What exactly is the Failure Myth?
Let’s break it down…
First we’ll tackle the confusing mixed messages regarding failure.
Optimists look at failure as a teacher and friend. believing failure teaches us things like try again, be persistent, never give upꟷspinning it positive because failure is how we learn. Perhaps that’s true, but often times it feels more like a lesson in wallowing in defeat. Overall for the optimist, failure is a positive thing.
Pessimists on the other hand, see it as the letter L cattle-branded smack dab in the middle of the forehead. Failure means a missed mark, a let-down, a lack of skill perhaps. Often times we’re our own worst pessimist-branding selves, which is hard to swallow since I’m an optimist!
What about myths?
We all know a myth is false, yet they can sound so convincing, can’t they? Like those messenger messages urging people to “share this with all your contacts”.
People do it.
Because the message reaches right through the chest wall, straight for the heart-strings. It instills a sense of urgency and emotion. Next thing you know, you go from just believing a myth to spreading it. Myths are often half-truths, which makes them all the more difficult to fend off. Someone, somewhere got a stomach ache after jumping in a pool without having waited an hour after lunch.
Graft those two words together and we get the Failure Myth.
What failure myth are we believing about ourselves? We have one setback and suddenly we are a failure who needs to quit everything. So wrong and not true.
Here’s how we can overcome our own Failure Myth:
- Believe: What we fail at does not define who we are or what we are capable of. I didn’t make the cheerleading squad in high school. I forgot the cheer and couldn’t do a back-flip when it mattered most. It didn’t feel warm and fuzzy at the time, but it wasn’t meant to be. I could have tried again, but I didn’t and that’s okay. Maybe we can’t do that thing, but we can do other things, better.
- Believe: We don’t have to try, try again if it’s not what we’re meant to do. If whatever it is does not bring us joy, does not serve others well, causes us to resent it, always feels like a struggle, then maybe it’s not for us.
- Believe: We can stop feeling guilty about what we see as failing to do everything asked of us. We can stop with the self-inflicted dagger to the heart. If we added up in dollars all the times we’ve said yes to something God had not meant for us to do, we could probably purchase our own country. Believing this will allow us to be present when and where we need to be.
- Believe: We have all been given gifts and we will not fail when we use them wisely. There will always be people who want to tell us what we should and shouldn’t do. Be discerning of the voices and pray for direction. God will direct the steps we need to take. He may send others to help us, but more often than not, their help wasn’t His idea.
- Believe: Sometimes just showing up is enough for now. You will write something, cook something, read something, plant something, paint something…. You will. When it’s in you, you will. But when you can’t do it today, that’s okay. Every step is progress.
- Believe: Everything wrong is not our fault. Are family and friends not living up to their true potential? Do we struggle as parents when our kids fall down? We take the blame. A lot. We feel we’ve failed them in some way. While we haven’t always done everything right, I assure you, we probably did most of it right. We can’t hold their hands forever. They make their own choices. Praying is more effective than pity parties.
- Believe: We haven’t failed if we can’t live up to the expectation of others. When we gauge our success or failure on the expectations and opinions of others, we will lose that battle. Be encouraged, God’s favor is all that matters.
Our own definition of failure will stifle us. Our own definition of failure will suppress our potential. Our own failure myth will create a force-field of isolation around our gifts. Around us.
When others reject us or what we have to offer, we didn’t fail. There are things at work which we cannot see. Trust that it wasn’t the right time and place, which means there will be a perfect time and place to come.
What you may see as failure others may see as inspiration. See how that works?
We can’t fail when we follow truth. Failure exists only when we fail to see we were created for a purpose and that it was God’s idea that we’re even here. He will complete what He started in us. Believe that. His love never fails.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:6 (New Living Translation).
Be Blessed Friend,