Have you ever held a newborn infant in your arms? The miracle of birth is amazing in and of itself. But to hold a newborn baby can create a number of emotions within us. We realize that this new life is perfect, even if it has imperfections. We just want to hold him or her close. We feel an instant attachment that is difficult to describe, even if it is not our child.
There is no doubt in our minds that this beautiful child is worthy of love and nurturing. The evidence of that is in the fact that we simply want to hold it close to our heart and to gently caress it’s tiny face.
If we are involved in the child’s life, we celebrate each and every success. We don’t recognize any failures. As the child learns to talk and form words, we don’t care if the words are not pronounced exactly as they should be. We are simply excited that words are being expressed.
Think of when they take their first steps. They fall more than they walk.
They learn to take steps with help. Then they start to take steps as they grasp onto a chair or as they are hanging on to a sofa. When those first steps are taken without any aid or assistance, the child may only get one or two steps in, as we clap and praise the child, encouraging him or her to try again and again and again.
This little bundle of joy never gives up. Failure is not an option, or even a thought in their tiny minds. Yet if we were to judge them as we do ourselves, they are experiencing failure after failure as they fall only after a few steps, get up and take a few steps only to fail again. If they are not able to get the hang of it the first time, we don’t criticize them, nor judge them.
If they don’t get it the first time, we try again the next day or later in the day. We assist them again to find success. When they finally walk, what we would define as success, it still may only be temporary. They have to keep trying.
Each time they stand up, they are able to take more steps as they learn to balance themselves. Within a very short time, they are walking everywhere. Success after success until they have mastered the art of walking on two tiny feet.
The question that I have pondered over and over again, is “When did it change?” When did we no longer see our efforts as small successes? When did we start to criticize ourselves when we were unable to master something the first time? When did we start using the word “failure” to describe what appeared to be something less than success? When do we start to apply that term to others? What changed?
As we watch the development of these tiny human beings, we celebrate everything. Why do we stop? If their introduction to this world is one of wonder and constant learning, when does the wonder and learning stop?
I would suggest, it never does. There is no doubt that we can become discouraged when our efforts are not providing us with the results we always want. Sometimes it takes time to master the things we are learning, to get the results we desire. If we try something and it doesn’t work, we have not failed. We have had success in learning what doesn’t work.
Like a small child learning to walk, we take a step and fall. “Okay. Leaning forward to far didn’t work.” We get up and take another step and fall. “Ha! Leaning back to far didn’t work.” We get up and take another step and then another and then another and then we fall.
The excitement grows as we realize we are getting somewhere. We get up and do it again and again until we master walking.
The only way the child fails is if the child quits.
Success is experienced in the journey. Sometimes barely recognizable, but if we never quit, we learn to walk. If we never quit, we never experience failure.
We may get discouraged, but discouragement is not failure. It is a motivator to try something different, to look at the problem differently. Each time we fall, we are gaining experience. The more experience we have, the closer we are to the result we desire, or success. Never allowing ourselves to quit will guarantee success. Even if that success is only getting us closer to the results we desire.
Similarly, just as we never stop loving the child that never gets it “right” the first time, we should never stop loving ourselves. Just as the child is worthy of love, we are worthy of love.
Our value never diminishes. How we perceive ourselves may be less than desirable, but our value never diminishes.
If we are moving closer to the results we desire, even if we never get the ultimate results we seek, we have grown in the journey. We have gained experience and have taken a few more steps in the direction of our intended goal. We are successful. We are worthy of love throughout the entire journey. Our worth never diminishes.
We have always been worthy. You have always been worthy. What keeps us from realizing our worth are limiting beliefs that we create based on what we perceive to be failure. Or worse, we have bought into the comments and judgments of others.
The truth is that success is ours by simply continuing the journey. The Truth is that anything we have been told that diminishes our perception of our worth is a lie. No matter the source.
The truth is that we never outgrow our infancy, because life requires us to continue to learn and grow.
Begin each day with wonder and expectancy just like a small child. Receive and expect love just like a small child. Don’t believe the lie. You and I are worth it.