Discover more from mind noise by ash raymond james
We fail. Be gentle.
A big old discussion on being kind to ourselves and a new view on failure
I am trying to burden myself less with the fear of failure and still trying to figure out how to give failure less weight. I am in absolute understanding that failure is a part of life. It is a part of learning; I would even say that failure is a step towards success. How we define both ends of that scale will vary between person and person, but you know what failure is to you and how it feels and when we fail, we lose that train of thought completely. We forget that failure is a part of being alive as much as breathing is.
There is an interesting debate regarding failure. If we learn or take something from it, can it still be considered a failure? If something becomes an aid to our growth, then surely the failure that surrounds us becomes irrelevant. I wonder if, during the first summer, the sun felt a certain failure when the rain fell. I wonder how many years it took to realise that seasons are for sharing. It’s odd the pressures we put on ourselves, isn’t it? Odder the pressures that are forced upon us. At the very least, I am a firm believer that we must leave space for failure. That failure has a belonging amongst our daily doings.
We can’t just be thrown into the water and learn to swim. We got to drown a little. We must use those stupid little armbands to ensure we don’t die. I think everything requires armbands. If you are jumping into any body of water without them, then it is an unrealistic expectation, yet that is the expectation too often. I have endless examples of people who have expected me to be able to do something I have no experience in. Expected me to dive into the deep end and not have my feet touch the bottom of the pool. The old phrase goes that we will either ‘sink or swim’, but there is a certain pessimistic air surrounding that phrase that I am not too fond of. With a simple shift, however, we can make it optimistic and realistic simultaneously. The truth is we ‘sink then swim’ and only drown when we are not given time to adjust. Give us our gosh darn armbands, and let us figure out how to manoeuvre our bodies in the environment we are in because I believe that given a sprinkling of patience, a glug of gentleness and a dash of belief, we can do anything.
That belief comes from yourself too. That time to adjust is full of seconds you hand yourself also. And self-gentleness is hard. Trying to teach failure to be a helium balloon instead of a tonne weight is a tough lesson it doesn’t want to learn, but we must persist. Bring yourself back to the understanding that failure has a purpose and there is something to gain from the worst of times. We just have to take a breath, clear the fog and dare to see it. We just have to remember that failure is not something exclusive to us. Everybody has felt it. Everybody has anchored themselves to seabeds because of it and let the harshness of their own thinking pierce their armbands. Let the rain come. Let it pour. Let the sky rumble and the soil quench its thirst. Then turn your focus to find the good in it. Take a breath, clear the fog and dare to see it.
I’ll be honest, I was just excited to share this song but upon replaying it, it fits better than I thought it would in the context of this newsletter. This is a long song but boy is it worth absorbing every second.
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