Feel better about getting it wrong

diamond in coalWhen we look back on our life, on our month or week or even just the day, do we see any things we might have got wrong? For me, there are usually a few…

It might have been a project, a decision I made in my personal life or at work, a dress I wore, a relationship that didn’t work out…or in a perfect week, all of the above! Until a few years ago, I would beat myself up (I still do it sometimes) for being stupid, silly enough not to see the writing on the wall, to feel upset with people for being the way they are, to feel betrayed, cheated and essentially take a lot of sorrow from everything ‘I got wrong’.

One of the greatest lessons Rajayoga teaches us is that this world is a school, a place of learning, and that each of us is a student. The world along with all its components – the people, the elements – are all here for one reason: to teach us important lessons about ourselves. Their only job is to work together tirelessly to bring us closer to our true selves, help us realize our own self-worth, find our own inner power…if we allow them.

So how do we go about finding our power and realizing our self-worth?

Going back to the analogy of the school, all of us remember having to work harder or having to pay special attention to that one particular subject because we found it hard or challenging. But we had to learn it anyway and so some of us took extra classes, or did other things to master it. The only way we knew if we had was when we were challenged to answer tough questions. I don’t know about you, but I never got all the questions right the first time – but then that’s how I knew what I didn’t know. I worked on those some more, and got them right the next time. And when that happened, there was a sense of accomplishment, a sense of power – a sense of no longer being afraid of those questions.

Similarly in the school of life, we cannot find our power without having the opportunity to pass through various situations that challenge us on various aspects – sometimes our ability to tolerate, other times our ability to accommodate or face up to realities that we might prefer did not exist. Each of us has our own strong and weak subjects, and our journeys self-adjust to take that into account. They then present us with situations opportunities to realize where we are lacking, and make good that deficiency. And so, we are certain to stumble and fall a few times as we try to find our bearings; but a true winner will dust themselves down, and get back up. When we manage to do that, we build power, and appreciate more our true potential. The next time we are faced with a similar situation, we will not be shaken and our happiness will not be disturbed, because we have been there before. We know the answer to the question and feel ready to face it. That is power.

To take another example: diamonds are found in coal mines. If we are clueless as to the value of diamonds or about how they are found, we might take one look at all the coal, and turn up our noses at the black and dust. But if we have learned to appreciate the value of what is hidden there, our eyes will not be distracted by the black or the dust but instead look only for the glimmer, the sparkle, of the diamond.

Life’s lessons are like diamonds. They come wrapped up in situations that look like a heap of coal – black and dusty. But hidden inside is at least one diamond, often more. Our task is to keep getting better at finding them – more easily, more quickly each time. Finding those diamonds is really not a matter of choice because life will keep presenting us with similar situations until we learn the lesson, and get it right. The choice therefore is really only as to whether we want to get better at the art of living, making it less painful and more enjoyable.

If we were to take the case of a relationship that did not work out: one option is that we beat ourselves up, or criticize the other person, and generally take sorrow from the situation. In other words, we get caught up in the coal. Alternatively, we could detach ourselves from the situation and look at what it is trying to teach us about ourselves – were we attached to the other person in a selfish way, rather than being really loving? Were we insensitive to their needs? Can we correct it in future? We would never find that aspect about ourselves or that diamond if we didn’t have a situation mine to step in to or ‘get it wrong’. Without that diamond, and the lesson it represented, we would keep on getting our relationships wrong due to the same reasons, and be unable to move forward.

So, the next time we hear that critical voice in our head that tries to shame us into believing that we ‘got it wrong’, that tries to make us feel silly and stupid, it is important to remind ourselves of one key truth, which is that my worthiness is not attached to what has happened to me, it’s attached to what I choose to become. And to get there, to that place of worthiness and inner power, which is to truly ‘get it right’, I need to have ‘got it wrong’ first.

And so…well done!

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