First, what is failure? Failure is generally defined as an absence or lack of success. To fail is to have fallen short of accomplishing a goal.
Many believe that failure is a necessary part of being human—as a rite of passage. And that it should be welcomed and embraced. Failure is said to make one stronger and wiser. Failure supposedly helps with better decision making and critical thinking.
Let’s say the aforementioned thoughts are accurate. Do failures define us? The answer is both yes and no.
Failure defines one’s reality to the degree a person allows. If you experience persistent deep-rooted dejection and defeat after experiencing “failure,” then not only have you fallen short of a goal, but you have also laid out a welcome mat for fear and doubt to take up residence in your mind.
Having an “I’m a failure” mindset can lead to negative thinking, social comparison, and self-sabotaging behaviors such as procrastination, self-medicating, comfort eating, and various forms of mental self-injury.
The key to moving past failure is to contextualize failure for what it is. To fail is to learn. Failing is learning. So, whenever you fall short of a goal, you can say to yourself, “I’ve failed” or “I have learned.” You can say, “I am a failure.” Better yet, you should say, “I am a learner.” The choice is yours.
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Featured image: Nutcraker