Failure is scary, friend, but it doesn’t have to be. For through failure and pain, there is always a lesson.
Worry, anxiety, and fear are emotions caused by either a real or a perceived threat to our well-being — often something outside of our control.
Being out of control, I think, is the at the root of many of our hang-ups and contributes greatly to our overall sense of failure.
We create these well thought out plans for ourselves, often determined by what we perceive we are supposed to do, and when things do not go as we’ve predetermined we can often feel that there is something wrong with us, that we’ve failed by some degree, or that we are a failure.
At the age of 25 I felt old to be unwed and with no prospects on the horizon. I had measured myself against the people around me. I had watched as, one by one, my peers got married. I was the last one standing. Alone.
Which was very reminiscent of waiting after school for my mom to pick me up. I’d, inevitably, be outside in the rain (it is Washington) — at first the wait would be pleasant, as I’d be playing with other friends who were also waiting on rides — however, real fear would set in as the friend group gradually diminished to just me. Waiting for my ride. Alone.
There I was, 25 waiting for my man. All alone. To remember this now seems like such a ridiculous notion. I was raised to be strong, independent, and not need anyone to make me happy. It baffles me to think that I got caught up in this desire to be wed and felt any less about myself because I wasn’t.
I did eventually meet someone that I married. I thought I’d done everything perfectly. It was a shock when, after being married for two years, I arrived home from a business trip to find that he had packed his things and left. He wanted a divorce. He’d fallen in love with with my best friend. My carefully laid plans were in tatters, and I was completely out of control of the proceedings in my own life.
My initial feeling was a sense of utter failure, and I wondered how I was going to tell the people that mattered to me. How was I going to tell my friends and my family what a failure I was a marriage? How was I going to go to work and pretend that everything was normal? I couldn’t help but feel that there must be something inexplicably wrong with me for me to be left in the way that I was.
This was one of my first adult lessons in pain and failure.
There have been many others from that point to now, but this was the first time I felt my soul ripped to shreds. Where I doubted myself and my self worth, and I seriously questioned my desire to go on and my ability to get through the intense rejection and disillusionment that I’d suffered.
With the pain, I was advised to slow down and feel it. Let myself experience it in order to be able to let it go. What I learned from pain is that for it to be worthwhile, it has to serve a purpose. Pain can force us to reevaluate our values and priorities, and help to discover strength and wisdom we’d not known we possessed.
Failure, while a bad word for so many, is really just one step along the journey. No success is gained without first failing. Through failure comes lessons. Failure can be the redirection needed to realign with the path we are supposed to be on. Failure, along with pain, teaches lessons meant to be learned. For failure to serve its purpose, we must lean into it to improve, grow, and become the best version of ourselves.
Life is a constant journey of self discovery and growth. For this journey to be complete, unfortunately, it cannot be without pain and failure.
Additionally, friend, we can survive any pain and heartbreak, even the darkest of moments when we feel we’re standing alone.
Your Trusted Friend ❤