I know you have many wonderful stories of your amazing life. Stories of achieving your goals, securing your dream job, working hard and getting the perfect score, finding your soul mate, creating a successful business, writing a best seller book, making your parents proud and so on. These are terrific stories, and I am sure you will be excited to share them.
But today I want you to tell me your other stories. The one that is not so great.
The one, which fills you with fear and shame. The story of your greatest failure and terrible mistakes.
Tell me the story when you failed because you didn’t try hard enough. Also tell me about your heartache when you have tried your best, yet you have failed.
Tell me about the mistake you have made because you were young and didn’t know enough. Also share with me about the mistake you have made when should have known better.
It is easy to share your story of a failed business venture when you have already built an emperor, but it takes enormous courage to share the failure while you are struggling with it. And I want you to practice courage today. Your courage will give someone else the voice to tell his or her own story.
I know shame and fear of judgement will try to keep you away from showing up with these difficult stories and I fell into that trap as well.
For a long time my concept of failure and mistake existed only in the stories of great and successful people. Failure, even in it’s tiniest form was so humiliating and degrading in the culture I grew up with that I have never dared to try something that I was not very good at it. I associated my self worth with the grade of my exams.
When I moved to Australia, one of the biggest cultural shocks was, to see people trying new things and accepting failure as part of the process. I didn’t know how to embrace that attitude.
I continued to live my life with the fear of facing failure at some point in my life. That fear pushed me to become a perfectionist. An enormous amount of stress and anxiety were my companion in that journey for many years until it ended last year when I failed a small component of my medical specialist exam. I worked hard for that test and I was quite confident that it would be fine, yet I failed.
Facing my biggest nightmare brought the most surprising gift. I felt liberated from the pressure of being perfect. I could finally give myself the permission to try new things, to create art and to accept my imperfect self. I started to change the way I define my success.
My fear about failure was rooted in the long held believe that failure will take away my sense of belonging. It will make me unworthy of love and respect. Now I know that the deepest connections are created when you trust somebody and your honest raw stories are the essential part to create that trust. The tale of your struggle can empower as many people as your story of triumph could.
So my friend, today BE BRAVE and share your story with the world. I also want you to be gentle and kind to yourself as this process of owing your failure is a difficult journey. If you feel little scared that’s ok too (I guarantee you are not alone).
On another rough day, when failure will strike me hard and discouragement and hopelessness will try to suffocate me, I will come back to your story and YES YOUR STORY MATTERS.
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With Love and Gratitude,