that things just are- some relationships last, others don’t; some jobs are offered, others aren’t; some words we use sail through without hitting a nerve; sometimes the words we choose do hit nerves- and that difficult situations aren’t a crucible for judgment. They are meant to give us information.
When we encounter something that goes differently than we might have imagined, it doesn’t mean we have failed. It simply means we have the opportunity to learn something.
I believe that learning is perhaps the most essential part of living, that what matters most is the heart and energy I put into things, that my being gentle and kind towards myself is the best foundation for giving kindness and grace to others.
What if we allowed our first thought when something doesn’t go the way that I hoped is, “What can I learn from this?”
When was the last time judgment served you? Judgment just isn’t helpful energy, and we’ve only got so much time and so much energy. When we spend our time labeling our experiences as failure, we’re descending into the type of unproductive space from which nothing good can ascend.
What if we shifted it? What if you didn’t spend any time in judging or shaming yourself? And instead went to the more gentle but helpful place of discerning what it is you can learn from the situation and embracing all of the possibility that is before you, not all the history that is behind you?