It is not the failure itself that inhibits you from moving forward to achieve what you have aspired to achieve but rather the fear of failure itself.
In our life, we experience so many small setbacks – failing in a class, breaking up with a boyfriend, losing a friend, or even failing to meet the expectations of your loved ones. These moments feel so significant at the time and soon enough you begin to disappointment begins to fester within you.
You feel what is happening to you is merely a consequence of your carelessness, insensitivity or lack of competence. You begin to draw conclusions; you begin considering yourself ‘a failure.’ But let’s look at failure and success – what are both of these really? Is failure a bunch of preconceived notions that the society makes you believe as a right or wrong way to approach a certain situation? Is success the ability to achieve a result that is approved by other people?
Often times in our lives, we blame ourselves for these little setbacks. We consider these moments and situations to be massive failures, without reflecting on what shaped our ideas about failure or success in the first place.
The notion of success is simple – look a certain way, earn a significant income, have a certain sexual preference, have healthy relationships, conform to the rules of the society and do everything as it ‘should be done.’ But who defines the best version of how you look? Who puts a number on what a good income is? Who decides whether the right sexual preference is? Who dictates what ‘should be done?’
And what if you fail all the above-mentioned things? What if you are too pale or too dark? Or you are in too much debt, or you feel a certain way romantically? Is it then that your life is not good enough? Are you simply a failure?
The society has inflicted on us set notions that are based out of stuck-up perspectives and assumptions.
What if we choose to function out of these labels? What if we could create a healthy relationship with failure and thereafter create a relationship with ourselves? The first step to do this is to create an awareness of what makes you feel accomplished or disappointed in yourself. This is not a formal evaluation, rather introspection.
Have you ever been on stage in front of a big group of people? It was the moment you had been waiting for, and you felt this unexplained tightness in your chest, your feet did not wish to take another step. You felt like you could not stand in the spotlight. What is this feeling? The evaluation does not involve judging your feelings, but rather understanding them.
In a world where everyone’s pacing to reach their dreams, it gives us so little time to reflect on the feelings and emotions that play a part – and we hardly have time, if any, to understand what our relationship with success or failure really looks like.
Ask yourself if there are there any preconceived notions or beliefs underlying the sense of failure. Where and when did you create these ideas about success and failure? If you could, would you choose to destroy them?
With a renewed sense of what success and failure stand for, and with a new relationship with them, you can now take the risks that you have always wanted to take. Steal the spotlight, make the high jump, pursue the one you have felt was way out of your league. Because if you fail – it is just a notion.
Anne Sweeney said, “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”
If you do feel a sense of failure, ask yourself what you could create from it?
Start working on your relationship with failure, because that is what it is – it is a relationship. At times, you might not understand why you feel the way you feel. In some instances, you might believe that it is not working out, and feel that you are drifting towards your old ideas of success and failure. The key is to keep working on the relationship, so it is a positive one.
A healthy relationship with failure builds character. You have a harmonious existence with something that other people dread. You are present with the possibility of not doing something the way that the world believes it should be done. And that does not influence you. Your ideas about things in life are going to continue to evolve. The way you choose to respond to situations depends on you. The questions here is what you choose to do today that will enable you to be at ease with your present and create so much positivity in the future. Are you willing to create a relationship with it and what is it that you are doing, in order to create a healthy one and contribute so much to your life?
Aradhana Tewari is a life and communication coach, and facilitator for several Access Consciousness special programs including Being You and Right Voice for You. She has a background in international business marketing, and media and broadcasting. Since discovering Access Consciousness, Aradhana has experienced whole new way of living and now travels the world, sharing her sense of purpose and joy with others. Follow Aradhana.