When you feel like a failure —Read this
Ever have one of those weeks where you feel like a total screw up? I had a week like that recently. All the effort I put out seemed like a waste, like a car stuck in the mud. I felt like a failure. How come it felt like I was just spinning my wheels—no matter how hard I pushed on the gas? It had been a super busy week, but somehow it seemed I just wasn’t PRODUCTIVE ENOUGH.
I felt like I had nothing to show for all my hard work. But at the end of the week we went on a camping trip, and late Saturday night my husband built a campfire and listened to me pour out my frustration. The owls came out, and a few javelinas hustled by in the dark. I stared at the fire, pondering aloud “What am I doing wrong?”
There’s something about camping in a tent that makes you realize life is simpler than we make it. As the fire died down, I realized my underlying problem.
I was measuring myself by the wrong standards.
In our busy world, we look around at what other people praise—beauty, nice possessions, a big paycheck, a long resume—and we push ourselves to be “successful” based on those things. We find our value and worth in how much we can accomplish in the eyes of other people. And we feel like a failure when we can’t keep up with everyone else’s expectations.
As a stay at home mom, I often feel the need to work extra hard to prove my worth since I’m NOT going to a job outside of the home. In a way the home is my job. But my biggest hang-up is when I slip into thinking that the tidiness of my home is a measure of my worth.
Do you ever catch yourself thinking that you need to flash your titles, or your name-brand clothes, or your knowledge on a topic, in order to validate who you are? We often enslave ourselves by our own standards of perfection. We feel driven to maintain these IMAGES in order to have credibility in the eyes of our peers. And that’s when we succumb to unrealistic goals and expectations for ourselves.
Appearance is not everything
My biggest *unrealistic* goal is wanting my house to be spotless. I subconsciously think that if my husband came home to a perfectly clean house, THAT would really impress him. It would probably impress other people too. And it would make me feel like I actually have everything under control! (Ha!)
But guess what? That is not the reason I am a stay at home mom. Sure it would be nice to have clean floors all the time. But what is MORE important? Feeding my child or polishing the tile? Reading her books or meticulously organizing every corner of the house? While the housework is my responsibility, it is not more important than my daughter’s wellbeing.
And believe me, if you try to accomplish everything just to please people, your life will suck—no matter what career you choose.
Stop pleasing people
So obviously, sweeping the floor, cooking dinner and taking out the trash are all very important. But – NEWS FLASH – these are not just monotonous chores! These are all opportunities to put my love for my family into tangible actions. Instead of focusing on what other people will think about me for what I do or don’t accomplish, why not view these tasks as ways of serving my family?
My (sometimes) clean house is an unspoken “I love you.” My husband likes to walk around barefoot at home, and when I keep the floor mopped it sends him a subtle message that I care about his comfort.
The difference is my motive. I’m not cleaning in order to hear, “wow the house is so clean!” I’m doing my “job” to show my family—“I value you. I value our family. And I value the things we have worked hard for.”
Keep your motive clear
And what about you? Maybe you relate to this even if you’re out in the workplace trying to balance multiple roles with various responsibilities. Sure, maybe you chose a profession where you can help sooooo many people. You started off with the initial motive of serving others. But then the competition set in, and the demands of your boss. Now you find yourself doing your work to make a name for yourself, to show you are competent, to PROVE yourself. When did it become about the way other people view you instead of the way you can give to others?
It is so easy to lose our original, pure motive, and get caught up in our pride. When we recognize the opportunity to succeed, it is easy to get blinded by the spotlight! But flashy attention never fully satisfies. Instead, it keeps us chasing after more. Like a drug.
We need something to center us and remind us that we are more than the image other people see. That’s where speaking affirmations to ourselves comes in. Sometimes I gotta stand in front of the bathroom mirror and talk some sense into my head. I have to remind myself who I am.
How to REALLY be happy with yourself
True happiness is being able to say, “You can think whatever you want, but I KNOW I’m living up to my full potential.”
If we are constantly guessing what other people expect us to be, and trying to make them happy, we will never be happy ourselves. You can’t live for someone else’s happiness. The only way to find true happiness is to ask God what HE thinks about you.
And guess what? You might be surprised to learn that God doesn’t demand as much from you as other people do! Or even as much as YOU expect from yourself. To Him, it’s not about appearance. It’s not about how much you accomplish, but your frame of mind in the process. He is after your heart, not your title. And a humble, grateful heart is far more attractive to Him than a busy, arrogant powerhouse. So take a deep breath and realize: You are NOT a failure.
The problem is not you. It is the set of standards that you have become enslaved by.
Break free from what other people think of you! Click on the image below to get a free, printable affirmation that you can hang on your mirror to remind yourself EVERYDAY of your true value!!!