I got to thinking this past week about how at times we run away from failure. We ignore, we distance and we go into denial that we are going to fail at some things at different stages in our life. We strive for perfection even though it’s an impossible goal, because in reality no one is perfect. There is no such thing as perfection.
We need to find ways to love ourselves, to honor our imperfections. We need to love ourselves through our failures. We need to accept ourselves — all of ourselves: the good, the bad and the ugly.
When we strive for perfection, and when we are afraid to fail, we usually end up compromising parts of ourselves — and not living up to our full potential.
A few years back, my children and I were watching Lego Ninjago. The show featured a line that I thought was so wonderful for life: “Even hard lessons learned are still lessons learned.” My boys didn’t really understand the line the way that I did, but I hope the line sticks with them. No matter what we go through in life there are lessons that we are meant to learn.
When we are afraid to learn or go through the hard lessons, we miss out. We keep running from failure and we don’t end up succeeding. When we approach failure as a part of life, as something we have to go through to get to where we want to go, we open ourselves up to growth. Think back to a time when you went through a failure or you experienced a “hard lesson.” What did you learn? How has your life changed since the failure? What lesson are you still learning?
Now think back to a time you ran from failure or tried to ignore it. What happened? And how has your life changed or stayed the same because you refuse to acknowledge the lesson or you are still running from it because you think you have to be perfect.
In my past, the times I strived for perfection I ended up crashing harder, and felt like I lost parts of myself. I was so worried about failing or making a mistake and needing people to think that I was perfect and everything was perfect that I stopped listening to myself and the things that were important to me. It was a dark time in my life and I know that we have all been there. Then one day we wake up and realize something has to change. I had to accept that there was no such thing as perfect, I had to accept that I had failed. I also had to accept that from that point forward my life would never be the same.
There is a lot that goes into healing and acceptance. Before we can heal, we have to acknowledge our imperfections, we have to admit that we aren’t perfect, that we make mistakes and that in fact we will fail. We have to love the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of ourselves, as I said before.
Accepting failure as an option involves facing our fears. In last week’s blog, I addressed ways to face your fears, and I talked about how when we run from failure, it is because we are afraid.
Think about this: if we never fail, if we never make a mistake, if perfection was possible, we would never learn anything and life wouldn’t be interesting. Life is a wonderful journey and all parts of the journey make our life story. The journey makes and creates who we are in this present moment. Without our failures, we wouldn’t learn, and we would just be doing the same thing over and over again.
So, accept and honor your failure. Remember from line from Lego Ninjago: “Even hard lessons learned are still lessons learned.” When we are going through a failure, it’s really hard to say, “Oh great..I’m failing!” And you don’t have to. What I am saying is this: stop trying to be perfect all the time. Honor yourself and all the parts of you. Accept that there will be times in your life where you hit roadblocks, speed bumps or you fail at something. That doesn’t mean you have to be on the lookout for failure. Just accept it as a part of life.
When you are going through dark times, love yourself and find healthy ways to take care of yourself. When you are able to look at your failure or roadblock, ask yourself: what did you learn, and what are you still learning as a result.
Lastly, find gratitude for those parts of your life journey because they brought you to the places you are truly meant to be.
Life is a gift and offers us an amazing journey through our failures and our successes.