“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” – J.K. Rowling
If we made a resume that included all of our failures it would be longer than our resume of accomplishments and successes, wouldn’t it? Instead of celebrating our failures as wayshowers we hide them away and often become ashamed of them. I’ve also noticed that we don’t teach our kids to fail. Why is that? We push our kids to succeed and win, sometimes at all costs. We put ourselves down and we hold ourselves back for fear of failing. Sometimes we even cheat rather than risk failure! The fact is that we fail more than we succeed, so doesn’t it make sense that we should be taught how to fail? How to embrace our failures even! Instead of being congratulated on our failures, we hide them away so that we don’t have to talk about them. The last time you failed at a thing did you willingly offer up your failure for examination and discussion? “Hey! Guess what?! My marriage is falling apart!”
If we had a different mindset about failures and looked at them as opportunities for growth, perhaps we could be more accepting of failure as a normal part of life. The fact is that our failures are useful tools that reveal a lot if we can take a closer look without letting our emotions get in the way. For example, our failures show us what’s important. Every time we fail at a thing and get pissed off we learn how much that thing meant to us. If we want to succeed the next time we must find a way to improve. Bingo! Thank you, failure!
The first “failure” that I can remember is the failure to keep my mouth shut! From the time I was in kindergarten there was a consistent theme- “Kinda is a good student, but she talks a lot.” As a young child, I often failed to tell the truth, which usually resulted in a bar of soap in my mouth when my mother caught me in a lie!
At the age of 28, I left my first marriage. By the time I got the courage to leave my self-esteem was in the toilet. After years of mental and emotional abuse, I finally realized that things were not going to change. And even though my marriage “failed”, it was this failure that taught me that I needed to work on myself before I could have a healthy relationship with someone else. I finally did the hard work of examining my lack of self-worth. It took me many years of digging deep to uncover hidden beliefs, reprogram my thoughts, discover what I needed, and find my voice.
At the age of 34, I failed to reach my goal of running a half marathon. This failure taught me that I needed to LISTEN to my body rather than push myself harder because that is what someone ELSE told me I should do.
Throughout my adult life, I have failed to save enough money, pay my bills on time, and become financially independent. These failures have revealed a scarcity mindset that I realized I had been conditioned with since I was a little girl, both from society and from my parents. Of course, there are countless other personal examples I could give, but you get my point.
“Failure is merely feedback that there is something blocking the path of the emergence and expansion of the greatest version of yourself.” - Mother Teresa
So, what happens when we fail to practice self-care? Overwhelm. Rage. Denial. Shrinking. That’s what happens. And I know this because for many years I let my desire to help others and to be a “giver” supersede my own needs. I was taught that taking care of me was selfish. So every time thoughts of taking care of me crept in I shoved them down. Until I couldn’t shove them down anymore. Until I learned that my needs were valid and worthy of my time and attention. I learned that giving from an empty cup isn’t really giving at all.
I began to see that my failure to go to bed and get the rest that I needed resulted in me being angry and taking it out on others. I began to see that my failure to eat well resulted in my feeling lethargic and weighed down. I began to see that my failure to exercise left me feeling unhappy and energetically depleted. I began to see that my failure to spend time in quiet, just “being” left me feeling overwhelmed, floundering around with no clear direction. I wasn’t present with my family and I lacked joy in my life!
After years of quieting my inner voice and ignoring my needs, I hit rock bottom on many levels. I recently listened to a commencement speech that JK Rowling gave to a Harvard graduating class in which she said this: “Rock bottom became the solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my life.” This is why The Four Seeds of Self-Care are essential. They are the foundation from which all else is built. And science is proving it.
When I make my self-care a priority above anything and everyone else I am able to accomplish my goals, be more present with my loved ones, know what I am feeling, and communicate my needs. I am able to give myself permission to dream and to say “yes” when I mean yes and “no” when I mean no. What feedback do you get when you consistently practice self-care? What about when you fail to practice self-care?
Don’t let your greatest failure be getting stuck in limiting thoughts and emotions. Know that it’s a mindset; failure or feedback. Each time we fail there is an opportunity for growth.
If you are ready to shift your mindset I invite you to join us on our last ReConnect Retreat of the year on Friday, December 11th. Give yourself the gift of self-care and get clear about what you will take away from 2020. Know that 2020 was not a failure. As difficult as this year may have been, there is much to be learned. We can’t wish a whole year away, nor should we. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Each day is a gift. In fact, each failure is a gift that contains the feedback that we need to grow and flourish!
With love and gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel