Two people mentioned to me this week that they "feel like a failure". I know that neither is a failure at all; they are merely going through a time of frustration and doubt. I have found from experience that those who express the opinion that they are failures seldom are, while those who truly fail to meet even the basic expectations of society seem either unaware of or reconciled to their condition.
Women are the most prone to express feelings of failure because we tend to expect far too much from ourselves in far too many areas of life. I had a love/hate relationship with all those “superwoman” ads presented to us when I was a young wife and mother. We could do it all if we just tried! We could work all day, shop, cook, take care of our children, and satisfy our man…all while looking like a model. Yeah right…if exhaustion, or insanity, didn’t overtake us first!
We like to think that times have changed and we are more reasonable about setting goals for ourselves and more rational about the things we can actually accomplish in one lifetime. But are we? From what I have observed…no. Women still expect to achieve success in nearly every endeavor. There is nothing wrong with that, but I think we forget to give ourselves credit for trying, for working, for just having goals and expectations. We focus far too much on the end product and not on the process itself. I bow to the wisdom of Teddy Roosevelt to encourage you to be kinder to yourself when you do not succeed.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions; spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Amen Mr. Roosevelt!
And BTW I give God credit for giving me that quote. I did not seek it out. I didn’t even know it existed. I had this post on my mind and when I started to copy a news item from the 1925 Caddo Herald for my Caddo blog I noticed the quote in the next column! The Lord works in mysterious ways.