Shadow Work: Prompt 13

How do you perceive failure? What is your definition of failure? Ho does it make you feel? Are you afraid of it? Why might this be? How did your parents/guardians react to failure?

In the past, failure was fatal to me. It was the final nail in the coffin because I was “so bad” that I would never get the chance again. However, failure has changed since then. To me, now, failure is the opportunity to do it over and better and not make the same mistakes that you made the first time you attempted something. The first time I went out for emergency dispatcher, I studied the wrong things and failed the test miserably. Much to a lot of people’s chagrin, I tried again and FOCUSED on the test questions, not the typing and I went a lot further. I didn’t get the job but. hey, I was first in line not to.

I used to fear failure, as I was told what a failure I was from my parents from a time I don’t even remember. I didn’t want to be fifty and a waitress, as I was not made to be a career waitress. I am not a people person, but the money was easy and I grew bored. So, I went to look for better, more suitable jobs and it was a hard journey. I had to ask for help as I was told by my parents, “It’s a hard time to find a job. Be grateful you have the serves job and no one who gets out of college now is going to find a job, so love serving. You are helping people!” I was horribly misaligned with serving and saw the job as my personal failure and me as a person rather than the positives of it. Serving WAS my failure.

As a child, I was never given a second chance. Softball, I sucked at it, so to not be ashamed, my parents didn’t sign me up again or allow me to try for anything athletic again, except for basketball and that was not handled well. It was because my parents were told I sucked and they took it personally and as a reflecton on him. Cheerleading? Nope. My mom failed at it and she hid me from that pain. Hey, only seven percent of the girls made the squad. One hundred tried out and seven won. Nintey three girls got to feel the pain of not making it and learned that failure is okay. I didn’t know that. Softball, nope because all of the firefighters ribbed my dad about it and that was a source of shame for him. When I did fail at basketball, my mother said when I was crying and having to be pleasant and play cards with her friends, “See you can play cards and you are good at cards.” I didn’t want to be good at cards, and everything was up to their approval. Everything.

When I failed at the dispatcher application process, I didn’t handle it well. In fact, I freaked out on livejournal and had lots of people “really tell” me how they felt. Had my parents LET me fail earlier, I think I would have been “meh” I will try again, but I treated ME like I was treated as a child that failure was fatal, and it has taken me YEARS to learn that failure is not fatal, I don’t have to be perfect, and failure maybe signs to excelling at something else.

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Helen VanPatterson-Patton

I like to do journal prompts and you should, too. Picking various ones and doing them towards my own healing….