When we Fail …

One thing I hear daily in my practice is that people feel like failures; they feel deflated and disheartened that their efforts to find a better way of living don’t seem to be making life easier or better. They find themselves falling into familiar patterns that they know don’t work. I’ve been there too, in both my business and personal life: I’ve made mistakes, losing relationships and opportunities.  When that happens, it hurts and its hard for me to stay positive.

Cherly Strayed talks about the importance of failure for personal growth in her book Brave Enough. She believes that our failures contribute to our successes because they teach us to be humble. In fact, she believes that being humble is the key.

Confucius called humility the foundation of all other virtues. Humility equates to modesty.  It can be a negative value if we don’t think much of ourselves – then it isn’t really humility we feel, but self-hatred; it can also be a powerfully positive value that makes it possible for us to see ourselves as we truly are, because when we’re humble, we don’t fear the truth.

Huffington Post describes 7 habits of the truly humble. Because the truly humble are free of pretense, their focus is on others in a truly compassionate way; they tend to have a realistic view of themselves and others, and as a result do not have unrealistic expectations that are doomed to failure and disappointment.  Hence, they have a positive outlook on life, and build strong relationships with others.

And so, when Cheryl Strayed says she believes that humility is the key, she includes learning from failure.  Failure is about learning the hard way, and sometimes, especially if we venture into unknown territory, this is the only way to learn and grow. Sometimes we do drive down dead-end roads in life, but that doesn’t mean we get stuck there. And when we turn around and get back to the fork in the road where we first got off track, we come with the knowledge of what doesn’t work, eliminating at least one possibility and saving ourselves much grief the next time around.

Cheryl shares some wisdom she received from her mother, and I pass it on to you: ‘Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things have befallen you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.”  – Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough

Her mother called this “Putting yourself in the way of beauty”. We can choose to either focus on our disappointments, or on what’s beautiful. We can focus on our imperfections, or on what we learned.

Journey from Hero to Humility – Christine Gibson

Quote of the Week

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
― Ernest Hemingway


At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co


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