Friday, January 6, 2012

Embracing Failure

Warning - gets touchy-feely in this post.

I am not ashamed to admit that I am what they call an "A-type" personality. I'm pretty sure some most of you can relate. I strive for perfection, and that has gotten me pretty far in life. But a big drawback is that anything but perfection is by default a failure. Setting those kinds of standards for yourself is dangerous when, as we all know, perfection is rarely achieved. Over time, I had to develop a way to deal with what I perceived to be constant failure. Instead of seeing it as something that ought to be avoided, I redefined it as something that is a natural part of life.

For example, I often joke that I have a "daily fail quota" that I must meet. Like, "Shit, I messed up. Oh! that's good, I'm closer to meeting my daily fail quota".

That probably sounds crazy, but it's my coping mechanism and I'm entitled to it. And you know what? It has been pretty handy lately! I see my 3 miscarriages as special achievements that grant me entry into a prestigious club of failures. [<-- sarcasm]

I say all these things in jest, but what I am seriously talking about is seeing the positive in something negative. Sometimes that's a cliche. Sometimes it's just something losers say to make themselves feel better. But sometimes it's true. I'm not talking about some nebulous notion of "this is all part of a bigger plan" and "God works in ways we can't understand". I'm saying I completely understand all sides of what is happening to me. I understand that it mostly sucks giant balls. But I also understand that there may positive aspects. At the very least, every failure is a learning experience - maybe about how to do it better next time, maybe about my strengths and weaknesses, maybe about other people's reactions to various events, but at the very least a learning experience about myself.

What I'm learning so far is that I am much stronger than I thought I could be, but also much more fragile in other ways. I didn't know that all this baby stuff mattered so much to me. But I didn't know that I could get through everything that's happened and be ready to go back for more. I'm learning just how little I know about myself.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. I generally feel the same way about challenges in life and actually encountered a saying a while ago that I really liked: "You were given this life because you can handle it". Things can't be perfect for everyone....but the ones who have it easy are the ones who would fall to pieces in the face of adversity.