I have been thinking about the word failing and what I means to me. How failing applies to my life and the way I view situations. I have failed in the past. In the last few years, I have change my goals so that I do not fail.
Failing has many definitions. The one that applies to most people is “to be unsuccessful in achieving one’s goal.” You can fail depending on the goals you make.
Let’s look at my marriage. My marriage to Josh failed because my goal going into the marriage was to have a long and happy marriage. Of course, that didn’t happen. We were married for two years and we were not happy. When the marriage ended I felt like a failure. My marriage failed as it relates to my goal. I failed because I was unsuccessful in having a long and happy marriage.
Now let’s look at my engagement to Jon. Most people go into engagements with the goal of getting married. So, if the engagement ends, they failed. To me, an engagement is a period of time where you make completely sure that person is the one you want to marry. If you knew 100% that you wanted to marry that person why not just get married? What is the point in waiting to get married if you know? Yes, people use this time to plan a wedding and that makes sense. There are many people who plan the wedding and cancel the wedding because they realized in that time this person wasn’t the person for them.
Being engaged is a higher commitment than just dating and a lower commitment than marriage. In that commitment, things can be shown to the people involved. Those things can make or break the engagement. So, when Jon and I got engaged, I did not want to fail so I went into the engagement with the goal of figuring out if I wanted to marry this man or not. Neither of us was sure we wanted to marry the other person. We knew there was potential there and the engagement would show us what we needed to know because of the different level of commitment involved in being engaged. About a month ago, I ended the engagement. The engagement didn’t fail because our goal was to see if marriage was right for us. It turns out marriage wasn’t right for us. I achieved my goal.
I have dreams of having a successful marriage, having kids, and changing the world. I can have these dreams with or without a man. The way I look at it, I have these things now. I have a successful marriage with myself. I have children that I teach and grow with everyday at school. I am changing the world by becoming a better version of myself.
I am dating someone new right now. We have been talking about life a lot the last few days. He recently asked me “How do you see yourself in the future in 1 or 2 years? With or without me?” I said “with you.” His response was “What happens if the universe tells you to change the opinion? What happens if your heart changes?” (The google translation from Spanish to English) My response was then that’s what happens (the shortened version). I am not going into the relationship with him because I want to marry him or have kids with him. I admit I would like those things with him. Yet, I am going into the relationship with him to learn and grow myself and to experience something great. If we get married or have kids than that’s awesome. If we don’t than that is awesome too. I cannot fail because I am experiencing something great and I am growing myself. I already achieved my goal and the relationship just started. If I continue to grow myself and experience great things than I achieved my goal. This goal can never end because there are always things to experience and there are always thing to grow.
The way to not fail is to change your goals to something that would allow you to succeed. There are things that you cannot control. I cannot control what my significant other will do so why make a goal based on that person? A marriage is based on two people. Why make the goal of the marriage to succeed if you cannot control what the other person does? Yes, we all want marriages to succeed yet that cannot be your only goal because it could end if the other person doesn’t pull their weight or do what they need to do. If you make the goal of the marriage to learn and grow yourself you will never fail because you have control over that.
You can apply this concept to everything, not just marriages. I have been doing this for a few years now and I have not failed. The last time I “failed” was my marriage 6 years ago. It failed because of the goal I had going in to it. I have since changed my goals to ones that keep me succeeding. If the relationships fall or you lose something, it will still be hard and sometimes painful. The thing is that you use that to grow and learn about yourself. You will still make mistakes that you can learn from. It makes it easier to handle the pain and sadness when you know you didn’t fail. When you know you did the best you can, it makes the sadness and pain pass quicker and easier.