Do or Do Not...There is No Try
So many of us are told as children that we have to try…and if we don’t succeed…try again…and again.
Unfortunately this message throughout our childhoods has caused greater mental ill health across a generation. Because now, we are simply afraid of failure.
And we shouldn’t be afraid of failure..it’s part of life. We need to accept failure. Not fear it.
I’ve stayed in situations not meant for me because I’ve convinced myself I’m just not trying hard enough. “I just need to put in more effort”. More of me. “The problem is obviously me, because other people succeed at this”.
But eventually this mindset depletes us because it’s not sustainable…and then we have to face the reality that we have failed when we’re at our lowest.
This can be especially hard to swallow.
Sometimes we know inside that we haven’t achieved enough. Or the result wasn’t what we’d hoped for. And what do we tell ourselves? “We’ve failed”. Sometimes we can talk it over with a friend…who may convince us “you’ve not failed, you’ve tried your best, you did what you could” . This essentially just puts more emphasis on the ‘trying’. So next time we put in more effort thinking if we try harder we won’t feel this way again…but we do.
Because essentially, it’s the wording we’ve been so familiar with using which is causing us pain. No amount of trying can make us accomplish the things we aren’t meant to do…and that’s ok. That’s what we should be telling our friends. Validating their thoughts to allow them to accept their failure..but also telling them it’s ok because it’s impossible to succeed at everything. And just because an outcome didn’t match their expectations… doesn’t mean they are a failure. That’s the important part. Being unsuccessful doesn’t make you a failure…it makes you human.
It also doesn’t mean you should give up everything. When we think about failing Vs succeeding it’s often very black and white thinking. We come to the conclusion we have to repeat exactly the same again. Rinse and repeat until a failed task becomes a success. And sometimes that works, because repetition builds precision. But is it healthy?
I would say more often that not it builds fear, not success. Sometimes real success is intermingled with it. Yet fear of getting something wrong…is not a reason to get something right.
We should want to be successful for ourselves and what feels right to us. Basing our levels of attainment on someone else’s judgement can never be true success, and will eventually lead to a whole lot of anxiety.
Believe me, I know this too well. I spent years staying in a situation because I was afraid of the failure for giving up. I constantly unsuccessfully repeated the same tasks over and over again in slightly different ways, different days, different moods and still got nowhere. I berated myself when my list of jobs got bigger instead of smaller. I compared myself to others who did what I did…but they had success.
“I just need to try harder” I said to myself. But I had tried my very hardest. And it _stil_l wasn’t enough. I became sicker and sicker. Until, instead of giving up the thing I was failing at, I was giving up at life.
People gave me what they thought was helpful advice. Trying to make the situation appear more shiny and positive than what it was. Making me feel more like I was the failure because I knew I wasn’t feeling positive, and couldn’t feel positive.
They gave me suggestions where I could try this and that, or say that I wasn’t a failure, and I’m just having a bad day. “Tomorrow will be different”. And to a degree they were right. Tomorrow will always feel different just like the weather changes so will our emotions. Yet at the same time… no amount of justifying failure without admitting it, will ever result in success. I had to admit to myself that the whole situation I was in just wasn’t working, and never would…and that’s ok.
Life wasn’t shiny…it was very dull. Filming in monotone and then adding colour, isn’t the same filming in colour. The image appears fake, because beneath the surface it doesn’t show the real picture. Any additions I made were just skewing my vision. I needed to see the failure of the colours not working, to allow myself to realise I needed a new camera.
It took 1 week of being in the right relationship to make me realise I’d spent 15 years trying in the wrong relationship. Too scared to admit the relationship had failed. Too bitter to admit I’d wasted all that time for it to be called a ‘failure’… which had only made me dig in deeper. I hung on in trying because I thought it was “the right thing to do”. Not what I needed.
So I guess the biggest question is when to admit defeat? When do we know when to give up and when to persevere? I found the best way is to listen to what’s important to you and not others expectations.
You aren’t going to please everyone. And people will judge you. Mostly because they themselves are living in judgement from others. Until we shift the mindset of society to move away from certain standards we will always feel judged.
Yet we must be true to ourselves. Accept with grace when we have failed and use it to propel us in a different direction. One that doesn’t feel like such a burden to ‘try’, but where trying is exciting. Where we feel empowered to try, not enforced. “Try, try, try again.” Doesn’t have to be a banned phrase. But it should be used carefully with an emphasis on different approaches. “Try this… didn’t work? Ok, try that. Still not working, maybe try this? Or maybe this is not meant for you? It’s ok to stop trying this completely…and start something new.”
The best way to know ourselves, is to ask ourselves. Is this for me… or for them? If it’s for you, you will find a way because that’s part of your journey.
If it’s what you think you should do. It won’t ever work. Because you are basing your self worth on false direction. It’s not being selfish or lazy to stop doing something that’s failing. It’s healthy to admit our flaws and that we are infallible. It’s ok to fail.
For those interested in Astrology here the connection. Uranus has just gone direct. The planet of chaos, rebellion and freedom. For the last few months it has been in a retrograde motion, which means slowing down and appearing to go in the opposite direction as the earth moves faster. As with all retrogrades, this backwards motion gives us time to reflect and regroup. But once the retrograde is over its direct influence can be felt once more.
So now is the time that things are shaken up, sometimes quite literally with physical earthquakes being a real possibility while Uranus is in earthy Taurus.
Yet what’s important, is to pay attention to the disruption. Where you see a crack opening up, now is not the time to plaster over it. Uranus represents the creation of destruction. If you see damage to the wall, look to see if that wall is really necessary. If not, tear it down. Uranus gives us the freedom that arises from the rebellion. The crack in the wall that allows the light to shine in… doesn’t want to be blocked out. Allow it to highlight the way. Head towards the new.
We cannot save what needs to be discarded. When we are shaken, we must awake…not try to settle the dust back down. Clear the debris. Holding on will only make things harder. Release your grasp and see where the wind takes you.
That fortress that you’ve built around yourself is coming down whether you like it or not. Don’t stay to let it collapse and end you. Accept the change that’s happening and free yourself from those walls. The walls that were once keeping you safe, but now holding you prisoner.
Embrace a new perspective.
Much Love, AW