This is a two-part series in which I tackle my journey in overcoming disappointments and discontentment, and learning how to be kind and patient with myself. I was inspired by an online friend who said those wise words during a trying time, and I was just beating myself up mentally, and I finally felt compelled to share my thoughts on that bit of wisdom thanks to a comment by startswithmyra — this is my reply to her.
Today, we talk about how you are a work in progress, and how you are allowed to fail.
Be patient with yourself.
At the time I read it, it felt almost like a no-brainer, and I was lead to think as to how many times have I actually been patient with myself? Being told to be patient with others is a given, and it has been battered into us by our parents and elders (most specially into us eldest siblings!) that it has become rote in our minds. Outward-going kindness and patience is the norm; and so the concept of being patient with yourself, being kind with yourself is foreign.
I have learned, however, that this should not be the case, and that the first person whom we should be kind to is ourselves. Let me put on my “mommy hat”, while you sit down and take a cuppa. The below points are peppered with personal anecdotes, just so you know that I have been there, and that the following five points are what I am sharing with you.
You are a work in progress
Being the eldest sibling, I have endured parental pressure to be the perfect role-model for my brothers. Being the first granddaughter of my paternal grandmother, I have also had to live up to her expectations that I am to be her perfect little princess. For the longest time, I felt that only my achievements and “being good” won the affections of my parents and family, and that I will only be loved because of perfect grades or winning contests. Anything remotely less than is unacceptable, and warranted scolding and less play time. To me back then, the equation went: imperfection = failure = no love.
I am happy to say that I am now healing, and stripping off the negative beliefs that have held me captive for years. I am learning that I am a work in progress. My value is not placed on what I do, what medal I win, how much I earn, or how much I can pay for a hipster salad. As a Christian, I hold on to the truth that a King deemed me valuable enough for Him to die for me, and that God loves me so much that He wove me in my mother’s womb and among the innumerable wonders of creation, He calls me by name. The Lord God Himself is at work in my life, and He is not finished.
If that is not your cup of tea, then: You are you. You were not born into this world as the image of perfection you wish to attain, but you are undergoing a process that will lead you there. We were taught that goals must be time-bound, and I agree, especially if it applies to projects that are measurable.
But you are not just a project, you are not something that someone else can just pick up and discard or judge to be a success or a failure. You are a person who is constantly growing and evolving, and that is a beautiful thing! Each stage of growth is an adventure, built upon successes of different shapes and sizes. At each stage, you learn, and most of the time, you stick to what is pleasing to you, to what is important to you.
So as the current adage goes, “you do you” because you #slay. #slayage comes with a price though, and so…
You are allowed to fail
The only person I know who has not encountered failure – and is not allowed to fail ever – is Jesus Christ. Even so, what was an enormous failure in the eyes of many (like being executed for crimes you did not commit in the slowest, and the most excruciating and humiliating way possible) is in reality, a victory (like resurrecting from the dead and thus defeating the hold of sin – which brings death! – on mankind.)
But we are not Jesus (obviously) – and so we can, we will, and we are allowed to fail.
I understand that “failure” can cover a spectrum of significance; and if right now, you find yourself in a place of failure, believe me when I say that you will be okay. It might not make sense now, you might not even want believe it, but this too will pass. Failure is not permanent. You fall down seven times, you get up eight. You and your goal are big suns being hidden by the coin-sized failure staring you in the eye.
In allowing myself to fail, not only I learned not to be hard on myself, but I learned how to be compassionate towards others, too. In allowing myself to fail, I have learned to go out with a heart for learning and teaching.
So do not beat yourself up for your failures. Get up, show up, and you will be – you are – more than okay.
If you are going through a difficult time right now, I hope that this will help you a little in terms of perspective. Know that your struggles are valid, and please do not hesitate to contact a friend or a professional for help.
Next up, we will be talking about how you can ask for help, how you are allowed to be weak, and to rest.
See you next week!