Written by Jalyce Elizabeth
I was a clumsy child. I have scars to this day from my first attempts at walking as a toddler. One of those scars sat pretty prominently on my forehead through my teens and twenties. It has only recently faded, and I’m 31.
Falling is not ideal, but it’s a common experience. Have you ever met anyone that’s never taken a fall?
Though not out of the ordinary, we treat falling and failing like unusual and abnormal events—incidents that speak ultimately to our worth and potential.
I’ve done this. Even though I’d taken countless falls as a child, I didn’t expect to fail at anything I worked hard to study and accomplish. I put so much into being the perfect student and crafting the perfect career plan that I gave no thought to failure. I graduated college with a 4.0 grade point average, got into law school, and worked hard to graduate with a job.
That should’ve made me happy. I believed that a pristine work ethic would automatically bring success that would inspire. I can say lots about how this belief was rooted in toxic capitalism and grind culture, but that’s a conversation for another day. All this changed when I failed the bar exam which was the actual test to become an attorney. I eventually passed it on my second try but even after that success, I saw that working at my dream law firm wasn’t all I thought it’d be.
In those years, I experienced failure, not as fire, but as water—water that washed away outdated beliefs of who I should be and revealed the truth of who I was. I experienced failure as a balm, healing wounds of unworthiness that made me seek validation from external sources (education, career, and people) and not from within.
Failure reveals your gods—what you idolize and deify as valuable.
I put shallow visions of success and acclaim on a pedestal. When it cracked, I found that the only way to recover was to set fire to my gods.
Destruction set me on this path to truth and wellness. On this path, I am an attorney and I’m redefining success for myself. I expect to fall but there’s magic in expecting to be caught.
You cannot fully embrace life without embracing failure. Don’t let failure stop you from living the life you were created to live. Instead, let it teach you and help you grow closer to your purpose.
“Let me fall if I must fall. The one I will become will catch me.”
– The Baal Shem Tov