I have been thinking lately about goals and achievements. About productivity. About getting things done. I think it’s good to examine your productivity and to set goals for yourself. It’s good to feel like your life is moving forward and that you’re making a difference in the world.
But what if you don’t feel like that at all?
What if you feel like your life is on hold? Or that you’re slowly moving backwards?
What if you can’t see any difference you’re making in the world?
What if, for whatever reason, this season of life requires you to sit in the background and achieve nothing?
It’s so easy at times like those to feel like you’re failing, or even worse, to label yourself as ‘a failure’.
I felt like it was really important this week to say that your value is not because of what you do. You are valuable purely because you are, because you exist.
One of the things I love about my Christian faith is that it says that ALL people are valuable because they are made in the image of God. Therefore, no matter what you are doing, no matter who you are, you, yes, YOU are valuable. Absolutely precious. Of inestimable importance. Worth dying for. Worth giving everything for.
You are loved. In all your flaws and imperfections, you are deeply loved.
I could go on, but this is getting mushy.
I am reading a book by Dr Dweck about the Growth Mindset and it talks a lot about how you can see yourself as the sum of your achievements, but that it is so much healthier to instead look at how hard you try, at whether you are putting in an effort. (And for some of us, the effort required to open our eyes in the morning is all we have.)
I also heard a wonderful quote on the Simple podcast, (episode 202). It says, ‘It’s not hard because you are failing, it’s hard because it’s hard.’
Are you finding something hard today? Maybe the fault is not in you, maybe the thing you’re working on (say parenting, or completing your uni studies, or going to work) feels hard. And it feels hard because it is hard. You’re allowed to feel like something is hard.
Tsh Oxenrider, the host of the Simple podcast, also commented in that episode that a couple of times a week she asks her children, ‘What did you fail at today?’ She says that failure means you are trying and that’s a good thing. This is the attitude she wants to build into her children.
So all of this has come together in my mind. I want to be someone with a growth mindset. I want to be someone not afraid to learn from failure. And I want to remember that I’m valuable, even if I’m not obviously succeeding at something.
So, let me ask you, what did you fail at over the last few days?
I can tell you that my house-cleaning this weekend was no where near as good as our regular cleaner’s job. That the last couple of times I’ve tried to spruik my book it hasn’t resulted in a sale. And that when I went to the gym last night I didn’t do weights and opted instead just to walk on the treadmill. But at least I cleaned, spruiked, and went to the gym. I’m trying. So I’ll take that as a win.
And even if I hadn’t done those things, I’m going to remember that I’m valuable just because I am. And I hope that you can remember that too.