Learning to face failure is a huge step in managing mental health. If you can face failure with confidence it will boost your self-esteem and ease the emotions that come with failure.
EVERYONE experiences failure, in all walks of life! It is said, failure is often the road to success. However, sometimes (especially if you struggle with mental illness) failure can be very hard to get over. But, when you learn to have a failure plan and you learn strategies to approach failure with confidence it makes failure more manageable.
5 Ways to Face Failure with Confidence:
1) Learn from it
Failure often brings out emotions such as fear, weakness, stress, hurt, embarrassment, and anger. But it can also promote strength, courage, focus, and determination.
- Try to look at the failure critically. Why did I fail? What could I have done differently? Was it out of my control? Look at the facts only (not the emotions).
- Now take a mental break from thinking about it (emotions are raw and real right now)
- Come back to your factual answers – Can you learn from the facts? Can you change your plan/goals to be successful next time?
Ex: I fell off my diet and ate a bag of Oreos. I feel like a failure. I feel sick.
Why did I fail? Because I had a bag of Oreos in the cupboard.
What can I do differently? Don’t buy Oreos or buy portion control sized bags.
Next time I will buy portion control sized bags to prevent the overindulgence. I recognize I still need a treat.
2) Don’t Take it Personally
Way easier said than done! Separate the failure from you as a person or your identity. Failing at a task does not reflect on your character (unless you are an asshole).
Ex: I did not get the job I applied for. This does not mean I am a failure. It means there was someone more qualified. I will find the right job for my skills.
3) The 24-Hour Rule
Allow yourself only 24-hours to feel all the emotions (fear, anger, embarrassment, frustration, doubt) Emotions are never bad, we are able to learn from them. If we dwell on them, dive into them and soak, that is when we spiral out of control. Give yourself 24-hours to think about and feel your failure and then it is time to move on. (You should have your Failure Plan already laid out) You can not change what happened, but can you learn from it.
4) Flip Your Thinking
If you are like me, it is so easy to fall into that emotions hole. Your brain works overtime telling you everything that is wrong and how bad you are. But you can flip that thinking.
Rather than thinking “If I fail I am a loser. I don’t deserve success/happiness/wealth.” Try thinking “If this doesn’t go as planned I have learnt A, B, and C.” or “That didn’t work, now I am going to try a different strategy and I am one step closer to my goal.”
5) Let Go of Others Expectations of You
This might be the hardest one. We are engrained to make others happy (our parents, teachers, partners, children). We often fear failure because we feel we will let other people down.
Ex: If I don’t get this job, my parents will be disappointed.
Letting go of others expectations does not mean that you stop caring about those people or that you don’t want to make them happy. It means you detach their feelings from your goals.
If my parents are disappointed, it is not at me, it is that I didn’t get the job. I will apply at more places.
The key to this one is detachment from other people’s emotions.
I had a friend recently lose a job, I felt horrible for her. I stewed about it, I talked to other friends about it. I truly empathized with her. Then I had to stop. I sympathize and empathize with her – but these are not MY emotions. I can support her and listen to her. But I do not need to feel her hurt and fear.
Facing failure is not easy and it brings with it many emotions. But if you can approach it less emotionally and more intellectually you will feel the sting less and for a shorter period of time.
Fake it Til You Make It!
~ Lacey ~