‘…It doesn’t mean you’re failing’

I have felt like a failure my entire life. I know I’m not alone in this feeling; I think perhaps we all feel this way from time to time… but what is it that we are failing to do? Who decides what constitutes failure and what is a success?

I set my own goals. Once upon a time I would set those goals based upon what I thought others would see as success; I based my life’s ambition upon my perceptions of what others might see as greatness but, of course, it was never enough – for me or them. Written like this, it is a clear recipe for disaster and misery… but I ask you; have you not done the same? Is there not that one person whose approval you seek but never receive? That one thing that you think; if I just had that, everything would be ok… It is an elusive mission – an unending pool of desolation to seek what you will never receive. Those who love us will always see our happiness and contentment as success and those who don’t are likely blindly projecting the perception of their own failures onto you.

My father was the man I felt I could not please. I always felt clumsy around him, panicky – which led to more mistakes, which in turn led to more of his disapproval. I thought that a career would make him proud of me; would garner his approval.. and when it didn’t immediately seem to make him love me,  I would not see it through – I would quit because it was never something I was doing for me and you will never be happy doing something that it is not in your heart to do… I used to think he made me feel like a failure and certainly he could have done more to prevent me feeling so worthless; but really I made myself feel this way. I set myself unrealistic goals, I sought things that I could not put my whole heart and soul into – I ignored the person I was, I thought success would come with approval I didn’t realise that the approval I needed was my own.

Blame is poison to the soul. It eats you from inside out and all that is left is the bitter shell of what you once were. My father and I are too different and yet startlingly similar and it caused a great many clashes throughout my life. I have blamed him for a many things through the years – we no longer talk because it is better for us both that way – I wish I had not blamed him for all the things that went wrong in my life, he was, indeed, a negative force in my life but I know he didn’t seek to be that, we just both found ourselves there one day and it was too late to turn back. I don’t blame him for anything now. I don’t blame anyone… Life happens and the awful parts are just as important as the good, they shape who we are; they graft a character out of the mould that is our soul. I am the woman I am today because of all that has happened to me… there is no blame to be laid.

What is success? A career? Money? Children? A house? Happiness? Friends? A large social calendar? Social standing? Fame?

If I feel like a failure, what am I failing at? Life?

What does it mean to be worthless? If I make someone smile in a day is that not worth enough?

If for the rest of my life I do no more than I do now… Love my kids, strive to always be kind, let people into my heart, work to keep a healthy mind, learn, forgive, play, laugh, smile, cry, love my family, despair at my family, write to ease my troubled mind, write to enliven my soul, make memories… if this is all I do for the rest of my days, have I failed at life? Have I been worth any less?

I challenge this feeling of worthlessness, I analyse this notion of failure.

I have fought a battle with my mind – I have come back from insanity – I am raising two healthy and happy children – I have a home – I have family – I have love – I have friendship – I have health – I experience joy – I feel emotion – I know myself – I know how to be happy – I love me.

There is no greater success story than being able to simply accept who you are and what makes you feel content. I am a success.


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