Recovery of a No Excuse Mom: My Failures-Part 1: Overcoming
Change is hard. It’s three weeks into the most recent challenge and I haven’t talked at all about my own struggles, current successes and progress.
I am doing pretty well in regards to my goals. I am setting weekly exercise goals and meeting them. I am starting to challenge myself with things that make me uncomfortable, like new exercises or equipment. I am improving my eating habits little by little, and I’ve even managed to lose four pounds already!!
But perhaps my biggest obstacle – and biggest learning tool…. Is failure.
There was a time not very long ago that I felt like a complete failure. I wrote briefly about it before and now I would like to talk about it much, much deeper.
Failure can make you doubt yourself.
Failure can be a spirit killer.
Failure can be a motivation squelcher.
Failure can reverse your progress and stall your life.
But it can do so much more, too…. If you let it.
When we fail once, most people have the ability to get up and try again. But how many failures can one person take?
When we fail, again and again, whether it is perceived failure or real… it can create a seed of doubt. Doubt increases the risk we perceive from each step we take.
Doubt can grow to shame and shame tells me that there is something wrong with me. It’s not an action that is wrong, stupid or bad.
I am wrong. I am stupid. I am bad.
Once shame is in the picture, we can become paralyzed.
If you have never felt this, then you’re lucky.
I envy you.
Some people tear themselves down and create their own impossible to meet standards. Some people were told by someone else that they weren’t enough. And others are in the middle. They were torn down for so long that even without the person there to criticize them, they continue the deprecation on their own.
I am the third one.
I have spent a large amount of my life being told that I don’t run fast enough, don’t do pushups low enough, don’t sweat enough, don’t clean the dishes well enough, don’t match the right colors in my wardrobe, don’t sing well enough; my list could go on and on.
But I’m not in that situation anymore. On most days, I don’t have anyone telling me – in any sort of words, actions, etc – that I am not enough.
So, what is it that placed me in an emotional spiral of self-deprecation for the last three years?
Part of it was depression, that’s for sure. But part of it was… ME.
When no one else took the responsibility of tearing me down, my mind began to do it instead.
It has taken me SO long to dig out from under the pressure of perfectionism, impossible standards and degrading behavior, that I am just now at a point of healing, where I no longer constantly tear myself down.
God has been leading me on a journey out of this trap. And I believe that I need to share my story because I am far from the only person who has felt this way. There is healing, but it is a LONG, HARD road. One which is already so worth it for me. I don’t know if I will ever be completely over it this side of heaven, but I can share a couple of things that have helped me overcome my own failures and my self-deprecation.
I have to say that I am a HUGE advocate for counselling. I went through a year and a half with an amazing counselor who helped me to unpack the baggage that I had been carrying around with me.
Seeking professional help is literally one of the BEST THINGS I HAVE EVER DONE.
It doesn’t make you weak to need help outside of yourself. Actually, it’s quite the opposite… it takes a great amount of humility, bravery and vulnerability to face the demons in your closet.
But if you’re paralyzed in any part of your life – it’s the biggest step you can take to begin to heal.
Once I faced the lies I had been told, I was able to see them objectively. Honestly, some of what I was told in my past was hard truths that I needed to face. Some of it was absolutely not the truth and I have slowly been throwing it out the window of my mind and heart.
In this process, I have learned that Failure is not a definition. It is an event. It’s a single moment in time and it is WE who decide to cling to that one moment.
Yes, it’s true that sometimes we make mistake after mistake, or failure after failure. But failure itself is still just one moment. One action. One word.
We have to learn to OWN our failures and LEARN from them.
Every failure has a message, a lesson or can serve a purpose…. If we let it.
Take a look at your failures. Every single one of them.
I am also a big advocate for journaling. Of course, you don’t have to know much about me before you know I love to write…. But even for those who don’t consider themselves ‘writers’, journaling can help you so much. When you write your thoughts, feelings, anxieties, emotions, etc. down on paper… it gives them validity. And it helps it get out of you.
Journaling doesn’t bring instant healing, but it allows you to process whatever is eating your soul. It gives release. It can help you think clearer and even recognize errors in your own thinking.
While there is no set-in-stone way to journal, if you don’t know where to start when you journal about a perceived failure, start by writing how it makes you feel. Really think about your own actions. Did you contribute to your own failure? If you did, then how can you do better next time?
Failure only kills your motivation if you let it. Refuse to be defined by your failures.
You are worth SO MUCH more than that.
So, face your fears.
Face your failures.
….and kiss them goodbye.
Yes, they happened. Own it and don’t back down.
Be determined not to let your failures define you.
You have the power to let them shape your future – whether it is as a limitation… or a motivation.
Let your failures motivate you.
A wise friend told me recently, “Sometimes failure is a learning experience, preparing us to achieve a greater goal. Sometimes, the passage of time reveals that failing to achieve a goal was a better option than achieving it would have been. And many “failures” are failures only because we accept them as failures and stop trying.”
Don’t stop trying.
It sounds so simple to say it that way. But, really, it is so much easier than we make it.
Take control of your life.
Step up to the plate and be determined to be the best YOU that you can be.
And finally, give it TIME.
They say that time heals all wounds. I don’t exactly agree…. Time gives you the chance to heal the wound – but it is not a given. Many things in life require time to grieve, time to feel and process the emotions that you have attached to your failure, and time to do the work that it takes to know that it does NOT define who you are.
So, get up off of the “woe is me” couch and get to work on you. Become the best YOU that you can be.
And overcome your failures.