Failing – finding the path of acceptance

 

The path to acceptance

It’s OK to fail.

Really.

The modern edict of the relentless pursuit of excellence provides no relief, no possibility for dealing with the down side. And the down side come to us all; it arrives unannounced in varying levels of ferocity, attacking the very substance of our being.

When life doesn’t work out how we had hoped we can be scathing in our self criticism and engulfed with an often overwhelming feeling of failure. If this failure occurs in our personal lives we can usually add a debilitating dose of guilt to the equation. Everything looks black, especially the future. The more emotional capital we had invested the harder the failure hits us.

Traditional ‘self help and success’ teachings remind us that failure is only a learning curve; we only truly fail if we give up. Success is reassessing and trying again.

However, this approach ignores the emotional impact of missing the mark and provides no advice on dealing with failure, stress and the disappointment of not succeeding on something of intense personal importance. Whether a failed business, lost investment, or soured relationship; life dishes up many reasons to feel like a failure.

Bouncing back can be difficult when the glittering chandelier of your life lies at your feet in shattered shards of glass just waiting to slice you to the bone.  The inevitable post mortem involves a lot of ‘should haves, could haves, and why didn’t I’ moments.

We look back and see all the things we should have done. We look forward to all the things we need to do. And then we look at where we are.

Looking at where we are often involves a withering comparison and evaluation. How am I doing compared to others? How am I doing compared to where I should be right now? Is meaningful progress even possible? Will I ever be like the others who have achieved their goals? What’s wrong with me?

Flexibility and the ability to view life events from multiple perspectives is just not part of the equation at this point. Don’t think for a moment that you’re alone with feelings of disappointment, self doubt and a reluctance to open yourself again to facing your hopes, dreams and failures. The self-help gurus don’t cover that part in the success literature.

The success stories and biographies out there in the market speak of overcoming adversary, a steely determination to succeed and accept the challenge. They tell us that we can be absolutely, positively anything we want to be. We must operate in a peak state, taking massive action regardless of the outcome.

Funny, but when I read that, I feel like hiding under a blanket and sleeping for a week. My peak state gets replaced by a weak state. Life feels like a high impact sport. And, like all impact activities, we get tired and collapse. Our accomplishments are never quite enough. Previous successes lie completely obscured.  

Can I make it back?

The starting point is acceptance. So things haven’t worked out. OK, you can’t change that, but what can you change? Can you recalibrate your mind and apply your efforts in a different direction so you can get new results? Different results? Better results? Equally, is it better to park it for a while until you have rebuilt your emotional stockpile?

Getting straight back on the horse is not always useful at first. Feeling the pressure to do so even less so.  Sometimes that horse has already bolted. Comparisons to others aren’t helpful. Speak to people who see the possibilities in you that you can’t presently see in yourself.

Acceptance is the birthplace of possibility. A place where the fog of disappointment can clear enough for you to see a way forward.

There is as much gained living in a moment of defeat as in a moment of success. So rest a while. Take the time today, and tomorrow, there won’t be as much baggage to unpack. You can then continue confident that you have the ability to see both opportunity and possibility together.

Perhaps you can appreciate the smallest steps of achievement? And when moment seems right you’ll continue your journey with a light heart and excited optimism for the future.

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One Response to “Failing – finding the path of acceptance”

  1. paulhassing Says:

    Hiya, WLB2. Damn fine piccie. And very clever ‘weak state vs peak state’ line. Keep ’em coming! Best regards, P. 🙂

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