Failure is simply not reaching a desired goal. That's it.
Too many of us go through life measuring ourselves against impossible standards and coming up short. There's good news, though. Feeling like a failure doesn’t mean you are one. Your 'failures' aren't failures at all.
Looking at it objectively, what we call failure is simply not reaching a desired goal. That's it. The problem comes when we attach a bigger meaning to it: the thoughts and feelings of being imperfect, flawed and unlovable.
Did you miss a deadline or not complete something to perfection? Are your kids giving you a hard time? Does this make you feel like a loser? These are events, moments in time. You are not a failure as an employee, volunteer or parent. You are still you, with all your goodness and potential, intelligence and worthiness.
Feeling like a failure is a thought you keep telling yourself, and soon you begin to believe it. It's the story you tell, over and over again, and the world outside conspires to confirm that message. But none of it is real. And don't kid yourself - even people who are high achievers can view themselves as failures. No matter how much they accomplish, for some it's never enough.
It's the curse of perfectionism. I'm no stranger to that. I can plug along, doing what needs to be done, and then one thing goes wrong and POOF! The good fades away and that one thing takes center stage in my mind. It's getting better with time, and with the support of my own coach, who helps me recognize my faulty beliefs, as well as all the good I have created and received in my life.
What's the bottom line? Every experience provides an opportunity to learn something about yourself and your place in the world. The only real failure is the failure to use that learning so you can love yourself, improve your relationships and live a meaningful life.
You have so much to do, so many people's lives to touch. Don't let missing the mark derail you from experiencing peace and from being an influence for good in this world.
P.S. - Sharing is encouraged, and I encourage you to share this with your child. It takes courage to love yourself in a society that does not yet publicly applaud the less-than-perfect. Your children need to hear this message, and it begins in your home, with you, as early as possible.
Fern Weis is a parent coach, specializing in supporting parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations (including underachieving, disrespectful behavior, addiction recovery and more). With parent-centered coaching, Fern helps parents release guilt, end enabling, and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life’s challenges. Learn more about coaching and workshops at www.fernweis.com. And while you’re there, download a free report, “Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk.”