The biggest F word of my life has been Failure.
Up until recently, I treated that word the way some people treat the other F word. When it came to myself, I NEVER said it.
In the first part of my adult life, I didn’t say it because it just wasn’t an option for me. Being driven by accomplishment and achievement, failure was the ultimate worse-case scenario. On some unconscious level, it didn’t seem survivable. But I was never really worried about it, because I had an unwavering belief that with enough hard work toward reasonable goals it would never catch me.
Once I began coaching, I started to acknowledge that sometimes things don’t work out the way people want. I still wouldn’t use that word though. It became all about “learning opportunity” rather than failure. It was simply a chance to make corrections and pivot toward a new course of action.
That all sounds healthy and wonderful, but I’ve recently discovered a problem in that way of thinking. By polishing it up, I never acknowledged the emotions that come with failure. And it makes sense because in my inner world, success and value were what made me worthy of love, so failure meant I wasn’t worthy of love. No wonder I protected myself by avoiding the word.
It wasn’t like those feelings of failure weren’t there though. Even as I seemed to gloss right over the top of those feelings of doom, they were really just stuffed way down to where they couldn’t surface.
I’m forcing myself to use the F word these days.
I want to allow myself to feel the emotions I have been repressing with my reframes and course corrections.
I feel disappointed.
I feel discouraged.
I feel embarrassed.
I feel insecure.
I feel ashamed.
I feel so many things I have not allowed myself to feel.
I have no doubt that I will move forward again.
I’m good at the tweak, direction change, and action-taking. I know that will inevitably happen. It’s just in my nature. Stopping to feel my emotions isn’t going to derail me. In fact, it’s going to help me in a very important way.
I can only really “see” myself if I’m willing to look at everything I am, I think, I do, and I feel. That acknowledgment is a prerequisite for truly loving myself.
I would never in a million years have thought I would need to label things as failures. But in my case, it functions as permission to feel my emotions and still be okay with myself. I have to allow some space to lean into the failure. I need to acknowledge the painful part of it first before I spin it as a positive and start moving again.
That I am worthy despite my failures feels very different to me than the story that I am worthy because I am a success. It may be a subtle distinction for other people but it is a significant one for me.
Let’s connect! You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For resources and inspiration delivered right to your inbox sign up for Love Even Though, my biweekly newsletter.
I love this one.
You are worthy because you have failures. How else can growth arise if you dont come face to face with the F word. I think admitting failure gives you soft belly to move into something profound.