Our sense of Failure

Last week I wrote about our strong sense of not being enough. This week I take that a step further and discuss that other strong sense we battle with – our sense of failure.

It was Oscar Wilde who said, “Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend’s success.”

I am sure we have all felt that slight sting when another post of someone successfully creating what it is we wish to, appears in our feed. (at least those of us that are honest)
Battling with the part of us that wants, and does eventually, congratulate them against that part of us that wants to crawl into a hole and pontificate on why it is happening to them and not ourselves.

Hooking into our sense of failure.

There are days when my sense of failure can be overwhelming.

When I feel that I have achieved nothing, that my dreams are entirely unrealistic and there is not really much I am good at.

It can be a sense that gnaws at my very being filling me with nausea that can sit with me for days.

It is the loneliest feeling I have particularly as I work alone, so have no one to buffer my self-indulgent thoughts against.
The irony is that when I am in this space, no amount of others telling me how wonderful I am, diminishes it.
It is my misery to work through and mine alone.

It is not an uncommon feeling in the culture we have today that fills us with images of ‘successful’ people living dream lives and displaying their success everywhere possible.
I also wonder if It is added to by the countless articles about how to create success, get a better body, write a best seller etc., etc.

But we keep it in the silence.

We keep it hidden in our mind, that even with all the information out there, I have ‘failed’ to make any of those things happen.

I have read all the books, listen to the podcasts and yet, here I am. Bereft of any fraction of anything that outwardly speaks of ‘success.’

We compare ourselves with things that we don’t even know are real.

I have worked with many people who break in the safety of a room with someone who they feel neither judges nor misunderstands what they are feeling.

 Their very self-worth is pinned on achieving the things that our culture tells us make us worthy people.

And they are terrified people will discover their dirty little secret.
Discover that deep inside, they feel completely inadequate and a failure.

Yet, like troopers on horseback, we keep on going.
Because that is all we can do – keep on going.

Keep on building, keep on taking action and keep on being.

And keep in line with hope.

Hope that one day all our hard work will pay off and we too, will put up the posts celebrating that it is indeed possible.

Gratitude helps.

Shifting our focus from what is not working to what is right in our lives. And there is always something right.

Re-evaluating what is really important is another soothing thing to do although we must do it out of honesty and not trying to fool ourselves.

Being with those who are real and honest about their own fraught journeys.
Who have success as well as felt the big black hole that is failure.

Who don’t pretend that everything good was created overnight and that they have never stood in the corner, with their back against the wall wondering what the hell just happened?

Who understand and know that platitudes are useless and your feelings are genuine.

Yes, my sense of failure can be overwhelming some days; however, I journey on knowing that my raw truth will connect with someone, somewhere and maybe, just maybe, diminish these.

2 Responses

  1. Jenn Pescini
    | Reply

    You write beautifully Niki in away that touches the soul. Fear is a powerful mistress but belief and gratitude are stronger – follow a kinder master.

    • NikiG
      | Reply

      Thank you so much Jenn – that is high praise and very humbling. I write from the heart.

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