When I fail through no fault of my own there is a nugget of gold waiting for me, that is, if I’m observant and open. That gold is a victory over myself, over my presumption that I always know what’s best for me. This soul-shift leads me to recognize that the Universe knows best most of the time, so I need to wait, listen, and not make hasty judgments.
Lately I’ve been re-examining what I’ve defined as failures or defeats in my life. These “failures” have plagued me for years: not getting certain positions in my chosen vocation, social interaction based in fear and defensiveness, anger and self-justification, reveling in victimhood and self-pity, and a need to control outcomes. But would they plague me as much if I thought of them as triumphs in disguise?
But first I need to be honest and courageous enough to admit to these “failures.” It is always uncomfortable delving into the deeper layers of my life and examining my questionable motivations. When I leave behind past ways of thinking and tired perspectives and beliefs that do not serve me, what is left? Emptiness. A good kind of emptiness that leaves room for being filled with a sense of victory over that which had once served to defeat me.
I’ve come to feel almost as if the life I now lead is meant to alter the outcomes of past lives. I sense that one or more of these past lives were abusive or even cruel. And now I have a deep desire, almost a need, to undo past wrongs which seems to be rooted in my DNA. I tenaciously hold on to this quest to “make it right” as if my soul depended upon it. Yet ultimately it’s the kind of baggage that has led me to make some decisions that have been just plain wrong.
But for those of us who identify with this blog post, who sense having that DNA imprint or childhood traumas that they can’t seem to get away from, there is hope. The “glass half empty” syndrome is, after all, just another belief that doesn’t serve our happiness. The challenge is for us to hit a real bottom, to invite failure to reveal itself full-blown, so much so that we can’t just explain it away, blame others for it, or retreat into depression or compulsive activity to escape it.
It’s like hitting bottom for alcoholics. Some are lucky enough hit it early and spend the rest of their lives in recovery, finding their true selves. Others have to go through layers and layers of bottoming out before the final curtain is drawn on their active addiction. Maybe they’re fortunate enough to have a few years of sobriety and real happiness. No judgments here. Just differences in the way we humans admit defeat to find triumph.
It’s taking me over 6 decades of peeling back the layers to find what manifests the best soul-shifting for me. I have to reach a point of just getting sick and tired of the old way. I generally try almost every angle and explanation, go through a range of feelings and recriminations, and delve into depression or sadness before I finally say Enough! Only then do I find room for God, who waits patiently for me to admit failure and accept the triumph of true love through surrender.
And what about you? Have you found triumphs in defeat? Dare you tell us about them?