Feeling hurt and sad when you’ve failed to achieve something, regardless of how big or small it may be, is only natural. But dwelling on past failures is painful and keeps us from moving forward. Oftentimes, in an effort to avoid future feelings of disappointment, we let opportunities pass us by. We stop trying out of fear of failing again.
Today, we’ll be discussing 9 of the most useful ways to overcome the pain of failure that will help you shift your focus toward moving on with your life.
1. Don’t feel threatened by failure.
Have you ever heard the saying, "Once a failure, always a failure?"
Unfortunately, too many people take this literally to the point of thinking they will never succeed again. Such negative thoughts do nothing but hold you back. Once this mindset takes over, you will be crippled by an overwhelming fear of failure that will prevent you from reaching your full potential. If you are to move forward and lead a fulfilling life, you must overcome these negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Your desire to succeed should be stronger than your fear of failing. As you bravely venture into the unknown while being guided by your objectives, let your dreams inspire you.
Just like in children, mental wellbeing declines the moment their parents forbid them to engage in independent activity. If you deprive yourself of opportunities to grow and succeed, you will be stuck in a cage. While you think you’re eliminating your risks of failure, you’re limiting the pleasure of overcoming.
2. There is nothing wrong with feeling sad.
When you fail to achieve your goals, deep feelings of anxiety, sadness, shame, and anger take over—it’s only natural. In fact, you could go as far as saying it’s important to feel hurt after a failure. Rather than forcefully suppressing these feelings and emotions, use them to your advantage. Instead of feeling bad and wallowing in your own self-pity, use these feelings as your drive to do better and to improve future performance. Feeling wrong and recognizing a mistake are really different. It’s not until we notice what occurred does shame or regret seep into the moment. Sitting with the emotions to recognize and process feels icky at first but that goes away. Staring at a mistake is not where the good stuff happens. Resolving what was gained and lost and accepting– applying some self compassion makes the next opportunity more rich.
3. Develop healthy habits to stay healthy.
If you haven’t already, start a healthy habit. Go for walks, practice breathing exercises, take a bubble bath, meet with family and friends; anything that keeps your mind clear and free from negative thoughts. Draw up a list of healthy habits or activities that you might enjoy, decide on a few that you like, and make an effort to practice them on a regular basis. Who knows? One of these healthy habits might even be the secret to your success!
4. Avoid picking up bad habits.
As a response to failure, some people turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to dull the pain that they feel. However, the escape and relief these may provide is only temporary. Ultimately, drug and alcohol addiction will make things worse and do more harm than good. But beyond substance use, avoid unhealthy, maladaptive coping mechanisms to deal with your disappointment. It’s best to avoid picking up bad habits and instead focus on learning skills that can help you heal in a healthier way.
5. Take reasonable responsibility for your failure.
It is ineffective and impossible to make up for what actually occurred, to pretend that something isn't true, or to ignore the underlying reason why events played out the way they did. While taking on too much responsibility for the failure might make you uneasy and cause unnecessary tension, not taking responsibility for your actions will prevent you from learning from your mistakes. Consider the choices you made and the circumstances that resulted in your failure, and make sure you won't repeat them. Make an attempt to determine precisely why events happened in the manner they did, acknowledge whatever errors you may have made, and concentrate on deriving knowledge from them.
6. Study yourself.
While many people feel disheartened after a failure, others take failures as an opportunity to learn about and improve themselves. Where do you fit in? What mistakes have you made? What areas are you lacking in? By digging deep and learning about yourself, you’re able to turn your failures into valuable life lessons and use the knowledge gained to achieve your goals.
7. Keep looking ahead.
Avoid spending too much time dwelling on what went wrong. Ruminating will not help you. It is impossible to see where you are going when you are looking backwards. Additionally, concentrating on your previous mistakes can keep you chained to your present situation. Planning your next step and moving on are much more crucial than looking back at past failures.
8. Take inspiration from failures that led to success.
History is filled with stories of men and women who’ve all failed at some point in their lives but went on to become major successes in their respective areas. The one thing these people all had in common was that they didn’t let their failures stop them from experimenting and trying out new things. Learning about these people’s past failures and how they overcame them can be a great source of inspiration for you to overcome your own shortcomings.
9. Learn to accept your failures.
Running away from failures or trying to avoid them won't ever help you learn anything. Failure is just a part of life as you go along, and the sooner you start looking at setbacks as opportunities for growth, the sooner you will attain your full potential. Failure does not exist by accident. You can get the knowledge you need from it to succeed. Every failure you experience teaches you more and moves you closer to achievement. If you adopt this mindset, you will perceive failure differently. You'll view each setback as a teaching moment.
Don’t take failure as a sign of defeat. While it’s impossible to completely avoid and prevent failure, the above steps should hopefully help you manage and mitigate the aftermath. If you’re still struggling with failure and feel like nothing is helping, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
You can get assistance from Solstice. We will help you go one step closer to realizing your full potential, and we won't let one failure define your entire life. No matter how overwhelmed you might feel, never forget that there are people out there dedicated to helping you overcome failure and move on with your life.