I recently found myself in a situation that encouraged me to explore the way in which people approach the concept of failure.
I am a self professed perfectionist in recovery. My unhealthy quest for perfectionism has wreaked mayhem in many areas in my life. I had taken my search for greatness so literally that I had become the complete opposite of the kind of person I strive to be. I instead of being ‘better’ and ‘absolute’ I had become censored and anxious.
The carefree and optimistic person I once felt I completely and authentically embodied had become tarnished, all by a side that was born out of an obsession with perfectionism and a great fear of failure.
This new side of myself wasn’t someone I liked being, she encouraged the development of an eating disorder, had a naive lack of self-respect, a fondness for irrational decision making and the inability to set personal boundaries.
I believe people make big decisions when they find themselves sick of their own bullshit. Becoming sick of your own bullshit is why some of us end relationships, quit jobs, move towns and alter parts of our lives.
My own decision making process found me watching the burning sunset melt into a hazy Greek evening. It is this decision that brought me to the realization that through social discourse we as a society assign failure only negative connotations. We automatically presume that to fail means we have lost, that we are a loser, that we have been defeated, that we are less of a person.
Through social discourse we have become programmed to believe that failing should correlate negatively with our self esteem.
We are quick to overlook the beauty in admitting failure. We overlook the distinct element of mental strength, pride and dignity that comes with the power in realizing you made a mistake, that something you once believed was the correct path for you has turned out to be different from what you expected.
It is not easy to realize that a decision you previously spent copious amounts of hours on contemplating has turned out to be a choice that is not what you expected, is not what you feel you need at this point in life.
It comes to no surprise that I find myself preoccupied with thoughts that probably don’t belong to me. By this I mean that I find it so scary to imagine that the people whose opinions I care about, and even the peoples who I don’t care for, will now consider me to be someone who failed at doing something.
Will they consider me a loser? Will they think of me as weak? Will they ultimately think less of me?
The answer to all these absurd questions? No, no and….no!
I have come to realize that admitting to yourself that you got it wrong, admitting you are not thriving in a decision you thought would encourage your growth and wanting to better your situation, leaving something prematurely that will not bring your garden the blooming flowers you want in your life, is not weak.
There is so much honesty and truth in the idea that failure is just a testament to your willingness to try new things, to be the most authentic and real version of yourself that you could possibly envision.
Liberating yourself with adaptability and bravery in freedom, putting aside any fear and any sense of stubborn nature in the constant search for a better future and a better you, is badass. And it’s badass whether you succeed or whether you fail.
Quite simply, to fail is not to admit defeat. Failing doesn’t make you a failure. Trust yourself, trust in the timing of your lives and above all, never lose hope in your journey. One wrong turn does not equate to a wrong life.
And cliche or not, the people who mind do not matter and those who matter will never mind where your journey takes you and for how long the detours in your journey last.