Failure and how to deal with it

Growing up, failure was not an option for me. As a young kid, my parents encouraged me to study and really do my best in school. My mom was really devoted in my education; she always supervised me whenever I was doing homework and actively participated in parent-teacher consultations.

Every year in grade school I would end up receiving top honors in class. It was inevitable. It was almost as if I was wired not to fail or not experience failure, at least, and whenever I did my defeats were always overshadowed by an even bigger victory.

I’ve had bigger failures since teen angst kicked in, since I opened myself to a world beyond my comfort zone. Since then, I’ve had failures that were too great to be eclipsed by any milestone I’d achieved. For someone so used to getting what I want and how I want it, I struggled with the idea of losing my grip on things. Failing is one thing, but failing yourself and those who believe in you is another. Having all those wrapped into one dealt me a blow that was ten times heavier than any I’d ever experienced.

Getting over failures is easier said than done. It took me a while before I finally learned how to deal with it. Why? Aside from the fact that I wasn’t used to it, it somehow felt like my failures were etched on my skin like a tattoo for the world to see and I wasn’t comfortable feeling bare and being judged simply for my mistakes.

Naturally, I was told not to let my failures define me. I was advised to not take things personally. Shrug them off. Move on. Sure it worked for a while, but it never really gave me peace. I realized that all I was doing was simply just covering up a wound with Band Aid, without really tending to it first. I realized that all I was doing was set them aside for a while, until they come crawling back in like a thief in the night.

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Recognizing my failures was an important step in getting past that roadblock. No, I did not (and still do not) let my failures define me, but I did not ignore the fact that my failures factor into how I was molded into the person that I am today. It’s all about acceptance; about making peace with the things you can’t change or fight off.

By accepting my failures I was able to understand where I went wrong. By not being blind to the mess I made of things, I was able to deconstruct it and analyze how I could’ve done better. Very simply, I learned and I adapted.

It’s very easy to get discouraged. Getting a failing mark, losing a game, not getting the job we’ve been hoping for—these are things that you will most likely encounter in your lifetime. These are all normal experiences. And by normal I mean these are things you can bounce back from and life can still go on as usual.

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I always remember this Japanese proverb: Fall seven times, stand up eight. It’s okay to contemplate things. It’s okay to recognize that you made a mistake. What’s not okay, however, is when you dwell on it far more than you should.

I easily get affected by things—I easily get sad and depressed. And that’s okay. Sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay. But you have to remember that the show must go on. You must pick yourself up. You mustn’t be afraid to stand up and face your demons. Always.

I have a friend in law school that used to make me feel bad because she said she hasn’t failed academically, whereas I had failed at two subjects. It was insensitive for her to say, but I know better not to listen. Somehow, I am thankful for my failures. They have made me a stronger individual, and much more well-learned.

There’s a reason for why things happen. There’s a reason for why we have failures in life—and that’s to teach us a lesson. Failures humble you, make you more empathic. They strengthen us and, to a certain extent, make us better people.

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17 Comments

  1. The singer Anastacia recently made a point about failure-that there are only setbacks. Keep doing what you do-and thanks for commenting on my post earlier!

  2. This is such an inspiring post and so relatable. I believe things don’t happen for no reason so we must accept what comes to us and just react in a way that will make us feel better. I was having such a hard time at my grad job and ended up quitting. At first I was so ashamed and felt like I was a failure but then I realized it was a good thing, I could do things I like and I moved onto a job that I love! xx corinne

    1. I agree. Failures are just temporary setbacks that oftentimes lead us to bigger, better things. I’m glad that you’re in a much better and happier place now especially with your job. xx

  3. This is a brilliant post! I’m sure so many people can relate to this! It is something everyone must go through at some stage in their life and reading this made me feel so much better!xx

  4. Failuresalways get me so down. It’s something I think I really need to learn how to cope with, since it doesn’t come naturally to just take it in stride. But I loved that quote about falling down seven times and getting up eight — that’s the right attitude and the one to strive for!

    xx
    Emily
    emilyhallock.blogspot.com

    1. Thank you! That quote is really just my mantra whenever I’m feeling down. It’s really important to always pick yourself up and to not be defeated by failure, no matter how big or small.

  5. This is a great post! I too excelled under my mums watch in primary school and failure was just not something I did. I was always the overachiever, able to do little to no work and still do better than most of my class. When I got older and things got bigger I failed a few times and like you found it really hard to cope with as I wasn’t used to it! So it’s great to read that someone else went throug that and how you coped!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

    1. Thank you so much! Really glad to find someone who can relate to this. It’s really hard to cope with failure especially when people (especially parents) have such high expectations of you. I’m happy that you were able to power through those tough times. Stay strong!

  6. This is really brave post of you to write and I can totally relate to it. The quotes you have on here are really inspiring and great to look back at when feeling down.

  7. This is so inspiring! I’ve always felt so much pressure not to fail, but over recent months I’ve realised that it’s a great way to learn and improve! x

  8. This is a great post and funny enough, I actually started writing a post on failure earlier today! I didn’t get very far yet, only a paragraph or two. It’s very difficult to put into words actually. Failure is something we all contend with personally <3

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