Dear reader, welcome to chapter two of the “Balancing my way through 2020” journey. I am sorry to inform you that this article will not provide any quick fixes to the hindrances you face, but it does attempt to give you reasons as to why failure shouldn’t be feared. By acknowledging it as being part of life, one will be less likely to fear failure. By always forcing success, you might be failing at reaching a healthy balance between mind, body and soul.

I decided that 2020 is the year of bettering myself, but despite my dedication toward this mission, I soon realised that I am flawed. Like many of you, I started my year with an impressive list of (supposedly) life-changing alterations to my daily routine. The first was to stop drinking alcohol for 90 days – yes, you read correctly – NINETY.  This decision was based on two factors, the first being the fact that I had indulged in way too many beers during the sunny December we had in South Africa which meant that a detox was necessary. Secondly, it was my attempt to support a friend who had also decided to try to put an end to a destructive pattern which hindered their own healing process. 

Then came failure

After 4 weeks of declining all alcoholic refreshments, I was invited to enjoy lunch at Back’s Restaurant & Deli in the picturesque Church Street of Stellenbosch. If you are familiar with this street, you might agree that if you find yourself in the shade of the ancient oak trees, surrounded by friends and the fresh air clinging to your skin, that you enter a realm of happiness infused with the feeling of being a tourist in your own country. 

Between the “Happy new year!” and the, “Oh my word, when last did I see you?”, I was handed a glass of ice-cold Fairview Viognier, and before I knew it, I took a sip. Much in the same effortless way with which the ice cubes floated in the glass, my tastebuds started dancing with the flavours of the wine. The catch-up chatter of old friends together with a glass of wine and a cheese platter transformed a very dull afternoon into a glittering memory.  

Contrasting themes were at play as I strolled back to the office after our brief lunch. Externally, the summer‘s day decorated the streets of Stellenbosch to resemble peaceful scenes one can find in vintage Polaroid photos. But internally I was taking part in what was one of the biggest self-inflicted word-wars to date. A war which was set off by my extreme fear of failure.

Being my own worst enemy, the words I said to myself shared the underlying theme: I AM A FAILURE. But worst of all – I failed my friend. Failing is something I don’t do, and I would never want to fail my friend either. When I put my mind to something, I have – and will always- make it work no matter what. Even if it means being of a disservice to myself.

I used to take pride in my ability to ‘stick to my guns’ and enforce willpower, but what had happened now? What did 2020 bring along?

Law of Attraction

This universal law is based on the idea that you attract the very essence of whatever it is that you focus on. To some extent, these thoughts manifest and reflect externally in your life. I have never seen this law so evident in my own life. Since January I have been telling my friends, and those of you who read my previous article, that I am “balancing my way through 2020”. Therefore, balance is something which I invited into my life. Balance that will be difficult to achieve if I strive to live in extremes. 

My mission of not drinking alcohol is something extreme to do, especially since I am an extroverted Sagittarius who loves live music events and indulging in the goodness of social gatherings paired with nutritious food. By setting this goal I was naive enough to think that it will help me live a balanced life – and boy, was I wrong!

Destructive pattern spotted

I have invited balance into my life as I started writing, talking and thinking about it. So the universe dealt me a card which I couldn’t object to as I was the one who set the stage for it. Despite the fact that this card made me feel like I have failed, it also allowed me to spot yet another destructive pattern in my life. The destructive cycle of chasing extremes in order to feel like I have accomplished something worthwhile. This together with my constant fear of failure is a pattern which hinders my balance. 

I have to make a conscious decision to no longer strive to prove my value or ambition by listing extreme challenges I have successfully completed. I have to shift my focus and energy to “keeping it in the middle”. I am trying to make moderation my mantra and to find the balance between my ambition and my soul’s abilities and needs. Only then will my mind, body and soul be aligned.

Why I no longer fear failure
PC: Mike Wright

BFF- Becoming Friends with Failure

I am only at the start of my journey, but I feel as if I am getting to know myself a bit better every day. With each destructive pattern I spot, and my attempt to end the cycle, I feel rejuvenated. I have new energy which will help me to become friends with my failures and flaws- so that I will no longer force reaching extreme goals nor fear failure, but rather flow towards balance. 

Till next time – less forcing, more flowing. 

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