What point do you accept yourself? Think about it. Do you consider yourself more an ally or an enemy? How do you manage failure? Take a look back and reflect on some of the most important moments of your life: how did you treat yourself?
Surely not always in the best way, especially when the failure showed its head or the consequences of what you did were not desired.
You are probably quite demanding of yourself, at least when the results do not meet your expectations. In fact, surely if they gave you the option to change something of what happened or even of yourself, you would. The question is, do you accept yourself as you are?
Fear of failure
At some point in our lives, we all have to face the great challenge of accepting ourselves. An issue that apparently shouldn’t be so complex, but it really is.
We are terrified to look in the mirror, discover who we really are , because we do not always behave as we would like or meet the expectations we have created about us.
Moreover, in some moments we get ashamed of how we are. We just have to think about the times we have lamented about something we have done. Now why? Because failure doesn’t suit us well.
A deep malaise invades us when the reality we desire has nothing to do with the reality we have . In fact, the greater the difference, the more painful the feelings we experience. The scenario we had imagined collapses and there is nothing left but to try to adapt to what happened.
Failure introduces us into a vacuum, a vacuum that hurts us the same or more than any wound, that challenges us and confronts each of us. What happens is that we do not like uncomfortable feelings and therefore we usually avoid the pain resulting from each failure.
Sometimes, we quit and sometimes we hardly try and opt for something less challenging and easier. Something that momentarily relieves us, but that does not last long because we can be in danger again, since it is not easy to protect yourself from failure. Then we get stuck, we stay, we don’t move forward, we stay there, in our security zone.
How to relate to failure?
Despite this state of calm provided by our comfort zone , there are certain risks if we choose to remain attached to that feeling of security. One of the most dangerous is the impossibility of moving forward, of continuing to grow. Hence, it is most appropriate to modify the relationship we have with the failure.
For this, it is important that we remind ourselves that failure is part of life. And no, it is not something extraordinary or a self-help phrase, there are many examples that confirm it.
For example, Albert Einstein did not pass the entrance exam of the prestigious Swiss Polytechnic Institute and Steven Spielberg tried several times to enter the School of Theater, Film and Television at the University of Southern California, but his low average grade prevented him.
However, I am sure that each of us has enough examples to confirm that failure is common and that, on many occasions, thanks to this we have discovered other directions and other learning. A failure is an opportunity, a first sketch, an eraser that helps us achieve something better.
Now, failure can also be seen as feedback for us. It is an opportunity to reflect on what we have done, what does not work and what could work better.
Beyond failure: the reconstruction process
As soon as our mind detects that we have failed, it begins to criticize, reproach and blame us . We are experts in latigarnos and remind us how bad we have done and how little we are worth.
Now, if punishing ourselves were a valid strategy to modify our behavior and achieve success, wouldn’t we be perfect? So why do we keep doing it?
The English doctor and psychotherapist Russ Harris usually uses an old proverb to raise awareness about it: if you want a donkey to pull the car, you can use a stick or a carrot for it. That is, you can cause him to do so reluctantly if you hit him with the stick or you can put a carrot in front of him, but he can’t reach until he reaches the car and give it to him as a reward. With both strategies you will achieve your goal, but if you use the stick the donkey will be unhappy, while if you use the carrot, it will be happy.
Our mind usually uses the stick strategy more than that of the carrot, throws us a large number of negative reviews and we end up trapped in the blame game: ” idiot “, ” failed “, ” could not do worse “, ” no you are useless «,« what a waste of time «,« Why does this always have to happen to me? «,« I have no choice «,« I shouldn’t have acted like this «…
The point is that whatever it is that hits us, it will not help us to accept the discomfort of failure or to grow or learn from the experience. Quite the opposite. So how can we recover when we fail? The following keys can help us:
- Disengage from unhelpful thoughts -> We have to identify the thoughts that hinder our path and make us feel bad, those beliefs that blame us, but do not provide solutions. To do this, we can tell ourselves that our mind is beginning with the story of the loser.
- Allowing yourself to experience painful feelings -> Accepting discomfort, opening yourself to pain and observing how it affects us is essential. In this way, we release that burden that weighs us and we can continue.
- Treat ourselves well -> An error, a failure, does not have to be a reason to mistreat us. We have to be kind to ourselves, accompany and support each other. Reproaching will not solve what happened.
- Valuing what has worked and any kind of improvement -> Recognizing and valuing everything we have done is a great gesture of kindness towards us. Our effort deserves to be recognized, just like everything we have done well and with what we can stay.
- Discover something that helps us learn and grow -> In each of us, there is always something that can be useful. To do this, we can ask ourselves how we can grow from what happened. Let’s not forget that every failure is also an opportunity to move forward.
- Act according to our values -> This is one of the most important aspects that will help us to relate to failure in another way. Because if we act based on what we want, those pillars that we consider as fundamental, it will be difficult for us to consider negatively failure.
As we see, failure can be very painful, but it is still a wonderful opportunity to meet us if we are willing to learn it.