Before I try anything, I always have this little ping of “but what if I can’t? What if I fail?” that surges through my system.
Sometimes it stops me in my tracks and turns me in the opposite direction. Sometimes I can quiet it and push through (and then rejoice when I prove it wrong).
It’s more of an issue if I stop than if I try and fail. Because, well, then I don’t know what the outcome is!
It’s taken me a really long time to accept this. Failures are nothing more than lessons. I repeat: LESSONS. As somewhat of a self-proclaimed “perfectionist,” I don’t like to be wrong. Or lose. Or FAIL. Failure is a terrible word to me. But not long ago a great friend spoke about the “F word” and it’s changed my perspective.
I waited until I was a completely desperate 16 year old before I tried to lose weight. Because what if I failed? What if I couldn’t lose the weight?
Well, I did. I lost the weight.
I waited until I was a completely desperate binge eating 20-something before I was willing to try a different approach. Because what if I failed? What if I couldn’t stop the binges?
Well, I did. The binging has nearly subsided.
Now it doesn’t scare me as much to try new things. Because I know I CAN. I know it might take me 298346182 times longer than the average person to reach the finish line. But I CAN.
I CAN learn to love a new way of working out (weights).
I CAN eat a balanced diet, including ALL of the food groups.
I CAN quit binging on crap in secret.
I CAN learn to love my body, even if it’s not what I was imagining it would be 2 years post-baby.
I CAN congratulate those who are smashing their health goals and walk away no longer filled with self-hate because I’m not there.
This mentality has helped me live a fuller life. I’ve jumped off a cliff. I’ve birthed a child. I’ve parasailed (and I’m terrified of heights). I’ve cooked a couple of decent meals. I’ve completed a 10k walk. I’ve successfully taken on jobs that had nothing to do with my knowledge and experience. I’ve walked across the stage at a beauty pageant in a swimming suit.
Flipping the script to call it a LESSON instead takes the negativity out of it for me. Lessons are universal. Just the other day, my daughter learned that if you push a button on the fridge water will squirt everywhere. See? Harmless. Maybe a little messy in the moment, but harmless.
When I would view the outcome as a “failure” I would feel as though I needed to follow it up with some sort of punishment- extra exercise, starvation, binging, incredibly hurtful self-talk. Or maybe just sit on the sidelines of life in the first place to avoid the punishment and let everyone else go ahead.
Can you try it too? Can you look at possible challenges and approach them with a mindset of “lessons” no matter what? Stepping stones. Opportunities to try again.
It carries so much less weight that way, right?
So… Ready… Set… GO!