Learning from Failure: Navigating Emotional Cycles and Expanding Perspectives
Let’s dive into the concept of unarmoring the heart and emotions in midlife.
Armouring occurs when incomplete emotions become sort of stuck in time after an emotionally challenging event, such as failure. And then form an energetic rigidity around the heart and emotional self.
We explore the true meaning of failure compared to our emotional response when facing an unsuccessful experience.
Failure is not a reflection of your worth. It’s a natural part of the journey towards success, growth, and evolution.
Being armored is the leftover, unintegrated emotional experience, and prevents joy, happiness, love, courage, and connection.
Feeling stuck in life and relationships is normal during midlife, but it’s also a sign of armoring around the heart and emotions and may be a signal that there is some inner work we can do.
Completing the cycle of emotions after failure allows us to approach our experiences from a constructive and supportive perspective. It’s important to process emotions that arise from failure, allowing oneself to feel disappointment while not letting it affect self-worth.
Showing up fully as yourself in life may feel uncomfortable and scary, but it leads to fulfillment and embracing your true self.
Unarmouring the heart in midlife is a transformative experience that allows us to once again show up with vitality and inspiration.
Our purpose in life is to continually show up more fully as ourselves, embracing vulnerability and playing at the edge of personal evolution.
Join me on this episode for valuable insights and tools for unarmoring the heart and living life to its fullest potential.
00:02:01 Failure is part of success and growth.
00:05:30 Potential emotions arise, allowing oneself to feel.
00:06:46 Cycle of emotions leads to clarity and growth.
00:10:04 Distracting ourselves, blaming others; avoiding emotions.
00:15:44 Breaking down armoring around the heart.
00:20:35 Recognize and inquire into emotional obstacles; show up authentically.
00:22:47 Thank you for your support, let’s connect.
Full Episode Transcript
Welcome to the podcast. I wanna talk about armoring, our heart and the armoring, the layers of armor that happen.
Throughout our lives, and then we come to midlife and we’re at this point where we can stay stuck, stay rigid, stay overly protected in terms of our heart and our emotions, or we can start to break that armoring down. But let’s talk about how it gets there in the first place. So I like to think about.
Cycles of completion in terms of what happens in our experience around success and failure. So firstly, let’s talk about that word failure. It has a lot of negative connotations. If we say to someone, oh, I know I failed at that, that didn’t work out. What often comes through in our brain is. I’m a failure or less intense or less damaging is I failed.
That’s more of a statement without the value judgment on ourself, which I’m a failure completely has. Right? But of course we know that just because we fail at something does not, it does not make us a failure. Not at all. Unfortunately, there is a lot of negative connotation around that word failure. So when we think about our experiences and our business and our life and our work, and our passions and our goals, you know, the things that haven’t worked out as we first anticipated they would as we first aimed them, for which we could call non successes.
In terms of what we first had in mind. We of course also call them failures. But if we just take all the emotion for a minute out of that word failure and all of what we’ve tried to protect against around that word and what that might mean for us, and think about that if we are in the game. If we are doing the things, if we’re showing up in our life, then for sure failure is gonna be part of the experience.
And actually failure is what happens on our way to success. So by being willing to fail many, many, many, many times, all that really means is that it is a step, another step towards our success, towards our goals, towards our growth and evolution. But of course we know that, you know when a child is learning to walk and they fall over again and again and again, plop on their butt or they fall onto the couch or they thus stumbling.
We do not in any way call that a failure because we know that they are learning to walk and that they are going to walk. So we don’t call that a failure, but as soon as we stumble, We trip fall flat on our butt in our business, in our career, our profession, our family, our relationships, our goals and passions.
We are very quick to jump to call those a failure, but what if they are just those learning steps that we take along the way? To really expanding out in our, our life and our business and our goals, which of course we know that that’s what they are. So we’ve kind of gotten clear about, about failure and actually what it means, but then the layering of the emotion and the negative self-concept that comes with that.
And we just wanna separate that out for now. So let’s just put that to the side right now. Think about this idea of armor. And how I think about it is these, these like layers of armoring that come from what we’ve called failures in our life, but that which we haven’t fully integrated the emotional cycle around that so that we’ve come back to neutral.
In fact, somewhere around that cycle of completion, emotionally around failure, it’s been halted and hasn’t completed its cycle. And when that happens, We get this layering of armoring around the heart, around our emotions, around our sense of self. And so I just wanna talk about that cycle and what that completion can look like.
So I’ve, as an example, I’ve put myself forward in my business and I’ve tried something really new. I’ve put a new offer out there and I’m like so excited about it. And then it falls flat. And there might be many reasons why, why it fell flat, but at this time, I dunno what they are. And so then I will have feelings around that, right?
And there will be a feeling, experience, and a wave of emotion around that, non-success, around that failure. And I will have potentially feelings arise of sadness, of grief, of disappointment, and if I’m able to stay with myself. Hold space for myself or someone else can hold space for me and really just be with the feelings.
Allow them to be there. But also if I don’t buy in too much, that these feelings mean that I’m not good enough. I’m a failure. I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never succeed. So if I might notice those thoughts coming through in my brain, but I don’t pay much attention to them, I know they’re just part of this.
Wave of feelings that are, are coming through me, but I’m not collapsing in terms of what I think and know about my self-worth and my self-belief. I am, however, allowing those emotions to be allowing myself to feel that disappointment. There’ll be a sort of a wave or an arc, uh, an arc that begins, rises, has a middle, and then an end.
Then we’ll sort of complete that cycle and out the other side of that cycle, the emotions will be more integrated. I would’ve come back to more of a neutral in terms of my. Brain function and I’ll be able to see more clearly, you know, the experience for what it was, um, without being dysregulated by the emotions and sort of having the emotion hijacked that survival, uh, mechanism in terms of my brain and then me thinking, oh, it’s a complete disaster.
I’ll never be any good at this. I am not good enough. All those things that run through our brain, but if I’ve completed that wave of emotion, I’ve completed that cycle. After the the failure, the non-success, then I’ll come back to. Being able to see it from my rational, logical thinking minds. And then I will be able to see the experience, see the learnings through it, see what I want to, you know, bring forward into my next, um, goal, my next adventure in my business.
And then also see maybe where I missed, where my messaging missed, or my market wasn’t where it needed to be. I wasn’t speaking to the right people or. I hadn’t made the connections I needed to make, so I’m much more able to see it from a constructive, supportive, helpful perspective. So that that’s the ideal of what happens when we, you know, experience a failure.
We go through this arc and, and the emotion moves through us. We’re able to hold space for ourself or somebody else does. We integrate it, we gather the learnings. And we are then able to see, see it again from a more, more of a bird’s eye view, more of a, a rational, logical perspective without all the sort of threats to safety and um, and self that can sometimes get triggered from that experience, right?
Because we’ve integrated the emotion around it. Now that’s the ideal scenario, and that is when that happens, we are much less likely to. Have this experience of layering on, of armoring or protection. So what can happen to interrupt that process is that maybe I’ve had parents that really couldn’t feel their own feelings in a safe way.
So I really haven’t learned how to feel my feelings in a safe way without either losing myself or projecting onto other people, blaming other people, um, falling into a hole of. Despair and I’ll never be a success kind of thinking. Or another interruption that can happen is that for whatever reason, we don’t aren’t able to feel our fears are around that experience and aren’t able to safely feel the vulnerability that arises actually from that experience and those feelings that arise.
And so we either shut down the feelings. And distract ourselves and, uh, dissociate being busy or shopping or television watching or whatever your favorite thing to do is for distraction. Sometimes as an interruption, we will. Not be able to take responsibility within ourselves for our part in the event.
And we will blame it on everyone else. Blame it on the circumstances, blame it on the planetary alignment, whatever we wanna blame it on. But we’re, you know, in that moment, unable or unwilling, or a combination of both. To feel the feelings and the vulnerability that goes along with, with processing and completing that cycle.
And so, or it might just be that it’s, we just sort of haven’t been taught or templated how to do that. How to have a potentially negative experience or a difficult experience, and then to feel the feelings and process through and complete that cycle and come back to that rest and that neutral inside our nervous system because, Let’s face it, the majority of our parents weren’t able to do that, so they weren’t able to teach that to us.
Uh, so we’ve had to learn along the way. So when that interruption happens in that completion of the cycle, we can get this layering of armoring because we’ve moved into a defensive mode because we’ve moved into distractions. So, Things kind of get stuck in time in a way, and by the time we’re in our fifties or mid to late forties, our fifties, if you’ve lived a life, if you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone, even just a few times, you would’ve experienced failure as an adult.
And I’ve worked with many people as a counselor and a guide who really, the reason they were coming to me was because, They hadn’t completed that cycle after something, you know, negative, challenging. What they termed as a failure happened, they hadn’t really fully completed that cycle, so they were kind of, there was a little part of them that was sort of stuck in time, and that’s what I’m really referring to when I talk about this armory.
But if you can imagine that if you’ve had many experiences that you haven’t completed the emotional. Resolution or, or cycle with. Then you’ve got many layers of armoring. Now, when I talk about the emotional completion cycle that happens after a failure, I’m not saying that we come out the other side and we are Pollyanna and we just see everything amazing and good about that experience.
No. So sometimes we still might have regret, we still might. Think that if we could do it again, we would change some of our actions during that time. That is really normal, healthy part of being human. Uh, we don’t need to be at a hundred percent resolution to actually have a healthy relationship with that experience and to have it integrated and resolved in a way that we are not lugging it around with us energetically.
So that’s just the caveat on that. So if we have many of these interrupted experiences where we haven’t completed the cycle, we haven’t really resolved emotionally around these experiences, and we get this layering happening through the heart area, it’s sort of a, a defense or a hardening, then that is often one of the aspects that is part of when you, you wake up in your fifties, you wake up in midlife, And you realize you feel stuck, you realize you do not feel free in your emotions anymore.
You do not feel that expansiveness through the heart and that able to see life for the adventure that it is anymore. And you might, at some point during your forties, fifties, or sixties, realize that once you had that feeling, And now you don’t. And it’s not that it has matured into something wiser at all.
It’s actually that you feel armored and stuck around your heart area. And when, when that happens and it’s really normal that it happens, we just feel a bit stagnant and a bit stuck in our lives and our relationships and our responses. And maybe that it’s like, oh, just, you know, just so Decis says it all really.
Right. Just feeling really stuck in my life. And often what happens in midlife for many of us is we have some kind of a midlife crisis. So we either have a relationship end, a separation, a new relationship come along, a health scares someone close to us. Dies a change of work or career or business, a change of address, and they, you know, they, they vary in degrees of intensity.
And that can, that, that midlife crisis that happens, that midlife change that happens can be enough to start shaking things up in terms of that armoring. And when that happens, we might be having big feelings. We might have to be with our feelings and process some feelings that are arising, that are arising seemingly outside of our control.
But actually what it’s, and what it’s doing is breaking down that armoring that’s, that has layered up around your heart. But what I love about midlife is that we actually don’t need to go through a. Midlife crisis to actually have this experience of shaking things up, of creating change of unarm or dine around our heart and around our emotions, and.
Why is it important? Well, we know why it’s important, right? Because if we are so armored around our heart and around our emotions, well then we’re armored against joy and happiness and love and courage and connection. So whilst the armoring was sort of. There is a protective mechanism. In a way it is now preventing you from really living your life fully, wholeheartedly, freely as you.
And so this time in our life, it is really good to look inside ourselves and to check in. How much armory have I got around my heart? How much resentment am I holding? How much shame or guilt, or I’m not good enough? Am I carrying with me over those experiences that didn’t work out in my life, and could that armoring be preventing me from really showing up with that possibility and that potential that I know is in there somewhere?
But somehow I’ve lost contact with it, and it is a good time to check in with yourself. Is this your experience for yourself? And if it is, honestly, if it is, put your hand on your heart right now. As long as you’re not driving and just take a breath and know that you’re here. You’re here for yourself.
That potential that maybe you’ve lost contact with that sense of possibility that. Some days, many days you don’t feel it is still a part of you, it is still a natural part of you. It’s just hidden underneath these layers of armoring. And primarily this is why I work with women, and I think it’s such a really useful lens to see our experience through.
And this is what I see resolving as we do our work together. And then, It’s like this woman two months ago. We’ve started working now in this present moment, she is fully wholeheartedly herself in this moment, and it’s not like she is a different person to who she was. And this is what many clients said to me.
It’s more like they are more of themselves. More of the time that they are not held back by this emotional armoring that had been built up over the years. They are now way more free to be themselves. To show up in their fullest potentiality. And of course, if we are gonna show up, if we’re gonna play in this game of life fully as ourselves, it’s not always gonna feel comfortable.
It is gonna feel scary and we are gonna feel uncertain, that’s for sure. But, Wouldn’t you rather have those feelings show up, be along for the ride than just not showing up as you, just not being your fullest, truest sense of self in your life? Because honestly, if not now, when. When are we gonna do this?
Do not let comparison hold you back at this stage. If you are feeling this and you wanna break out of that armoring, do not compare yourself to other people. That is not a useful place for us to go right now. You are so unique. Your D n A is unique to you. Your cellular structure, your physical structure, your energetic structure, your spiritual self is unique to you and your life is unique to you.
And so our job, or our joy in this life is to show up more and more and more fully as ourselves with each year. And with each decade, and we can only do that when we look at what is in the way and when there is energetic armoring in the way and you recognize that it is good to do a little bit of inquiry or I don’t know, for you it might be a lot of inquiry.
And so, okay, so what are these incomplete cycles? What have I not. Integrated into myself. What emotionally, when I was going through a cycle of. Completion around a difficult experience, around a failure. In this example, what, what are the ones that got interrupted? Where am I carrying resentment? Where am I carrying blame for self or for other, and let me shake that up.
Let me shake that up so it no longer. Holds me in this cage because now is your time to show up in your unique way and your unique circumstance. Yeah, sometimes it’s scary, but I tell you, it is so, so worth it to show up more and more and more. Fully as ourselves. It is the elixir of life, and it is what makes our days so, so meaningful.
All right, my friends. I hope that has been really helpful. This piece, this little map of our experience, I think is so helpful to look at when we are feeling stuck. When we are feeling like, I don’t know which way to turn, when we are feeling like, I know there must be more than this. Look at the armory around our heart, around our emotions.
Look at what’s obvious first. Chip it away. Get some support if you need to share your experience with your friends. When we are connecting, we’re coming back together. We are feeling part of that community. And that is why I love it when people tell me what they found valuable out of the podcast episode that they listen to when they share their experience.
I really appreciate those of you that have been doing that. Love it. Thank you. It really feels for me like a share conversation when we can talk about, you know, what are the ahas that it brought up for you? What did you notice in your experience after you listened to whatever episode it was? Okay, my friend.
So much aroha to you. Go well this week, share this episode with a friend. Connect with me on Instagram. I’m on there fairly occasionally for sure, and I’ll speak to you next week. Bye for now.