Cheery title for our blog today, isn’t it?
I kid, but if you’ve been with us for long, you’ll know that I have a deep fascination with paradoxes. In my experience, the best ways to live often seem deliberately contrary to what you might expect, and today’s topic is definitely an example of that. Everyone fails from time to time, but the feeling of being a failure is one of the lowest emotional states a person can experience—and yet I’ve found it is one of the most consistently and profoundly useful in the process of changing the way you live your life for the better.
I’m not going to hold things up with my personal story; I’ve told it often enough recently. You have to look at human nature as a tool, and look for ways to put it to work for you. Trying to fight it with willpower is the sort of thing advised by the worst parts of the self-help industry.
In particular, human nature is lazy. What I mean is that we tend to fall into patterns of doing just enough to get by, or to feel pretty good about ourselves. Sure, we might do more on occasion, but for most of us, living in love in the present moment is not our default. So when I say that feeling like a failure can actually be a precious gift, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that because you are one… I don’t believe that at all. But if a pretty good life isn’t good enough for you, if you want the best possible life, most of us need a push to get there. I certainly did.
There’s a concept in biology called eustress, which literally translates as “good stress.” Essentially, it posits that the human body needs a certain degree of stress to maintain health and prevent stagnation. Exercise would be the most obvious example of this, but I believe that something like this applies to our mental and spiritual growth as well. As much as it might hurt, the realization that we don’t measure up to the person we want to be is a fairly universal human experience—which means that the real test is what we do next.
Just as physical pain prompts us to take corrective action, this kind of painful personal revelation can sometimes be just the prompt we need to spur us on to a greater life than we could previously have dreamed. That’s assuming, of course, that it is a revelation, and not just self-flagellation or a burst of ennui. In those cases, your need may instead be to do some internal “housekeeping.” For that, I know of nothing better than Trilogy and the Healing Codes.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
Dr. Alex Loyd