Saturday, July 10, 2010
Failure - Fire the Judge!
What a fun topic huh? Who wants to think about failure? Nothing creates more anxiety and even fear than when we are facing our own failure in something. It’s hard to deal with the fact that no matter how hard we attempt to be perfect, those thoughts pushing the attempt have already set us up to fail. See, we are not perfect and were never meant to be. Perfection isn’t even something we should ever strive for in this frame of existence. Making progress in our lives is the best you can hope for …and the one thing you should find a way to become satisfied with. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t attempt to better yourself or your situation when you feel the need arises. It’s just that you need to understand what you can and cannot do or be and perfect is something that should just not be in your list.
So, failure…hmmm, having dealt with this topic this week a lot, I really need to write about it. Somewhere in my head a long time ago this judge was born. This judge inside of my head prods me on in good ways but sometimes it screams at me in unhealthy ways for making mistakes. No parental figures in my life have ever belittled me for making mistakes. Oh, I’ve gotten into plenty of parental trouble for certain mistakes as we all have but I was never belittled. Unfortunately, that judge was born and lives and breathes inside of my head waiting for me to make a mistake…that judge inside my head generates more anxiety and disappointment and even anger sometimes than anything else in my life. The funny part is that its so silly. It’s a very lame tape that plays and sometimes, when I’m aware and pulling out of that insane state, I laugh hard and gently tell the judge to shut the heck up! LOL
That judge can drive you mad. If you wonder whether or not you have a judge inside of you wreaking havoc with your self-esteem, consider this…do you walk down the street and hear that voice that wonders what THAT guy was thinking when he put on plaid Bermudas with black soxka and oxfords? Do you see the very heavy woman with a big gulp and wonder if it’s a diet soda? Do you notice the person who is obviously having a bad hair day and silently think they should have spent more time in front of the mirror? If not, you’re either in really healthy shape mentally or you are in complete denial. Here’s the thing…when we judge others so harshly, we are judging ourselves harshly. It’s not our job to judge other people…it’s our job to judge ourselves and to do so in a healthy way. So, when it comes to other people making mistakes, do you attack or do you cut them some slack? When you make mistakes, do you beat yourself up over the idiotic failure or do you cut yourself some slack?
The beautiful thing about failure is that you have a unique opportunity to learn something about you. Something as simple as “How did this happen?” is a good question to ask yourself. If you’re dealing with addictions or twelve-step programs, you learn to look at this a little more deeply…not so you can beat yourself up some more and give yourself another reason or excuse to dive back into whatever your addiction might be. Instead, you look back to understand where you might have gone wrong…you learn to forgive yourself and love yourself any way and then try with all of your might to learn from the experience so that next time you can do better and be happy about your progress.
This week I’ve dealt with many failures that hit me all at once due to some work I am doing. They all have a similar source and now that I’ve gone back to look at the source, I now understand my failures as something I need to learn from…work to remedy to my own satisfaction (which does not include any form of perfection) and then go on…striving ever to do better the next time. During the process of examining my failures, I had to understand what was within my power to control so that the next time something comes up, I can exert better control. I also have to learn what was not in my control, why it wasn’t in my control so that next time something comes up, I can exert better acceptance of the circumstances so that I’m not spinning my wheels attempting to control people or situations that are just not within my realm of control. Sounds simple enough right? Not really. It takes time and patience to work the emotion through but the thoughts bring on the emotions and we can always control our thoughts. The judge will throw craziness at us some times but each time that happens, we can shut the judge down. We can re-message the words we hear inside of our heads so that they are more healthy and deliberately positive and gentle. You’ll gain so much more success if you can fire the judge in your head berating you for failure and instead instilling the voice in your soul with the power to speak encouraging words like a loving and compassionate parent.
Instead of feeling mortified for having made a mistake, step up and own anything you did wrong in terms of dealing with other people…apologize if that is called for, remedy the mistake if possible or decide whatever it is just cannot be fixed. You have to apply the logic to your own situations gently. So, for me, I now see a certain string of failures I have to deal with. Some I can remedy, some I can’t. Where some people are involved, I will have to find a way to make amends and do my best to do better the next time. Where situations are just out of my control…all I can do is all I can do and I have to be satisfied with that. The reason being is that negative thoughts, berating and belittling thoughts do not a perfect person make! Positive thoughts, positive self-talk and being loving with yourself are the only things that can help you get back on a good track of progress in your life.
So, embrace failure in a healthy way and instead of considering it the end of the world, try to see it as an opportunity to choose more wisely the next time…settle up any consequences that may result from failures or mistakes (don’t hide them or lie about them) and just strive to do better. Some people like it when we fail because they feel like it gives them power over you. Well, it doesn’t really…not if you don’t give your power away by allowing yourself to become mired in negative thoughts about your failures. Do what you can do. Admit what you can’t do. Get help if you have to. Try again if that makes sense and doesn’t fall into the insanity definition (doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results).
I tend to be a little overly perfectionist with myself. That in itself is a mistake I’ve decided to work very hard on correcting. I can only correct THAT failure if I allow myself to see it for the opportunity that it is. I can only do better the next time if I strive for progress and not waste my energy or attempting to be perfect. I can only do better the next time if I am honest about my failures and get help where necessary. So, I’m doing all of these things and it isn’t easy but I’ll tell you what, it sure beats beating myself up for failing. I won’t do that anymore. It doesn’t help and it doesn’t change what happens. I choose to focus on the positive and not become mired in the judge’s toxic thoughts. My judge is being fired from this set of perceived failures. I did the only things I knew how to do at the time. Now I know better. Next time, I’ll do better. That’s all I need to know.
Many blessings to you~