Fear of failure is a popular fear. It’s often used as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for healthy personal progress. Fear of failure helps many stay where they are, despite the stress or unhappiness it creates for them and others.
Humans don’t fear failure as much as they fear making a judgement call, and getting it wrong. Many don’t want to appear to be imperfect or incorrect. Humiliation is a great motivator. It keeps many trapped, but it also has the power to move you forward.
Failure is due to poor judgement, or a lack of judgement, but one of the only genuine failures to be wary of in life is an inability to learn from the experience. Failure is feedback. The experience of failure feeds back information to you about what not to do next time. Likewise, the experience of success feeds back information to you about what to do next time. Once you move beyond self-pity, or feeling sorry about your failure, then you are ready to use the feedback from failure as a means of directing your future actions in a more constructive manner. A crucial aspect of managing failure better is to improve your capacity to make better judgement calls in the future.
For survival’s sake, judgement ought not to be a dirty word. It is not healthy to avoid making judgements. Ego is not a dirty word either, but you need your ego and its ability to judge if you want to survive and thrive in the world. You don’t need your ego or your ability to judge if you live in a monastery, but you probably don’t, so even if you are a mystic without a monastery, you will still need these survival tools in order to live a healthy and happy life.
You can’t get rid of your ego and its ability to judge. You might try to tame it, but the success rate appears to be fairly low, particularly if the popularisation of ego taming spiritual philosophies, and their impact on the condition of humanity and the environment are any measure of collective progress. If you are a mystic without a monastery, then you have to remain aware of your ego and its impact on your life as much as possible. You can put your ego behind you instead of in front of you, but you can’t afford to get rid of it. It will always be at your back. You need your ego. If you didn’t have an ego, you would not be able to:
- Determine a healthy sense of responsibility.
- Distinguish the line between your personal boundaries and those of others.
- Attain or maintain your personal standards and integrity.
- Make sound judgements.
For the most part, a healthy ego keeps you physically, emotionally and mentally healthy. If you are physically, emotionally and mentally healthy then there is a strong chance you are going to experience spiritual health too. There are always going to be times when your ego gets out of hand, or it gets the better of you, especially if your ability to make an appropriate judgement is reduced because you think that making a judgement is spiritually wrong. When it does, some or all of the following occur:
- You take on responsibilities that are not yours to carry, or you try to avoid your responsibilities altogether.
- You neglect to erect appropriate personal boundaries and so you are vulnerable and in danger of others taking advantage of you, or you push others too far by disregarding their personal boundaries.
- You become a victim of your own double standards or those of others.
- Your ability to discern, detect or correctly assess, monitor and supervise your behaviour, or the behaviour of others, is dramatically reduced, and so you are at risk of corruption or in danger of becoming a victim of it. Others misread you or you misread them. You make incorrect judgements about people, situations, events and circumstances, so not only is your fear of failure compounded, but your ethics have fallen by the wayside.
If you have an ongoing problem with being judged, or making judgements, then you have lessons to learn from the experience. The archetype of judgement has walked into your life for a reason. It will refuse to leave until you identify the lesson, and clarify the meaning of it.
Making judgements and being judgemental is considered a sin by those who prefer to sugar-coat the truth. However, if there is a reason for everything, then that means there is a purpose for everything. There are many good reasons for being judgemental.
To be clear, the Oxford Dictionary defines the meaning of judgement to be: “of or concerning the use of judgement“ and also “having or displaying an overly critical point of view.”
There are benefits and drawbacks to being judgemental, making judgements, and being judged. Finding the balance between being overly judgemental and lacking judgement is a fine line, and not always easy to locate, let alone walk.
Being judgemental says as much about the judge as it does about the judged. What you think, say or do might come back to you tenfold. You may be forced to walk many miles in shoes that you have judged so harshly. At least you will develop compassion for others, even if it is done the hard way.
Out of being judged or being judgemental, some of the lessons you will be urged to learn will be how, why, where, and when you need to set and maintain your personal boundaries around things that are important to you. Being judgemental helps you to become a good judge of character. Using your better judgement helps protect the people, places and objects that you value most.
Another lesson will urge you to examine your life for areas where you are being judgemental, or critical, or seeking perfection, expecting too much, or where you are controlling, or being controlled and manipulated.
A less obvious lesson comes from “having or displaying an overly critical point of view.” The purpose of being the butt of an overly critical point of view is that the discomfort this creates in you is meant to urge you to examine your life for areas where you are not applying enough judgement or enough discernment, or where you have failed to distinguish, or discriminate, or draw the line between the truth and illusions. A lack of judgement creates discrepancies, double standards and hypocrisies in areas of life that are important to you. Discrepancies, double standards and hypocrisies are familiar to judgemental personality types, so they can easily detect these concepts in others. They will happily point out that you are not so perfect after all.
The areas of life you have neglected to apply appropriate discernment will reveal your double standards. Your discrepancies, double standards and hypocrisies create chaos and conflict in your life.
Areas of life you may want to examine for double standards could be your relationships, your work, your affiliations, your family, your community, your environment, your money, and your creative pursuits.
When you refuse to exercise your power of judgement, then you may be at risk of sabotaging yourself, or sabotaging others, or you may be in danger of being sabotaged. One cause for regret in life would be a refusal to recognise and learn from this pattern.
There is a greater chance of success when each person takes responsibility for their personal progress. Fear of failure is managed better, so stress is reduced, and an increase in happiness is possible. The judge, your ego and your fear of failure can be a recipe for success.