I came across a quote this past week that started me thinking back over failures in my life with a new light.
Failure does not define me.
Failure refines me.
So many things I have tried, experienced, attempted did not turn out the way I wanted them to.
There were times I chose to accept that as an ending. Relationships failed, career opportunities ended, learning ceased.
I had difficulty looking at this. I found myself paralyzed, looking at the failures and remaining the mindset of defeat. “I am a failure, nothing I do is right.”
I call that thing Abstract Absolutes.
Webster defines “abstract” as disassociated from any specific instance; and defines “absolute” as positive, unquestionable.
An “Abstract Absolute” occurs when you take one moment of non-success and make it into an ALWAYS
Example: I just messed up making dinner tonight. It didn’t turn out right. I always do this. I cannot cook. I am a failure in the kitchen. I can’t even boil water!
WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?!?!?!
The truth in that scenario: I have fixed 3 meals a day without any problems for weeks/months/years. I had an issue tonight. That’s all it is. Something went wrong tonight with this one meal. I am a good cook who just didn’t fix a tasty meal this one time.
I had to choose to look differently at these moment. As I looked again, with a new mindset, I found that I grew in those times when I looked at what could be considered a failure and chose to work past it, learning, growing, refining.
I had to choose to look differently at the situation to intentionally learn and move forward.
Long time comedian, George Burns tells that when he started performing, he would do so bad that he would change his name so that booking agents would hire him, not knowing of the last failure. He learned from each failed performance, improving and perfecting his skills.
I didn’t have to change my name, but I have had to look at each ‘performance’ to improve and perfect my skills.
I will not please everyone.
Not everyone will like me.
This was a hard lesson to learn, but accepting it has helped me to move forward. For every criticism I received, there will be 9 compliments. I must choose to focus on the compliment. I can look at the criticism and determine it’s validity. If there is something there, learn from and grow. But I must not dwell and stop.
This week’s journal prompt asks you to look at your refining moments. CELEBRATE!! You have come a long way.
You may not be where you want to be, but look at how far you have come.
If you are comfortable doing so, please share your refining moments or thoughts.