Everyone has experienced failure at one point in their lives. A relationship going wrong, a poor financial decision, or a misstep in your career. Despite the terrible way that failure feels, there are ways to reframe of rationalizing it in order to make it a more positive experience. The act of reframing this emotion is a healthy way to deal with it and move on. The next time you feel like you’ve failed, consider thinking about it differently.
A learning experience: Sure, you failed, but did you learn from that failure? Did you gain a new outlook on life, obtain some new skills, or learn something that you didn’t know before? Attempting to see your failure as a learning experience is a beautiful way to reconcile the negative feelings of a perceived failure.
A first try: Just because you failed at something once doesn’t mean that you can’t try it again. Thinking about failure as a first try that didn’t exactly work the way you intended is a great way to reframe it as a positive experience. After all, the adage states: If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.
A necessary chance: Pretend it was your dream to start a business. Its all you thought about and couldn’t shake the feeling that you needed to try it to feel whole. How would you feel if you didn’t take the chance? If you did what you felt called to do and it didn’t pan out the way you wanted it to, that’s ok. At least you dared to make your dream a reality. Just think about how you would feel if you let fear get the best of you and you didn’t take the chance. Chalk it up to a life experience and move on.
As a way NOT to do it: Consider the business example above. If you failed at your initial attempt, consider it a prototype that didn’t quite pan out the way you intended. Some of the most celebrated inventors and business owners of all time failed multiple times before they created the incredible products they’re known for today. Having the concrete knowledge that a particular way of doing something is not the best way is some powerful knowledge to have.
Be gentle with yourself: No matter which way you choose to rationalize or reframe your failure, the most important thing to remember is to not be too hard on yourself. Allowing yourself to be ok with a failure is essential for your overall emotional well being. If you let your failures devastate you and rule over your life, you may develop a fear of failing, increased stress, or the desire to stop trying as a way to keep failure at bay. These emotions related to failure are detrimental to your daily life and can trigger other feelings of depression or anxiety.
Finally, know that you in good company. Everyone on this planet has felt like a failure at least once in their lives, even the most successful people you know. Understanding that failure is a part of life is an excellent way to make it seem less scary.
Carolyn Ehrlich LCSW, CGP specializes in Relationship Counseling NYC. I increase your self- awareness and help you gain more insight into your inner-life. We’ll work together so you can get more out of every day and meet any challenge life throws at you.