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What is Behind a Feeling of Failure

It's more than missing metrics. It's the meaning we give it.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

I got a fucking cold sore. A big blistery swollen mess that made my face feel as lopsided as it was hideous. I was pissed, but I was also surprised. Yes, I had spent the day before at the beach soaking up the sun, but I live in California—if sun was the only trigger I'd have them all the time. But thankfully they are rare. Something had to be bothering me, though it seemed everything was going fine. What was I ignoring that decided to send me a message right smack on my face?

The next morning I woke up at 3:30am with a heavy feeling in my chest. Instead of tossing and turning or popping a melatonin, I decided just to sit with it and get to the bottom of what was amiss. I felt into that feeling and asked myself gently, "where is this coming from?" The answer came right away.

It was a big stinking feeling of failure as nasty as the bubbling sore on my lip. A recent look at my bank account showed that the allowance I had given myself to live while I figured out my next steps post-corporate career and got my new business off the ground would soon be gone. It wasn't a crisis, but it didn't look like I would meet my goal of fully supporting myself by the time it ran out.

What was going on?

I told myself all the things that a self-aware, enlightened person tells herself when she's feeling bad. But a pep talk wasn't what I needed. There was some real stuff in there wanting to dealt with that couldn't be glossed over with some light, love, and cheerleading on my infinite abundance.

Questions like, what is failure actually? What did it represent to me? If I didn't have what I wanted, what needed to shift? Was I even sure what I truly wanted?

On came the light and out came the journal. I told myself the truth, admitting that I probably wouldn't meet my expectations by the deadline I had given myself and that I was feeling disappointed and discouraged. I had gotten back from the universe a different form and outcome than what I had envisioned and hoped for, which I was judging as worse and potentially problematic. But calming that smidge of fear was a rational understanding of the energetics behind that feeling. What I was calling failure was just a frequency (vibration) I hadn't reached yet or been able to sustain. The physics weren't aligning, which had to mean my beliefs (or true desires) weren't aligning. That feeling was an invitation to come into deeper clarity and self-awareness.

For better or worse (really it's for the better), we usually get some help in this situation. To reveal what limiting or conflicting beliefs and wounds we are struggling with, we might have dreams that act something out for us; feelings that refuse to leave; insights, inspirations, or synchronicities that open new lines of thought; and/or other situations that give us clues as to the patterns at play, whether they seem related to our "problem" or not. Whatever is coming up will keep coming up in one form or another, usually getting starker and punchier, until it is resolved. Them's the rules.

Failing to be recognized

In a showing of divine support (or perhaps just a reflection of my deep desire to release that icky feeling), everything seemed to be guiding me toward revelation. I'll spare you the play-by-play on all that went down and bring you to the climax. One afternoon I traded sessions with a healer friend who practices the Emotion Code. It was my first time with her and the code, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but holy shit. She nailed it.

Effort Unreceived. When one's work, achievement, attempts, or endeavors are not accepted or recognized; when one's best effort is not considered good enough; a feeling of being unappreciated. Not feeling approved of or validated.

Damn. My feelings of failure weren't really about missing my metrics, which were admittedly a bit aggressive, or a grave fear about money.

It was an ultra-familiar pain of feeling unnoticed and unrecognized, like no one cared about what I had to give or what I had been through to arrive at the point where I could give it.

Part of where I had gone awry was attaching meaning to what money in my business would represent.

At this stage in my spiritual evolution, I know that money is just a manifestation of energy, which is in infinite supply. I know that it is my frequency that draws money to me and that abundance flows to me in myriad forms and channels, as has been the case over and over. So why was it so important to me that my abundance come from my business? How could all my good work and time spent being happy and enjoying what I was doing be a failure? If I really believed that I don't need the money to come from my work in order to have everything that I want, then that money was giving me something else.

Seeing me

Sure enough, I had made the money about more than just being fairly compensated for my personal consulting services. I had made it about being seen. The money was my proof that people recognized and valued my contribution. Not only would that endorsement make me feel better about myself, but it would show those who have doubted me (cough*family*cough) that who I am and what I do is worthy of regard, which had also been coming up lately in other ways. I had let lack come into the equation based on old wounds. I was still seeking external validation, which will always muddy the waters of what I'm trying to create.

Then it hit me. I am the one crying out to recognize me. I am the one who needs to see me as I really am now. It wasn't just that I needed not to care about others' opinions or support of me, but I needed to fully appreciate how far I've come.

Instead of ridiculing myself for life being harder than I thought it should have been, for needing to repeat lessons that I thought I should have mastered by now, for still being human, I needed to honor and celebrate the incredible ways I have already transformed.

I needed to go deeper into self-love.

Instead of waiting until I die for my life review, I decided to do a pre-post mortem. I started by looking back at all of the pain, challenges, and struggles I have overcome in my life. But then another voice chimed in. It said:

Life is not about what you overcome but what you become.

There is no need to dwell on or define myself by what's been hard or felt unfair. Life is about coming into my own light and my own power and taking full advantage of the human experience for the benefit of my soul's growth. My greatest accomplishments are not in what's been overcome but what I've stretched myself into—greater self-awareness, heightened perception, grander perspective, and more happiness, freedom, and love. I have, am, and will do what I came here to do, which is to explore and learn from the human experience—and be happy doing it.

The flawed logic of failure

Like so many of our words and sayings, failure is a human concept based on flawed thinking and limited perception. It's just an indication that something in our life needs to be addressed so that we can create more of what we want and less of what we don't.

We all came here to play the game of forgetting who and what we really are so that we could wake up to our power in whatever ways best serve us.

All the stuff we label as bad, frustrating, and disappointing, along with all the fun and good stuff, are just experiences. They all have something to offer us or we wouldn't be having them. As such, they all have value.

And speaking of value, recognition is a given. While we may not do a great job at recognizing ourselves or each other for how amazing we are, no one in this world is truly unnoticed or unrecognized. Everyone's frequency is unique, visible, and felt within the human collective and beyond. Here on earth, our contributions may not be recognized in a way that is recognizable with our five senses, but we can trust that our energy is being felt. If we could see ourselves as we really are, as those beyond the veil can see us, we would never rip on ourselves again.

Where I had failed myself was in not recognizing and celebrating me and my journey, not to mention all the ways I already am helping my clients, friends, and those who turn to me for support.

I had been looking to others to reflect a sense of worth back to me that I hadn't fully embraced for myself and then burdened my business with that sense of lack.

It's no wonder I got a giant cold sore. That sense of self-pity, self-doubt, and confusion was festering inside me needing to be healed. It was part of what I needed to shift to meet my goals. Another part was being honest with myself about the kind of work I really want to do and lifestyle I want to live.

But just so I'm clear to the universe...Next time I need a little reminder to come back to self-love, I'm hoping for a stubbed toe. Maybe dropping a grocery bag on the way to the car. Just please not the face!


If you are looking to go deeper into self-awareness and self-love, I invite you to schedule a free, no obligation 30-minute call to see how I may be able to support you.

We'll also be talking about concepts like failure, success, risk, and opportunity in the Group Practice Circle. Join us as we learn and grow together! Click here to find out more.

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