I don't know how many times I have cried in my bedroom feeling like a failure. Do you? There was the time when I had to jump off my dancer's degree at the Stockholm Ballet Academy in the 90-ies. How hard I had worked to get in, and then an injury caused me to leave. I found myself feeling way too old to start a new career, way too heartbroken to motivate myself to dream up something new. Instead I stood in a convenience store working night shifts serving grilled sausages on a bun to drunken party goers after they had been kicked out of the nightclub.
So the opposite of failure is success, right? What exactly do we want to be successful at? For me when leaving school, career choice was more about enjoying what I do than making money or job security. And yet I found myself comparing with my smart sisters, with friends from school who managed to land cool jobs while I was serving sausages to drunks making nothing. No wonder I was a sobbing mess feeling like I had failed at life.
In school we only learn for careers, but not for life. Life is so much bigger than that, don't you think? Well, for me life is about growing and learning who I really am. Looking back I notice that the moments of deep despair are the ones that helped me grow the most. The moments of bliss and happiness are just as fleeting as the ones of suffering. So what's the point of labeling happy moments "good" and suffering "bad" when most of our growth and learning comes from the suffering?
Try letting go of that belief and those labels around suffering and happiness and see what happens. Fear of failure drifts off with your next out breath. And in comes courage... Because taking risks means you never really have anything to loose. You either succeed with your project or you learn.
In the western world we are taught that there is a pill for everything. If we just pay the price, there is an instant fix. And now look at us and what we have created: pollution and overflowing landfills, a society that is obese and addicted, and we institutionalise our grandparents instead of honoring and learning from their life lessons. I'm getting off track here... What I want to get at is that it's not working. Instead we have to learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. What if we stop being so scared of failure? What if we instead learn to forgive ourselves? We can't change the world, but we can change what's in our hearts. Take a breath and learn to love perfectly imperfect you. Learn to love the lessons you are given. Learn to accept that life sometimes sucks and sometimes it's just so brilliant you could burst. Remember in it all, in all that messy mix of beauty and fear there is your breath. Constant. With you. Giving you the miracle called life.