It’s Okay to Fail, You’re Only Human

Did you muck up again? Don't be too hard on yourself, here's why

Life seemed straightforward when we were children, before being hit with the complexities of life. We thought we had it all figured out: Finish school, go to university, get a job, live a happy life.

It’s a simple road we ought to follow.

So… we try to figure it out. We try to become our best selves. We try to fit into the picturesque bubble of a happy life we once envisioned.

But sooner or later, you will mess up.

You will fail.

You will make mistakes.

In theory, personal growth is a linear curve. You identify an issue – You overcome the issue – You never experience that struggle again.

In actuality, the human experience is missing from the equation. Personal growth is a labyrinth.

It’s messy, it’s erratic, and you’ll wind up at the same point, again and again, until you finally get it. If you’re striving for perfection, you’re on the wrong path. Perhaps the wrong planet.

Perfectionism is a flaw because the desire to avoid mistakes will cause more struggle in the long run.

You are a beautiful, messy creature, and embracing the idea that you are only human is a step toward true realization – that you are so much more.

Understanding the human experience

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I’ve been on a spiritual journey since my spiritual awakening in my early 20s, and this journey has certainly taken me places. Sometimes, however, a life challenge will present itself at the right time to knock me off my pedestal.

Last week, this event took place as a particularly bad argument. I saw a part of me I hadn’t seen in a very long time – a childish part I thought I had evolved beyond a long time ago.

Regardless of how much shadow work and healing I have done, my ego commandeered under the perfect storm of difficult circumstances, and it was out for blood.

I felt very guilty in the following days. The shame of reverting to old patterns layered on top of the pain I caused. After all this inner work, how could I revert to the wounded, insecure child I once was?

I should have known better. I shouldn’t have been triggered after all the shadow work. I should have not been reactive like I was.

I was ashamed that I wasn’t better than that.

The next day I made amends and patched up the situation best as I knew how, but the guilt remained.

Today during some time processing, a moment of clarity came to me.

This inner voice said:

Do you think you’re going to get it right all the time? It is your birthright to make mistakes, you’re only human. Get off the spiritual high horse!

From that moment, something clicked.

We are designed as imperfect beings to live imperfect lives. If we always got it right, there would be no improvement. Part of life is to make mistakes and fail. Sure, we should strive to do our best, learn from our mistakes, and grow, but failing is a part of growth. If you want to continue growing for the rest of your life, you must also continue failing.

Do not feel guilty about mucking up sometimes. Do your best to continually improve and recognize that you are only human, as we all are.

The myth of perfection

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The expression ‘you’re only human’, means it’s natural to make mistakes sometimes, and you shouldn’t be blamed for doing so.

It’s a central theme in personal growth and spiritual development, as the human condition is a part of life we all should love, not despise.

Naturally, we’re going to spin our wheels by trying to have our shit together all the time. We like to think we have evolved beyond reason, that we’ve triumphed in all of our battles, but I assure you not a single human ever has (otherwise they wouldn’t have reincarnated on the learning planet – Earth.)

We’re all trying to become the best versions of ourselves, but abandoning the fundamental truth that we’re humans for a reason.

We’re here to muck up and not have it all together.

We’re here to make mistakes.

The very essence of life is imperfection, and imperfection is within everything. If you don’t see it, simply look behind the scenes.

Stop trying to be perfect!

I was teased a lot during school for my difficulty learning, my lack of social skills, my lanky frame, two buck teeth, and multiple birthing defects – To the point I truly believed I was an abomination.

With time, I began my healing journey – Packing all my belongings into my backpack and soul-searching for 7 years, a journey I’m still committed to today.

I wish I could tell you that I found myself and that I won all my battles. But the truth is, I found acceptance in my brokenness and beauty in my imperfection.

I see many people on their spiritual journeys who are afraid of being human. They put on masks to pretend they are sages and gurus. But this is a problem because trying to be perfect often results in:

  1. A beautiful facade covering up the real dysfunction
  2. An avoidance of shadow work and genuine healing
  3. Disintegration of the true self
  4. A limited expression of self
  5. A spiritual ego

In short, trying to be perfect results in spiritual bypassing.

Not to mention that perfection is ugly. It’s robotic, it’s boring. Perfection is an oxymoron, a logical fallacy.

The soul shines from the authentic self, not a mask. So please, stop trying to be perfect and allow yourself to be human – for better and for worse.

Transcending my limitations didn’t bring me fulfillment but finding peace with the human experience did.

Aim for continuous growth instead

I’m sure you’ve learned a great deal along your personal growth journey. You’ve become a better person and learned how to open your heart.

There’s no doubt that your achievements are quite remarkable. Likely, you don’t even realize how far you’ve come until you look back at who you once were.

But you still carry the pain of not living up to the image you want to be.

We tend to be our own harshest critics.

Whether it’s your figure, your lisp, your behaviors, or the way you view the world. I imagine you hate some of your flaws, and spend a lot of energy trying to fix them.

While we should be striving for personal growth and transformation, we must not lose sight of who we are right now.

I’ve discovered that the true essence of life is in continuous learning and growth. As long as you’re always trying to improve but doing it genuinely where you’re in touch with your humanness, you’re setting a much better foundation for a happier, more authentic life experience.

Normalize your mistakes

Big life mistakes

Failure must be normalized as a natural part of life rather than being perceived as something negative or undesirable.

Sure, it sucks to make mistakes. It’s painful to feel like you’re regressing into old patterns, but beating yourself up about it isn’t productive.

Mistakes are opportunities for growth and learning. If you were perfect, then you would stagnate. If you’re truly committed to your spiritual growth journey, stagnation is something you probably don’t want.

Growth is the spark that drives us. It’s what makes this human adventure fun, knowing that we’re constantly making mistakes, learning, and most importantly – progressing.

Therefore, you must normalize mistakes as a normal human experience. You must go through the hard yards to become a better person.

If it was easy, everyone would be spiritual masters.

Learn from your mistakes

Just because you’re failing doesn’t mean you’re regressing. This is an important distinction you need to make.

As long as you are constantly learning from your experiences and doing the best you can do given what you know, regression does not exist.

If you’re constantly slipping into old patterns or winding up in the same painful situation, then you haven’t learned the lesson – which is why you continue to prompt it.

Although making mistakes is a part of life, aim to grow through each one of them.

Don’t use your humanness as an excuse to stay trapped in the same perpetual patterns. You want to be making progress too by leveraging each mistake for your self-betterment.

Acknowledge that you will make mistakes, but also do your best to learn from them.

Embrace your vulnerability

The impermenance of life

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is a key to your personal growth. Wearing a mask will only hide all the things you need to work on, but those issues are still under the surface, waiting for the opportune moment to strike.

Accepting your humanness means you need to be vulnerable.

Being vulnerable means to:

  • Be genuine with your true feelings and emotions
  • Allow other people to see your weaknesses
  • Openly display your flaws without trying to hide them
  • Look at your dark side honestly and with humility
  • Be honest with your insecurities
  • Allow yourself to feel like shit sometimes

By looking at yourself through an unbiased human lens rather than a filter of either self-depredation or self-centrism, you’re on a much better path.

Your vulnerabilities aren’t something to be afraid of. They make you human. People will relate to you better if they see you’re not a mechanical being who has issues. It brings warmth to the human experience, and that is something you can’t buy with perfectionism.

Be genuine

Most people wear masks to present an image of the person they want to be seen as. Wearing a facade has become so normalized in today’s world that many people lose sight of who they are.

I understand. We all want to feel validated. We want to feel approved of and like we’re important.

That’s why you put up this image that you are a big success in life.

This need for validation is why ‘spiritual people’ often come across as having mastered the ways of the universe.

I fucking hate that, and I’m not afraid to say it.

It’s an ego trap.

Not being true to who you really are and where you’re currently at doesn’t serve you. It complicates your personal growth journey because you can’t be real with what you need.

Just be your self. Trust me on this one, it’s going to work in your favor.

Celebrate your humanity

Being human is a celebration of our flaws, vulnerability, and humanity.

Appreciating the fact that we don’t have it all together is what gives this life journey soul.

We were all born unique. Just how individual we all are is just one of the many wonders of life, and it must be celebrated, even if it’s tough. Even if it’s painful.

Anyone on a personal growth journey will come to a point where they need to accept themselves for who they are.

Within your uniqueness is your power. It’s not by becoming the same as everyone else that you contribute to the world.

Service occurs by leveraging your flaws and bringing authenticity into the equation.

Humanity needs the human touch more than ever right now because our world is so disconnected. People are lost, confused, and looking for comfort in our shared humanity, not our shared perfectionism.

Practicing self-compassion allows you to feel comfortable with your flawed self. When you’re comfortable with your flawed self, you will more easily express yourself as you’re not trying to hide in the shadows anymore.

When you learn to find joy in your imperfect humanity, you’re going to have much more fun within this small window of being a human.

Dissolving guilt of failing

The fear of failure

As long as you feel guilty for making human errors, you’re weighing yourself down. Guilt is the final straw preventing you from fully embracing the human experience.

So I ask you: Can you forgive yourself for being human?

Can you forgive yourself for being ‘less’ than the people out there flaunting their victory, wealth, status, or fame?

When you muck up, yet again, can you tell yourself that it’s okay instead of berating yourself for not doing better?

In my experiences, I’ve found that forgiving myself is the best way to dissolve my guilt for making mistakes – whether those mistakes have been self-sabotaging, or genuine inadequacy.

Despite being on a journey of spiritual growth for many years where I’ve done some pretty cool stuff, I will always come back to the humbling conclusion, one way or another – that I’m only human.

By accepting that you’re only human, you permit yourself to truly live the human experience.

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