Some time ago I came across an article that really resonated with me. In short, the article was about a woman’s realization of how she had imprisoned herself with the fear of shame and failure. The business she owned had not been making any money for a long time. It was bleeding her dry. But because she was so worried of being labelled as a failure, she continued to fight to save the company.
By holding on, however, she was getting into more debt, becoming more stressed and unhappier. Being so caught up with the idea of being ‘seen’ as unsuccessful, she did not listen to the quiet voice within, telling her it was ok to let go. Instead, she was tortured by the loud irrational voice of her ego, telling her she must continue to hold on to her business at all costs, because failure was too shameful and she needed the business to justify her place in society.
When she eventually listened to the ‘quiet voice’, and filed for bankruptcy, she felt a huge relief and an incredible sense of freedom. Finally, she saw that it was her own judgement and fear of failure that had kept her imprisoned and not the business itself.
The quiet voice inside has often drawn my attention to this issue: In that it’s ok to be wrong, or it’s ok to allow myself to make a mistake and it really doesn’t matter what others think of who I am, what I do or don’t do. And it’s ok to be rejected for not fitting into the box of others’ expectations. As long as I continue to work to be the best I can be, without harm to others, the mistakes or fails I make along the way are for me to learn from.
If we are honest, the pressures of social/tribal acceptance are probably some of the biggest hurdles humans have to overcome. Prisons are created from the worries we have about what others think of us, as well as the fear that we’ll be rejected if we are different or don’t fit in.
How many people change their looks or personality to fit into the so-called ‘societal norm’? I think we’ve all been guilty of it at some point in life for one reason or another. We can be so desperate to be accepted, that we hide our brilliant unique selves and create a fake persona that we hope will be liked or accepted. A quote that relates to this is:
‘It is better to be despised for being who you truly are than to be loved for being someone you are not.’
When we live inauthentically, we never truly know who we are and therefore we never find true happiness.
Clearly, there is a very good reason for people to try to be something they’re not. We’ve seen what happens to those who don’t comply with societal norms or those who think outside the box and are gallant enough to share their thoughts with the world. They often get ridiculed (and that includes freethinkers, those who question authority, those who are deemed a bit ‘woo-woo’ and anyone who can see the bigger picture). We only need to look into our history books to see the evidence of this.
I have never-ending respect for anyone who continues to stand up for what they believe in, especially when they are standing up for fellow humans, in a non-violent way. They may get repeatedly knocked down, but they continue to get up and push forward.
It takes bravery to stand up to others in a non-violent way and it takes bravery to admit when we’re wrong or if we’ve ‘failed’.
Allow for Failure
So, to get back to the initial point… We all make mistakes and humiliating things happen to everyone, but in this world, it just seems so shameful to admit to it.
We need to give ourselves permission to ‘fail’ and we must remind ourselves that each of us is on our own journey. If others want to judge or criticize us, then they are trapped in their own prison of suppression.
Some of the unhappiest people I have known have been ‘heavy judgers’, and they certainly haven’t been ‘the winners in life’. So, it’s super-important that we don’t allow the judgers to govern us through our fears.
A failure is simply a learning curve. An experience that shows us how not to do something in the future.
I’m not saying aim to fail, but when we allow for failure, without giving up, we allow ourselves to grow in incredible ways.
I once read that those who truly succeed in life are those who allow themselves to fail over and over. Which makes sense.
We make mistakes and we learn. Even if it is learning how not to do something. And, when we stop worrying of what others think, we can continue to surge forward being true to ourselves. Free to Be!
Until next time. Diane.