When Failure and Success Become Irrelevant
“What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?” - Elizabeth Gilbert. When it comes to creativity and how to relate or access it, Gilbert is one of the two people who come to mind. Her book, Big Magic, is a book I highly recommend if you identify as a creative and want to read into a fellow creative’s views on their process. However, I think this question can apply to anyone if we make a little space for it.
When was the last time you made space for yourself to ask a question of this caliber? I think there is merit in wondering this in your own life. This could apply to your profession(s), passion(s), interest(s), relationship(s), things you’re curious about, and anything/anyone in between. As a fellow human who acknowledges they have a relationship with anxiety, this question seems to have the ability to de-escalate the parts of me that induce shame, fear, and guilt. That’s because when I’m able to make connections, for example, that a valuable relationship doesn’t have to run on being a success or failure, the connection to that person isn’t based upon a rubric, but rather upon presence and intimacy. This view isn’t easy to come by, but as I sit with this outlook I wonder how I got there.
Oddly enough I ask this question to help me find an answer to the original question: “When was the last time you paused and asked yourself what you enjoy?” This could be as simple as ice cream flavors or as complex as how you want to spend your waking hours if you could do a reset on your current routine. This can also apply to reflecting on what’s going well in a relationship versus what has been difficult. The conclusions you make might surprise you. Thus, take time this week to notice what you care about and why you care about such. Make time to confirm and solidify said conclusions. These conclusions can act as a guidepost to keep you on track to express, confirm and uphold your values.
Lou Lim, LMHC, REAT is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.
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