This article is one of the Unity Classics written by legendary leaders of Unity. Some date back decades, even a century. That’s why the language may seem a bit formal, and the writers sometimes used masculine nouns and pronouns that were considered proper for their era.

In the game of life, the winner is the one who always remembers that we don’t have to let people or conditions determine how we are going to think or feel or act.

We take responsibility for our own life, choosing always to respond to things from the highest and most positive perspective.

You may have set out to build a small business. Somehow it never worked out, and you had to accept foreclosure. This has all the makings of a dark experience, leaving you with scars that may keep you from trying again to succeed for fear of failing. It could leave you enchained to a poor self-image. But this need not be the result. You can put a positive spin on the occurrence. You always have a choice. You can determine that the apparent failure was an important part of your growth, an important learning experience. 

Is Failure Really Failure?

Failure is not necessarily a bad thing. Thomas Edison failed hundreds of times. He was a researcher, and failure is what it is all about. In fact, research is the art of successful failure. With every failed experiment, Edison knew he was that much closer to the test that would succeed in revealing a new process, such as the incandescent light bulb. 

You may have terminated your marriage of many years through the failure of two people to find communication and reconciliation. You may feel that you are a failure, especially after going into the relationship with such great expectations. Again the principle is that no experience is good or bad; what counts is how you view it. 

It has been said that marriage is an important opportunity to grow. And you will grow, unless you permit the experience to form a block in your consciousness. 

Turning Tombstones Into Signposts

Now, you may say that is all well and good for the present, but what of the failures and losses and heartaches of the years? “The past is beyond control,” you say.

The occurrences of yesteryear or even of yesterday are history. No matter how much you desire it or how hard you try, you can’t have them back to live over again. But your thoughts and memories of them are in the present and very much transformable. 

The road from your past may be strewn with scores of tombstones, such as, “Here lie my greatest hopes that were dashed in this tragic occurrence,” or “Here lies my enthusiasm for life which was shattered by what he (or she) did to me.” And you may add, “So you see, the history of my life is set in stone, and there is nothing I can do about it now.” Of course, you cannot alter what is buried there, but you can change the writing on the tombstone, reshaping it into a signpost. 

The prophet Joel said, “I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). He is not saying that you can have the years back to live over again. But you can alter your thoughts about them. 

Make a point of analyzing all these tombstones of the mind.

Admit that the basic problem is not what happened, but what you did or did not do about it.

The years referred to by the prophet Joel can be restored, not by living them over again, but through revising their place and power in your life history. 

What is required of you is simply that with which you are entirely finished. As the butterfly gives up its cocoon, you must let go. This can be done by changing your thought now about what happened “back there.” Put a new spin on what happened; see it all in the bright light of your present spiritual awareness of the omnipresence of good. Soon all the tombstones along the way will be altered to read, “I came, I experienced, I grew, I let go, and I have pushed on to the high calling of God.” 

With a newly formed vision of what life is and can be, get on with it. Oh, there may still be those times when you are not fulfilling your potential. Just remember, no matter what happens in you or to you, you can always put the right spin on everything. And this means that you are finally taking charge of your life. 

Adapted from the article “Be Your Own Spin-Doctor” by Eric Butterworth which originally appeared in Unity Magazine®.