This is a love story. Like many love stories, the love part came slowly, unexpectedly, in spite of (or because of) an obstacle course of challenges. This is a love story between me and Failure. That’s right: Failure. And, as is often true, too, in many love stories, this one’s sometimes uncomfortable to watch as it unfolds.
“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” – Rumi
I have been wrestling with the return of some old familiar feelings lately. These are feelings that rise up slowly, but persistently, growing from subtle whispers to fierce howls, but that I eventually subdue by stuffing them into whatever trap I can manage in the moment. It’s an ongoing cycle. And, let’s face it, it’s not really very productive. Instead of going through the cycle again and again and again, I really should just stop, investigate the feelings, get at the root of the issue, and make some changes to improve the situation. That’s the only way to move on up to the next rung on the Ladder of Life.
So, that’s what I’m trying to do now. I’ve danced with these feelings for far too long. I’ve made some half-assed attempts at intimacy with them in the past, but have always played it safe in our dealings. It’s time to lose the safety net. “We only find fulfillment when we let go of comfort, when we risk losing everything.” I read this recently in a blog post by Jeff Goins. And, by gum, he is absolutely right.
Part of my unwillingness to really deal with these feelings of unease, boredom, and the discomfort of not fitting in to the accepted Social Construct, has been, I’m realizing, a real fear of failure. But, what I deeply believe to be true, but often conveniently forget when it comes to personal application, is that failure – especially big, balls-to-the-wall, capital F Failure – is where the sweetest rewards are garnered.
What’s so scary about failure anyway? Why is there such a dark veil of taboo around it? How boring would life be if we always succeeded at every challenge? Would there even be such a thing as challenge? How challenging can a task be if success is guaranteed? Not. At. All.
I am finally beginning to understand what so many before me have already learned: Failure is necessary to success. Risk is necessary to achieve fulfillment. I’ve skirted, avoided, hid from, and danced around any opportunity to really risk failure. And so I’m continually nursing these feelings of discontent.
Well, no more! I’m ready to take some risks! Yes, it scares the crap out of me. But I am finally more afraid of succeeding in this current life I’ve created than I am of failing at any attempt at a better one. As Anais Nin put it so beautifully: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. I’m ready to blossom, goshdarnit! I’m falling in love with failure. I’m stepping away from the wall and out onto the dance floor with Risk as my partner. And I’m looking forward to the dance.