Putting Success and Failure into Perspective


By Mandy P. | Bellesprit

I’ve been a huge success and I’ve been an outstanding failure within the eyes of the world. I went from being a child and teenager who ‘won’ and ‘succeeded’ in everything I tried to being called “cripple” and “loser”, unable to understand how to manifest my way back to being what I saw as a “normal” version of myself. One thing it taught me though is that when I focused too much on success and failure I created more ‘failure’ within my mindset… failure to adopt a correct perception of my Self… failure to simply enjoy life and the present moment… failure in a way that there was always more and more for me to be considered “not good enough” and a failure at. The bar separating success and failure is all perception and not truly real in the end. And, the bar towards its attainment can keep rising towards rigorous, self-abusive, self-demeaning or exhausting standards if you let it.

Most notably, I can see that even during times I manifested the most success in my life and enjoyed the most materially, these were not times I could say I considered myself to be most “happy”. In fact, such times I suffered from severe depression and even eating disorders that were the result of attempting to be thin enough as a competitive gymnast and diver (not to mention being affected by the images in the latest fashion magazines).

Even my parents would seem to mirror my same human dilemma; both highly intelligent, both highly accomplished, both materially well off, yet both sad and lost in ways. My father would eventually pass away from alcoholic hepatitis and kidney failure. My mother was so crippled by her own intolerance to imperfections and high expectations of others that she over-criticized and pushed away the very people who could love her and be there for her to the greatest degree. So, I am under no illusion that ‘success’ must bring happiness any more than failure must bring with it feelings of defeat. And, I know now that even my failures were still not really failures. They were learning experiences with a story and a moral to tell. The learning I would gain would surpass everything that was within what was my limited understanding and perception back then. For life IS all perception after all. What is a failure to one person might be a success to another, and what is a success to one person could be considered a failure to someone who may have and pursue a different lifestyle or different values. What is important is aiming to be a success with loving yourself for who and where you are in the now.

Looking back my obsession with ‘success’ and ‘failure’ had made me view the world as rungs of ladders; that not being on one of the higher rungs defined my worth as being “less than” rather than “enough”. I had created a heightened emphasis upon a duality where it did not really exist…

After burning out and losing everything, then my only wish was to be on any rung at all. Even this would seem sometimes an impossible task. I would end up cast aside, punished, and reminded repeatedly of my unworthiness in a multitude of ways. However, I know that I only attracted this because it was how I truly felt about myself.

If I had adapted a loving and caring perspective of my condition during the time that I burned out, I’m sure I would have attracted more positive reactions from those around me. There was nothing wrong with burning out, after all. Viewed in a factual rather than a judgmental way, all that happened to me was that I had merely gotten tired and was in need of recharging. But, instead of this, I judged myself that I had ‘failed’ so badly. I had defined myself in a way that it may as well have been written on my forehead: “Failure at life” and “this is the label I want you to know me by”. Add to this a tattoo that stated; “rest is not tolerated”, and that is all anyone needed to know about me according of my rigid view of myself. For within my smaller and judgmental perception back then, a person (including myself) should always be seeking something, tending something, doing something, pleasing someone etc etc. By 2000, I would get so sick that I’m lucky that one thing I did ‘succeed’ at was staying alive. Outside my body and looking down, it was amazing how much I really did want to be in life and use it to find a way “home” to loving my self somehow…

I now know that the greatest thing one can have is ones health and a sense of peace within Oneself. If one cannot have this then the second most important thing is people to love you and an ability to smile at life, even if just once in a while. I have also learned a valuable lesson for myself that if life is played like a race, one may find that they just end up exhausted in the end. Running, running, and more running; always trying to stay ahead of the game or at least to keep up in some way.

Read the rest of the article here: Bellesprit