When this picture was taken (featured above), I wouldn't let myself publish it on the blog for fear of rejection and shame. I analyzed every nuance of my figure, finding faults that deemed it worth of the trash. Because failure isn't an option, and I had failed to look model-thin in this photo, I threw it out. Today, I look at this photo of myself and see a beautiful young woman. How could I have ever been so terribly mean to myself? Fear of failure is intensely powerful.
I've been thinking a lot about failure and rejection today. This morning, I got an email from a graduate school I applied to informing me that I wasn't accepted. I honestly didn't even want to attend that school or live in the city it resides in. I only applied because it was a big name, one that everyone would ooh and ahh over if I got in. I sat there, staring at the screen for awhile, trying to gauge my reaction. I wasn't disappointed, and yet I felt like I had let someone down. I may not have been disappointed, but I felt like a disappointment.
Then, this afternoon, I set up for a writing session. I planned to write an article to pitch for freelance to a popular blog, and had my topic and outline all set up. But then, I froze. I couldn't get my fingers to move towards the keys. I didn't want to fail and be rejected again. I kept hearing a voice in my head say over and over, "You're going to fail so don't even try. You're going to fail so don't even try."
A mentor of mine wisely pointed out to me recently that if I had a friend in my life that spoke to me that way, they probably wouldn't be my friend for very long. It's just mean. And yet, I am mean and harsh to myself all the time. I don't want to fail. I don't want to be a disappointment. I don't want to be rejected.
While these are natural and normal feelings that a lot of us share, there has to be a way to combat them. I am a big believer in self-love and positive self-talk. Today, voicing the thoughts out loud helped me realize how stupid and asinine they are. It's like fact checking. It gives me some evidence that I can silence the disrespectful voices, and fight back. The voices will start to lose their power when I begin to put myself out there, again and again, to try. Try to pursue my passions, my dream job, my very bright future. I may try and fail a lot more, but I will also try and succeed.
Failure and rejection are options. They have the power to teach us as long as we don't let them have power over us. Compassion is more powerful than fear of failure. And so is love and grace.
Shirt (Banana Republic, old; similar)
Skirt (Banana Republic, old; similar)
Heels (Liz Claiborn; similar (and on sale!)
Glasses (Anne Klein New York; similar)
Nail polish (Essie)
Labels: a life with purpose