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What to do if you’ve failed at the goals you set?
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Failure is relative. I mean that. Not so long ago I looked at failure as the end of the world. I would completely fold and go into depression for weeks. It was eating me alive inside that I couldn’t manage to make goals, which kept me from other goals. Achieving seemed so easy for every one around me.
Then, I woke up one day tired of feeling that way and made a decision to refuse to feel that way anymore.
Depression is a tricky monkey. It tries to convince you that you’re worthless, when that is the furthest thing from the truth. If it can’t do that, it makes it seem as if everyone hates you–that you make everyone around you just miserable. Mine tells me that others don’t really like me and the things that I do won’t matter, because they will ignore me and my work in favor of those they do like. It’s a mix of anxiety and paranoia, I guess.
Those feelings started very young when teachers and peers slapped me down from achieving. In the case of teachers, they would hold me back to disadvantage me in favor of other students, going so far as to say I had self-control issues. My peers would pick away at my self-esteem. I was always told I was unworthy in words that also attacked my appearance.
All of that bullying stifled my dreams. I’m glad to say that form time to time, they would rear up regardless and I am here today living them. Still, the voices were in the back of my mind telling me that the world wasn’t about to allow me to achieve goals I had set, because it preferred others. No matter how hard I fought, the walls flew up and the doors slammed closed and it so much feels exactly like the unfairness I faced in childhood.
But, how did deciding that I didn’t want to feel badly anymore regardless of how things were going make a difference?
Perspective is everything. First of all, it isn’t that I stopped feeling that I constantly run into narcissists and sociopaths who get off on causing others pain. I still see those people for who they are. What difference it made was knowing that I was in control of how I regarded them. My reaction to their meddling has become nil. I pity those who cannot feel empathy for their fellow man, very much so.
Secondly, recognizing these people, learning the signs, has armored me. I spent time on social media laying down my law. Some regard me as hard hearted, or, dare I say, a bitch. The truth is, these people that I give no quarter anymore were getting in the way of my goals, by conflicting with me at every turn. They literally distracted me so much I had no time for anything else but going in constant whirls of dramatic ups and downs with them. And who were they to have my time and effort? Most were perfect strangers! Those are the easiest to shuck off–block them and move on. It’s the people you know well who are part of your life that are more difficult to protect yourself from: family, friends, coworkers, bosses and acquaintances.
You have no idea how far that goes to healing depression. Because, seriously, maybe it’s caused by being surrounded by jerks!
A few years ago, I entered into a surreal part of my life, which continues now. I simultaneously experience this odd flux of being denied and simultaneously achieving. It is a very weird thing. The thing is, there are still going to be people around you who have the keys to the doors you want to get through, and they don’t like you at all, so they feel it’s their duty to punish you by denying you a way through. But, seeing them for who or what they are weakens their ability to continue, because you can see the pitfalls they’re going to set before they ever do.
Not only have I chosen not to feel like crap anymore. I have chosen to surround myself with those who are positive and warm. My army of empathetic friends make me feel like a superhero every damn day. They figure out how to get around obstacles in their life and they share with the rest of us, giving us the keys to the doors we face. They don’t open the doors for us, they allow us to grow out own pace and to open our doors when we are able.
When things don’t go as I planned now, I don’t call it failure anymore. There are no raging storm clouds. I don’t go for weeks feeling like everyone hates me and forces seek to destroy me for their own pleasures.
Instead, I see opportunity and learning. Certainly, I still repeat things from time to time and end up making the same mistakes, but that is because there is more to learn from that situation.
For instance, I recently found out that my publisher will be closing their doors. Instead of crying in my pillow, I set to work forging ahead. I have a lot of graphics and a big website to keep up, which required that I update everything. I chose a course of action within minutes from being informed of my choices prior to this. The knowledge I gained from being published with them is priceless and I am actually energized going forward.
I hope that my confessions here might help another who struggles with more downs than ups. Our perception is everything and we can chose to change what it is. It’s not easy to make such a choice, but it is worth every 3 steps back and every two steps forward.
Thank you for reading and be sure to check out what the other Open Book Blog Hop authors have to say about What to do if you’ve failed at the goals you set.