Having a spiritual nature myself, it comes as quite a shock when occasionally everything in my life appears to fall apart! This shouldn’t be the case of course (the shock, that is – not the falling apart) as I know that as part of my learning and growth, trials as well as triumphs will no doubt come my way. In my head I know that I can survive all the things that go wrong, which of course is easy enough to say when I’m feeling logical and in control but not so easy to remember when I’m spinning around in a vortex of fear, anxiety and depression. Why, when I’m trying so hard to do what the Universe has put me here for, is it a constant battle? Why does it seem, that for every tiny step forward towards my lifelong goals and dreams, I get a great big slap in the face that pushes me back to almost where I started? What am I doing wrong?
Ha! I do make life difficult for myself don’t I?! I examine and cross-examine the endless possibilities for my failures. It doesn’t matter whether those failures are real or perceived; every one of them appears at the time to be a disaster. Of course, once the swelling goes down and my ears stop ringing, I start to question what the hell is going on! I’ve been given a special gift. I know the Universe wants me to use it. I try every way to get ‘there’. I struggle. I let go. I try patience. I try force. I meditate, castigate, ruminate, retaliate. I set forth with determination and come back with my tail between my legs. Perhaps I was an axe murderer in a past life and the karma is catching up with me. Could I be trying too hard, or not trying hard enough? Is it possible that the gift is after all, not a gift? Is it possible that I’m just not good enough? Is the dream, after all, just a dream?
Aaahh!! (Stress is obviously a fairly significant factor here – straight jacket definitely required!) So, how in the face of imminent insanity, do I keep going? How do I recover from seemingly unrecoverable disasters, regardless of how big they seem or where the fault lies?
I have my own foolproof (obviously), step-by-step survival plan.
The first thing I must do is acknowledge that I am responsible for myself, my actions and my reactions.
It sounds easy but it’s not, when I’m feeling let down. No one helped me into the hole. I slid down all by myself. No one else can get me out but me, because for the most part, the hole is in my head (yeah, yeah, I hear you…)
It’s not physical; it’s psychological. The point I’m trying to make is that the event (the apparent failure or cause of failure) may be out of my control, but the way I handle it isn’t. I may not be able to control outside influences; I can however control my impulsive reactions or at the very least acknowledge responsibility for them and try to learn something from the ‘event’. I’m an emotional person, so I go right over the top when I react. I am, however, learning to overcome this and I recover much more quickly with every test. I am discovering that the more quickly I recover from a failure, the less stress I feel. It doesn’t change the feeling of disappointment but it does shorten the duration, which leads me to the next step.
It’s important for me to feel okay about the failure.
The thing with failure is that it attacks self-esteem, confidence and creative flow to the point where logic and spirit become prisoners to an overwhelming feeling of worthlessness, guilt and empty wishes. To overcome this awful emotional paralysis, I remind myself that failure is just an unrealised expectation. Think about it. That’s really all it is. The world is not going to end; I still have a roof over my head and food on the table (hey, its simple but edible – most of the time!), I still have my family and friends and no matter what, I can still write well, whether anyone cares to agree with me or not. I still have me. A failure does not have control over my life! I am a worthwhile person with big dreams and a big heart and a will to succeed regardless of the challenges placed before me. I will not feel guilty for my perceived failures but rather, pride for surviving them!
3. Next comes the ‘pick-yourself-up-and-dust-yourself-down’ bit. I write down all my successes, no matter how small or insignificant they may appear.
This is really hard when I don’t feel good about myself. I have been keeping a journal for several years and I start reading from beginning to end, remembering. I go through photo albums to help me remember people and events and achievements. I read books that remind me of my strength, resilience and love. I read the poetry and songs I have written over the years. These are my creations courtesy of the Universe, my children if you like, and I remind myself that they are good. Someday the whole world will hear them. I write down every win, every point scored. For every seemingly Elephantine failure there is a definite Ant(ine?) success!
So, let’s take the elephant and the ant out of it. I’m simply left with failure and success. Equality – I love it!! When I take away the perceived enormity of the unrealised expectation it stops being a huge, impenetrable wall with which to bang my already somewhat damaged cranium. It becomes simply a stone on the path that causes me to stub my toe a little on the way to making my dreams a reality.
I understand that the Universe is constantly challenging and teaching me on my path to perfection and that using my gifts are a part of that learning, and in turn teaching, process. Things won’t always go the way I plan them and I won’t always get what I want. Failure will always be a greater teacher for me than success because through failure I strive to improve myself emotionally, physically and spiritually, which leads me to the ultimate success anyway.
Perhaps my most powerful weapon against failure is that I absolutely refuse to give up on my dreams. They are given to me through a Higher Power just as my gifts are, and I am learning not to squander my learning time by wallowing in self-pity and defeat. I refuse to be anything less than the best I can be. I have an affirmation that I say to myself:
I am a powerful being,
filled with the energy of the Universe.
Everything I think, feel, say and do
is done with grace dignity, love and acceptance.
I understand that failures are like stepping-stones. Each one is a challenge placed down in front of me to help me towards my goals, not away from them. Each makes me stronger and more determined but also wiser and therefore, more loving and caring. Some people have actually learned to embrace their challenges and failures because they learn so much from each of them. I haven’t sat in on that class yet! I think it’s called Advanced Humility Training. No doubt I’ll learn that one soon enough!