July 25


Today's quotation:

The unhappiness we experience is not so much a result of the difficulties encountered along our journey as it is of our misperception of how life instructs us.  We may see a failed relationship as an indictment of our self-worth when it is really a lesson in using better judgment, in valuing ourselves more, in expressing greater appreciation for our partner--lessons to prepare us for a more loving and fulfilling union.  If we are passed over for a much-anticipated promotion, it may be just the push we need to get more training or to venture out on our own as an entrepreneur.  As we rise to meet the challenges that are a natural part of living, we awaken to our many undiscovered gifts, to our inner power and our purpose.

Susan L. Taylor

Today's Meditation:

We read over and over how our perception of life and what happens to us in life is what truly affects our happiness, the way we treat others, and our feelings of worthiness.  Many people make themselves depressed through the way they choose to see events, and we often see others beat themselves up over some minor incident that to us seems trivial.  In fact, many of the plots that you'll see in television programs and movies and read in books have to do with one person's misreading of another person's intentions, and the characters all have to deal with this person's flawed perception.

Susan mentions "our misperception of how life instructs us."  If we keep in mind that there's always something important to learn in everything that happens to us, we can approach our setbacks with much more equanimity.  A failure isn't usually that big of a deal, especially if we see it as an important learning experience.  When we were learning addition and subtraction many years ago, we "failed" constantly, but when our teachers corrected us we didn't usually see our failures as statements on us as people.  Rather, we usually just moved on and tried to get the right answer.  What kind of emotional wrecks would we be today if we had let those small mistakes build up into something much more than they were?

Mistakes and failures are important, for they teach us much more than successes do.  Success just verifies that we've completed a process in the right way--in the process itself, we probably learned a lot from our errors.  But once we know the process and continue to do the same thing in the same way, we no longer learn anything, and the process becomes a rote exercise.

Today, I'd like to try to see the lessons behind all of my failures.  I'd like to try to understand why certain things have happened.  I can do this, too, if I allow myself to look at the setbacks in a different way, perhaps by trying to see what happens to me through the eyes of someone else, someone who can see my life more objectively than I can.  No matter how I see things, though, I have to remember that my perspective is skewed and biased, and the reality and the meaning of almost any situation is rarely the way I see it.

Actively searching out another way to see the events of life is really the only way that we can discover our undiscovered gifts and unseen purposes.  The effort definitely will be worth it--too many people of worth and character who have come before us assure us that it will be.

Questions to consider:

How do you see your "failures"?  Do you see them as a reflection of who you are, or as potential learning experiences?

Why is it so easy to get down on ourselves for mistakes that we make?  What effect does this tendency have on our ability to learn?

Is it possible to see ourselves from another person's perspective?  How closely do we tend to listen when someone else tells us what they see in us?

For further thought:

Failure is one of God's educators.  It is experience leading people to higher things; it is the revelation of a way, a path hitherto unknown to us.  The best people in the world look back with serene happiness on their failure.

William G. Jordan

more thoughts and ideas on failure



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