Failure Was My Greatest Success

March 15, 2012

in Naked Girl Has Guests

Guest Writer Chrysta Bairre from Live Love Work is a talented motivational writer. I was ecstatic when she accepted my invitation to be a guest writer. Visit her to feel re-energized about all aspects of your life.

Today Chrysta shared  a wonderful piece about embracing failure. It’s heart-felt and resonated for me on a personal level as well. It is tough to accept failure, to learn to give up, but sometimes the greatest gifts in life are presented as a result.

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I have a great life. I love my life! And every day I’m grateful for my failures because without them I wouldn’t be here.

I had big dreams in my 20s. I dreamed of a family, financial stability, of career success, and happiness. I thought I would be happy when… when I got married, when I got a raise, when I got a promotion, when life got good.

I met a guy that I loved and I thought, “this is it”. Our relationship was more loving and supportive than any relationship I’d seen or known. Having grown up in an abusive, poverty-stricken, and dysfunctional family there was nowhere to go but up.

My husband also came from humble and hurtful beginnings. We shared the sorrows of a painful past, and understood each other in a way few others could.

In the beginning it was like a dream. We had fights but we didn’t scream at each other and he never physically harmed me. I wasn’t happy, but I thought our marriage was as good as it gets.

My husband got a great job in the height of the dot.com boost, and I soon followed suit. I bought a brand new car, we signed the lease on a nice apartment, and we thought we had it made. I still wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t miserable, either.

Not long after we started too-good-to-be-true jobs the dot.com bubble burst and we were both unemployed within 24 hours. My plans were falling apart and I could no longer ignore the unhappiness in my marriage.

As much as I loved my husband, my marriage encouraged me to repeat the dysfunctional behavior of my family history. We didn’t share our joys, we wallowed in our sorrows. We didn’t encourage each other, we enabled each other.

I remembered how I’d cried on my wedding day not because I was happy but because I didn’t have to be alone with my pain. I finally acknowledged the depth of my unhappiness.

I was willing to be unhappy. I swore to myself I wouldn’t fail at marriage. The truth is my marriage was already a failure, and by staying in a marriage that didn’t work I was failing my husband and myself. Getting a divorce was the most honoring and loving action I could take for both our sakes.

The divorce took its toll, emotionally and financially, as divorce often does. I was alone and broke- really, really broke- but I was no longer broken.

I began to rebuild my life. I didn’t know what life would hold for me next, and I kept pushing forward. I struggled for years, barely scraping by trying to pay off debts leftover from my marriage. Shortly before my 30th birthday I suffered an injury that required two surgeries and more co-pays than I could afford.

Reviewing my finances, I felt depressed and discouraged. I was almost 30 and I had little to show for it. I was divorced, in debt, with no assets, no savings, and a stack of medical bills.

I had failed my finances as I had failed in my marriage- in both I had the best of intentions and not enough wisdom to know what I was getting myself into. I felt ashamed and embarrassed.

I began to consider bankruptcy as a last resort, and there were days I was hanging on by a thread. I realized I was punishing myself for getting to this point. I berated myself for my mistakes.

One day I realized happiness doesn’t come from the outside, it comes from within.

I made mistakes and I saw that success doesn’t come from never falling, but from getting up every time you fall. I realized filing for bankruptcy was not failing myself, it was loving myself. Failing in the eyes of my creditors and society meant giving myself another chance to live.

Seven years later I look back at my so-called failures and realize the best decisions I ever made were the same decisions many consider failure. My greatest success was failing.

Today I’m happy. I don’t have everything I want, and I appreciate everything I have. I stopped looking for happiness outside myself and started cultivating it from within. Today I celebrate my failures, and my courage in admitting defeat.

It feels great to be a failure.

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Chrysta wants to inspire you to love your work-life! As a blogger and creator of Live Love Work, Chrysta writes about work-life balance, personal development, professional development and career management.

With a passion and excitement for life, Chrysta has built upon hardship and struggle to become truly happy, finding joy in each and every day. She takes this purpose and shares it with others to encourage a happier life for anyone that wants it.


life is good

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Chrysta Bairre March 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thanks so much for the opportunity to guest post for you, Kelly!

I hope your readers enjoy my post. I look forward to reading their comments!

Chrysta
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Naked Girl in a Dress March 15, 2012 at 9:54 am

I know this will resonate for my readers. Thank you so much for choosing to share this here. It’s a great message for all of us!

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Chris March 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm

What a wonderful and inspiring post.

I’ve mentioned on comments here before that I am recently separated … I ended my 14 year marriage for virtually the same reasons Chrysta. I too finally realised that happiness comes from within and I’ve learned to stop trying to validate myself by my status, material things or relationships.

I’m finding the focusing on the here and now is a powerful tool to focus on happiness and not let the “failures” of the past or the dreams for the future get in the way of being happy right now.

The only thing I am struggling with now is that I have so many things I want to do that I am getting stressed a lot of the time becuase I can’t get it all done as quickly as I’d like!

Thanks for sharing Chrysta – very inspiring.
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Chrysta Bairre March 16, 2012 at 9:33 am

Thanks for your awesome comment, Chris!

Getting divorced was one of the most painful and most loving experiences of my life. Somehow I thought staying in a miserable marriage was loving until I realized I wasn’t behaving lovingly to anyone- not my husband and certainly not myself!

When it comes to fully enjoying my life in-the-moment, I focus on really appreciating what I’m doing right this moment. When I become too goal-focused I often loose sight of my enjoyment today. My goals are important to me, of course, but simply being happy today is my top priority!

Have a grateful day!

Chrysta
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StoriesAndSweetPotatoes March 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm

This is an amazing post. I can only hope one day I have a similar perspective as I’m still stuck in the downward motion of my life’s “failures”.
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Chrysta Bairre March 16, 2012 at 9:36 am

Thanks for your awesome comment!

Making the decision to move forward with my divorce and my bankruptcy took time and for years I wasn’t ready for either step. When I was ready, I knew.

I hope my story is at least a reminder that failure is not necessarily failure at all if you did the best you can with the knowledge and resources you had at the time, and when you love yourself enough to make positive, healthy, and affirming choices for your future.

Have a grateful day!

Chrysta
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Lance March 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Kelly,
Thanks for opening your space up to share a part of Chrysta’s story.

Chrysta,
It’s great seeing you here. And – thank you for sharing so meaningfully and from your heart. While I’m sure many of these moments you’ve described were challenging in many ways – seeing you today – I know you shine…shine from within. And that is success…
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Chrysta Bairre March 16, 2012 at 9:38 am

Thanks for your awesome comment, Lance! It’s lovely to see you here, as well. :)

Going through my divorce and bankruptcy was incredibly painful and hard, but it was worth it, too. The lesson I learned is that my life is not great because everything works out just the way I want, it’s great because I appreciate what I works and let go of what doesn’t.

Have a grateful day!

Chrysta
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David March 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Thanks for sharing this with each of us. I’m thankful for your place in the grand story and delighted to see you growing in joy now. I’ll look forward to enjoying your writing.
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Chrysta Bairre March 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Thanks for your awesome comment, David!

I am pleased to share my story and I hope doing so will help someone else facing a major life transition find peace in their decision to make the best possible choice for their happiness.

Have a grateful day!

Chrysta
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Ellen Lloyd March 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Wow. Thank you for this incredibly inspiring post!

The idea that failure can be our greatest success is a powerful one; I know the fear of failure all too well and it holds me back more times than I can count. This only reinforces to me that trying even though you fail is just a way to grow. =)
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Chrysta Bairre March 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for your awesome comment, Ellen!

I was unable to make the right choice for me when I believed that making the right choice made me a failure. I didn’t want to fail and so I stayed far too long in situations that were holding me back and holding me down. Progress and enlightenment came when I realized that making a loving choice for my future- choosing my health and happiness- was not failing at all!

I agree failing is a path to growth, not defeat. The only real defeat is giving up.

Have a grateful day!

Chrysta
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Random Girl March 16, 2012 at 9:22 am

Chrysta, Thank you for sharing your post. This story, with a few minor details, could have been my story about 3 1/2 years ago. My ex and I had climbed the ladder, opened a business, had a family, and big new house…from the outside it looked like we had it all. But inside we were a mess and were failing at pretty much everything. I say that I “pressed the reset” button on my life at that point and really I did. Everything changed all at once and from the outside, it looks like I took a huge step backwards but really, I have been happier since accepting and letting go of those “failures” than I ever was when I “had it all”. Congrats on your failure, and your perspective!
Kelly, great choice on a guest post!
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Chrysta Bairre March 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for your awesome comment!

I love your perspective of pressing the reset button- what an inspired way to look at making a major life change! I’m so happy to hear that you, too, are happier now than you were when you were trying to live a life that wasn’t working for you.

The choices I made were painful and difficult for me, and they were also the right decisions.

Congratulations to us both! Here’s to living our best life, starting with being honest and caring towards ourselves.

Have a grateful day!

Chrysta
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Naked Girl in a Dress March 17, 2012 at 11:03 am

Thank you for sharing your insight into this topic. It is also good to hear it resonated for you. I enjoyed hosting Chrysta and hope she will guest write for me again.

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