OR HOW TO STEP OUT OF THE INFINITE FIGHT AND FAILURE MODE – AND INTO A LIFE OF POSITIVITY
“I’m not where I should be at my age.” You have no idea how often I hear statements like that from clients preparing themselves to others, or to their own idea of what they wanted to reach, attain or manifest in life. It starts with the idea of having to have a partner, being married, having kids, a house, a good job, security… being successful and even experiencing luxuries. Who wouldn’t want that?
Some of us have gotten a glimpse of our own potential, an idea of who we want to be or what we want to contribute to life. We have a big vision, and we see others who have made such a vision come true. They are successful on stage, or are public figures who influence lots of people positively.
It doesn’t matter how big your vision is or how “normal” your goals – when you find yourself in a constant fight, constantly making efforts, and with a more or less permanent sensation of failing, frustration and not being able to make it, something is wrong. We can easily find ourselves in a constant up and down, going between the hope that some other person, tool, or project may finally help us have the break-through – and then the looming suspicion that for us, it won’t work (no matter the results other people can get).
If you look back at your life, or at the last few months or years,
- do you get a sense of having being fighting all the time?
- Has life been less than supportive?
- Has it been hard?
- Too hard?
- Are you always overcoming the next hurdle, and then the next?
If you are, this blog is for you. Because you deserve more. You deserve ease, joy, a sense of accomplishment, and progression. You deserve a concept of your life that allows you to live with life, not against it.
Comparison Brings Frustration
Comparing ourselves with others can be stimulating. It can show us what we want, or teach us how to proceed. It can also make us aware of what we already have achieved or which aspects are playing in our favor.
But most of the time, when we compare ourselves with others, or even with our own expectations, it end up being painful. We don’t usually use the comparison to inspire and uplift us, but as a way of putting ourselves down. We think and feel – in a million ways – that we are not good enough.
Our Western society has trained us to set goals, and motivate ourselves to go for them. We have learned to push through, try harder, and try again. And those are all good values and skills. But when our life ends up being a constant experience of pushing and trying (harder), there comes a point when it’s just not bearable.
I hope that point has come for you. I hope you are done hoping and pushing and being frustrated all the time.
Failing is Painful. Anticipating Failure is Exasperating.
It is painful when yet another attempt didn’t work out. Every time we don’t succeed, we add another negative weight on our self-esteem scale, and we darken our self-image. It can get so painful that we have to avoid these negative feelings. Sometimes we project our despair and deflect the sensation of failure – and we end up blaming others, the life circumstances, or getting really angry. But the anger is just a cover-up for the unbearable sensation of guilt: not being good enough, nor capable, and being at fault.
It is even more exasperating when we feel all these emotions before we have even made a move. Sometimes just thinking of the next step to take, or a challenge to take on, we already go down into the negativity and the sense of failure and not being good enough. Maybe we think or know that we could succeed – and that’s why we push ourselves. But we feel, on a very deep level, that it won’t make a difference. We’re scared of accumulating yet another failed attempt, yet another disappointed hope. Anticipating our own failure and hardship can be so intense that it keeps us from moving all together. We can fall into depression, or different states of apathy. It can make us sick.
Who Says That We Have Failed, Ever?
I think that the apprehension that we have failed is absolutely partial, and subjective. Whether or not we remember a certain action as failure, it only depends on our mind, our criteria, our tape measure.
For example, I recently learned to record and edit videos. It meant that I had to overcome a lot of inner resistance. And I got started by challenging myself to post one video a day in my facebook group, for three weeks. Now, as I look back, I can focus on how the sound quality could be better, or how my content tends to get very deep and long and maybe not catching enough, or how I feel less than comfortable in front of the camera. I could feel bad about getting so few responses, or how hard it is to establish a Youtube Channel and reach the people who might really appreciate what I have to say. All of this is true. But it doesn’t help. Instead, I can also appreciate that I have learned to handle the technical aspects and get an ok quality in the recording. I have figured out how to prepare with little effort, and how to feel at ease when I record – so I can speak freely, and I don’t have to re-record. I can go on and on.
So why would anyone choose to see the experience of failure as real, and not that of learning and growing?
It has to do with a deeply rooted sense of self-worth, or rather, with the lack of it. When we are already internally programmed to feel insufficient, nothing we do will be good enough, because it could or should have been better, or others know better. Then we focus on those aspects of the situation that match our negative self-images, and we reenforce it. We relive pain and failure because it is what we bring to this life situation to begin with. They are energies we hold in our system. And until we release them, we will always re-experience them.
That means that it’s as good as impossible for life to prove us wrong if we are fearing or assuming that we won’t make it. Only when we feel that we can make it, or even that we have “made it”, then we can experience how life supports us. It’s ironic, but our outside life conditions really just mirror our inner or “energetic” world.
But in this light, it is clear: The question to ask is, how can I feel like a success? How can I get a sense of already having attained everything I need? How can I let go of my inner doubts, negativity, and past failure?
No Pushing, No Perfectionism!
Let’s look at this practically. Maybe we need to learn to take steps that are not perfect, and to consider it normal to be learning from our mistakes, and doing it better the next time. I am sure lowering our perfectionist expectation and acting anyway is a great way to go. Any movement brings us change, and the opportunity to grow. If we sit still in apathy, we don’t learn, and we don’t generally get to feel better about ourselves or our challenges.
But I think the most important element in shifting these patterns is that you STOP PUSHING YOURSELF! If you are constantly fighting, chances are that you are pushing yourself too much, and that because you do that, you are exhausted, and you constantly focus on your shortcomings. We tend to think that if we see our faults, we can do better. But really we just put a break on, and exhaust ourselves going full speed.
Pushing yourself and trying harder will only multiply the experience of effort. You have to find a way of going with the flow of life, so that you can open up to the experience of being carried, supported, and at ease.
Fight, Flight, Freeze … or Receive!
My general rule is that if life is a fight, you are pushing too hard. I believe that life should be easy. The things that are for us, they flow. They come easily. And if something doesn’t come easily, I can choose to fight. Or I can choose to let go and to stop fighting.
That doesn’t meant that I should go into flight mode, or even, freeze. It means that I can remind myself that I deserve to feel good ALREADY NOW. And it means that I search for the way in which I get out of this cycle of fight-flight-freeze type of actions. The answer I have found is RECEIVING. I have found that I can step out of fight mode if I can assume that I deserve the best, that I deserve for things to be easy. That I deserve to feel good, no matter where I am in life now. And then I shift my focus:
- How can I feel good right now, even if nothing changes?
- How can I support myself, or give love to myself?
And in a bigger sense, I ask myself:
- HOW CAN I RECEIVE FROM LIFE?
- How can I open up to seeing and being aware of everything that I am already receiving?
Because I know, if I open up to receiving what life has to give to me, I open up to what comes and flows easily.
You Can’t Receive Selectively
In the beginning, there was one big hindrance in my mind. I thought: If I open up to receiving, I have to let go of trying to control what I will get. It means I have to open up to everything! In its last consequence, and especially when I am in a rough patch in life, that means that I have to be open to receiving the pain. I have to be open to receiving a process that is slower than I wished, or leads somewhere I could not even imagine yet. I knew that I either go into receive mode, or I stay in control mode. If the first, I have to surrender. If the second, I will keep suffering failures.
Opening up to receiving means that we have to surrender to life. We have to accept and appreciate all that life has to give to us. And as we get better in appreciating and valuing it, our energy gets more positive, and we attract even more riches in life. On all levels. We may not get that child that we wanted so badly. But we may find fulfillment, closeness, meaning and joy in other ways. We may not become that famous singer with a huge career. But we might discover that we bloom when teaching, or that we use our voice and artistic inclinations in a different way – which will be exactly the right way for us. After all, what does it matter how we live and what we do, if we feel happy, fulfilled, joyful, and at peace?
Life knows better than we do. It knows what we need and how we will be fulfilling our purpose and have a meaningful experience. It gives us our dreams and our sense of purpose. They guide us and bring us into motion. But only if we can absolutely surrender to the how and the why, the when, and even the IF... then we can experience every step of this life as fulfilling, every experience as a lesson.