As featured in The Thought Catalog
Five years ago I cried for the first time during a yoga class. “Don’t be afraid to fall, when you learn to let go of that fear beautiful things will happen.” That one sentence set something off inside me, forever igniting a candle within the deepest part of my perspective. Why am I afraid? What am I afraid of? Why can’t I let go? It has taken five years to answer these questions. Like so many I am afraid of the preconditioned perception of failure, with failure comes the fear of rejection. The key to letting go can only be found buried within yourself, through forgiveness.
Rejection, something every human has experienced. Felt under the pit of your stomach, rejection sinks a little further into your being and absorbs like dirty water into a sponge within your inner psyche. Often time’s rejection comes out the other side as embarrassment, we become embarrassed because we feel inept. We feel there is something inside of us that isn’t good enough for that relationship or job listing. Rejection from your dream job, a break up with your first love, being ghosted for the first time, these interactions linger. Letting go of rejection is one of the most difficult emotional blocks on the shoulder of humanity, especially in our now ever connected world. How do we let go and use the experience of failure and rejection as building blocks to surpass a hurdle instead of a tripping onto the concrete? The answer is forgiveness. With forgiveness we free ourselves from perceived shortcomings, springing into a fresh headspace free of expectation.
Lets start with what we are teaching the youth of today’s world. Society tells us that failure and rejection is bad from a very young age. So young, in fact, that we receive an education with strict guidelines as to what is and what isn’t failure with lettered grades in primary school. We mold the blocks to build walls of safety from these principles in which we only pull a few bricks down on special occasions, letting in safe and carefully calculated opportunity. This fear of rejection and failure causes us to close our mind and cut off opportunities out of the ordinary, straining the relationship we have with ourself. Take a moment to be accountable and come to terms with the chances you didn’t take solely out of fear. Now envision all the moments in your life you perceive as failure. Allow those memories to unearth aspirations, dreams, and the wildest path your feet can take you to. Humans make mistakes, it is woven into our DNA and using those mistakes as tools in your box to learn from and grow from is what makes us so intricate.
How do we forgive a past love that left you with a broken heart? How do we forgive friendships strained by once sided conversation and constantly cancelled plans? Remember, there is no one person at fault in a failed relationship; whether its romantic, a friendship, or family member it takes two parts to make a whole. Truly loving someone means welcoming their happiness, even if that means leaving you behind. Relieving yourself of expectation and allowing an unplanned change in perspective reshapes the way you look at the world. Instead of focusing on the negatives experienced in a relationship use the experience of love with that individual to grow and shape your own flaws. Use that love to mold new relationships instead of hinder them.
Our ever-connected world of social media has made judgment second nature. Comparing your Instagram account to a person from college, restricting buying habits to specific brands and triple checking your spray tan is even has become a normal part of human existence. Individual life is for no one’s judgment. Remove judgment from your vocabulary, while forgiving yourself for past judgment. Every person and everything on this Earth has a story in which made them who and what they are today. What you perceive from online presence or other brief encounters is a fraction of what a life actually entails. When you stop judging the people around you it allows forgiveness of judgment on yourself. Ram Das once said, “When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it.” Allow yourself, allow others, allow this life to just be as it is.
What does forgiveness feel like? How do you know when you’ve forgiven yourself? When have you truly let go? When you’ve taken the leap, when you’ve jumped off the cliff into a salty ocean of unknown bliss, that’s when you’ll know. When in all other’s eyes you have everything to lose but to you it’s everything to gain. When you can look at a past love experiencing turmoil and your heart and soul goes out to them. That is when you’ll know. Remember you are not a failure; you can never be. You may have tried things without success, but that doesn’t make you a failure. We are all a unique, once in a lifetime success, but only you can find your forgiveness.