Failure is an inescapable part of life. Be it exams, friendships, relationships, marriage or careers, it is an imminent cloud looming over our lives that it eventually going to rain on our parade. What we fail to realize is that failure is a necessity of life rather than an obstacle. Without it none of us would be the people we are today as we wouldn’t have learnt half the lessons of life we were supposed to. Failure is teaching method life uses to us mould into stronger, better and experienced humans, as the saying goes what doesn’t kill makes you stronger.
However all this clarity and teaching philosophies go out of the window when we are actually going through that lowest point in our lives. This is also made harder by society and its complete lack of room for failure and it is not moulded to help individuals deal with failure. Whilst experiencing failure is important, the way we actually face it is even more important for if we don’t it can lead to disastrous consequences.
Allow yourself to grieve, wallow and feel sorry for yourself because you need to. Having a good cry over it not only allows you to let go of your emotions but also cleanses your body in a way. You probably put in a lot of time and effort only for it all to come crashing down so do let it all out but do not go on being emotional over it for months on end. There comes a time for you to stop feeling sorry yourself and to get up and do something about it. Whatever happened, happened and you can’t change the past but you can change the future.
Whether it is friends, family or even a therapist make sure you are surrounded by people who understand you and what you’re going through and who won’t kick you when you’re down as the people around you can make you want to get up and face life or just give up.
If you feel like you do need to distance yourself from people that is also fine. Take time to reflect and focus on you before turning to others for support.
Failure can be a valuable learning curve, painful as it may be. So go back and think on the situation. Having to go through failure is useless if you don’t come out of it a better, stronger person and chances are you will repeat your mistakes in the future too. So think about your actions, behaviour, how you handled yourself, were you the wrong party and if so why? What can you do to better yourself?
Now that you know what your mistakes were, if it related to a job or exam think about how you’re going to approach the next opportunity. Are you going to resit the exam? If so make a study schedule, don’t stress out this time, go for extra classes if need be and try to approach the exam differently. Complaining about having to go through it will only make it more difficult, instead focus on the fact that this will get you one step closer to the career of your dreams. If you didn’t get the job see where you went wrong in the interview, how you conducted yourself or in case of a failed promotion look at your work from an objective point of view and where you can improve.
Being Sri Lankan means that we all have relations or random strangers unnecessarily curious about our business and being very critical of it too meaning failure in any capacity is never looked kindly upon. However no one can make you feel inferior unless you allow them. Failure is a minor setback in life not the end of the world. So own your failures and don’t shy away when people remark or question you about it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and ultimately their opinion of you doesn’t matter. Your failure may be a part of you but it is not a definition of you.
Going through the same thing a second time can be hard but make sure you have a strong goal and are more focused the second time around. Even with a relationship don’t jump to conclusions that this too will fail instead keep an open mind and do try to avoid the mistakes you have made in the previous one.
These are just temporary cures that don’t solve anything other than increase your problems. Not only does it harm you but also your loved ones. Failure doesn’t take away anything from who you are, so resorting to these is never the answer.
Growing up, failure was a taboo topic for a lot of us. It was never received well or discussed and often we were left alone to figure out how to get through it. Today there is more discussion and even the people that inspire us such as public figures, celebrities or even friends openly discuss how they got through it. So do share your story with others especially the younger generation who actually need support in this competitive world where failure is never an option. If you can even help one person get through a low point in their life that itself is an achievement.