It is funny how sometimes it is a comment from a total stranger that opens up a wound we thought had been healed and provides us an opportunity to take our healing to the next level. I am so grateful for those opportunities which inspire me to continue to grow and evolve.
For the most part I am a fairly positive person and remember to affirm myself on a daily basis. However, sometimes I fall off my Four Agreements wagon and take something personally. Then I have to do the work of remembering to not take something personally because it is not about me.
One of the struggles that I work on is remembering that I am not a failure, even if by other people’s standards I am. I am grateful for the days I remember to affirm myself as I know I cannot depend on anyone other than myself to believe in me.
The reality, however, is that I have not always believed in myself. I used to judge and evaluate myself based on other people’s standards and belief systems. I used to take what others said personally. So when people told me I was not successful because of how little money I make, I saw myself as a failure. When people told me I was an over educated failure because I was not offered a full time teaching position when I finished my doctoral studies, I saw myself as a failure. There were so many things that others said which I allowed to wound me.
Over time, however, I taught myself to focus on my successes and my accomplishments. I found that in doing so I built a confidence in myself and gave me the courage to embrace the newest challenges and opportunities. I came to realize that being successful is not about how great other people think I am. My greatness and my success in life comes from me being able to use my gifts to make a difference in the world each and every day.
Maybe that is why I have always loved a song I learned while in the Mormon church. It asks me, “Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad or made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed.” This is the prayer that lives in my heart that I do something each day to do good in the world. When I know that I have, when I have made someone feel glad, or helped someone, or cheered someone up, or used the gifts given to me by the Divine, then I know that I have been a success.
Some days I have moments where I forget my definition of success and fall into the world’s definition of success and then I have moments when I feel like a failure. Then I pick myself up, dust myself off, listen to my grounding songs, and give thanks for all the opportunities I have been given to be a success each day of my life.