I wrote this in my journal a few weeks ago.
I’m prone to people-pleasing and perfectionism. I wanted to unpack the belief that I had to always get it right; (to appear) to always have it together; to not let people down.
I wanted to explore how a fear of failure was holding me back in some areas and arenas. And how I was compromising myself – and digging myself deeper – by repeating this bad habit.
I don’t know where this limiting belief originally came from. Perhaps for being praised for achievements. Perhaps it’s an archetype activated in me. Perhaps from not having enough failure moments as a kid. Perhaps from a failure moment that’s hiding in my subconscious. I don’t really want to dwell on that or assign blame (to self or other).
The added ‘failure’ incentive: I see this same theme being explored by my daughter. So I wanted to understand it better for her too. To help her navigate it.
So I started practising failing in small ways. It was so liberating! I decided to keep doing it.
Now, what constitutes a ‘failure’ will depend on many things including: your definition of it, how you view success and how much you have played and practised with little failures. The spectrum is as broad as the human condition.
What do I mean by failure?
I don’t mean not trying. I don’t mean intentionally tanking something important. I don’t mean disappointing (myself and others) on purpose or for kicks. I don’t mean low consciousness and harmful inaction.
I do mean not holding myself to impossibly high standards. I do mean not compromising my integrity to do something ‘I should’. I do mean allowing and accepting mistakes. I do mean finding and forging my own way even if it's against the expected and accepted.
I’ll insert here, that I’m a Projector in Human Design. And my signature (the sign I’m on the right path) is Success. So for me, exploring failure is helping me redefine and reshape what success means to me. I’ve also got an open root centre which makes me susceptible to outside pressure. Plus, one of my gifts is the ability to see all future outcomes. Boy, is this exhausting and mind/time consuming!
We are fed the adage that failures are growth moments. Sure, we can understand this intellectually, but how often do we embody and embrace it? That is what I’ve been ‘trying on’ for size.
I like to think that when you begin to journey in the right direction (some call it your soul’s path or towards your higher self), unseen benevolent forces come to support you and help illuminate the way. Below are two shining lights that have guided me these last couple weeks.
Assumption. One of the Four Agreements according to Don Miguel Ruiz. I haven’t read this book – it’s been on my list for years. It keeps popping up. A friend posted something about it recently and I realised:
I make so many assumptions! And these assumptions colour how I act and react. They feed my 'failures' ... my 'fault'. How I'm trying to get it 'right' (and perfect), based on a false assumption. Can we ever truly know what the other is thinking or feeling (perhaps they don’t even know!)?
As I’ve been working on not letting assumptions inform my actions, the universe has sent me so many ‘aha’ moments; examples of where my assumption wasn’t true. What a beautiful lesson. Allowing me to be less in my mind – and make decisions based on what feels true to me.
Asteya. The third Yama according to yogi, philosopher and mystic, Patanjali. We have been exploring one Yama each week in class. The Yamas – the first of the eight limbs of yoga – are all about self-restraint, abstinence and right action. They are the bridge between self and society. They invite us to bring consciousness to our behaviours – leading to more considered responses instead of careless reactions.
Asteya means non-stealing: from tangible things to liberties like exploitation and oppression. Energetically, it helps us move beyond lack to abundance: I have enough. I am enough. It really got me thinking about how I rob myself of joy, peace and love. How I rob myself of success because I fear failure. How I rob myself of time and ease because I ruminate over ‘mistakes’. How I steal from myself when I over-give to others (yes, people pleasing).
Let me tell you – as I’ve been telling myself – failure doesn't make you unworthy or undeserving. Failure doesn’t mean you aren’t, or can’t be, successful. Failure makes you real and relatable – richly layered. Modelling conscious ‘failure’ is noteworthy and necessary. Seeing someone being okay with failure, helps others diffuse their own perceived imperfections.
So, what if you thought of failure as a super-power? What if instead of knocking you down, it propelled you up – to a truer, freer, lighter version of yourself?
I invite you to get your journal out and begin to explore and answer the question: How can I fail today?
Share a 'failure' in the comments below. I’ll start …