From Out of Control to Controlling
I felt out of control a lot as a kid. We all did. We were completely dependent on tall, powerful beings that controlled what we could eat, what time we could go to bed, and what we did. While there is comfort in depending on others, it made me feel trapped, unhappy and unsafe. As a result, I developed ways to carve out a sense of freedom in little ways.
It turned me into a nerdy perfectionist. I demanded A’s in all of my classes. And when I didn’t get it? I pulled a Cher (from Clueless) and talked my way into one. This may not sound surprising to you. But imagine a C average grade school student who was so shy she would rather fail a class than do an oral report, and you might understand how shocking this was. But getting good grades was so immediately gratifying! There was nothing else in my life that allowed me to get direct and positive results like that. The idea that I could change my world by simply working hard taught me an important lesson about life:
Hard work = Good grades
Unfortunately, I learned after college and graduate school that life itself didn’t work that way. Sometimes you can try your hardest and still end up failing.
What Failure Means In Your Life
There are many moments in my life when I feel like a failure. I feel it when I don’t get a writing job. I feel it when I’m having a bad day. Sometimes I’m overcome with self-doubt when I wake up in the morning. But I never let it stay.
I realized that I am not God. I don’t know why things are happening so why sabotage the gift of what is for the gift I want.
On Super Soul Sunday, spiritual teacher Panache Desai said something so profound that it completely altered the way I saw my life.
He said, “Life is happening for you and not to you.”
It was just a play on semantics, a simple juggling of words. But the idea stayed with me, shook me up and changed the way I saw everything in my life.
Maybe that writing opportunity I didn’t get wasn’t right for me so it fell out my grasp. Maybe that house I was dreaming about wasn’t taken from me, but hidden for me so that I could find the true home of my dreams.
I used it on a trip to California last week and saw gifts bloom like flowers in Spring time. I didn’t hem or haw over lost sleep one night and the next morning I was grateful for the fatigue-I slept like a baby on the plane. I wasn’t worried about being on standby and got first class instead. I didn’t plan our trip to Monterey and found places my husband and I, who have been there multiple times, had never been. In the week that I was there, I learned that by letting go of my own expectations, I made room for life to unfold as it should. And the outcome was more beautiful, and more breathtaking than I could have imagined.
The thing about failure and about being “good enough” is that it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. Maybe what you’re labeling as failure in your own life is simply your life..
unfolding for you
not to you.