Personal Failures: What to do When You’ve Failed Yourself

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Failure is difficult to deal with in all aspects of our lives. Most days we might be on top of everything and succeeding in all our dreams—other days things might go wrong. We expect a certain outcome and fall short, or we don’t live up to our own expectations; we’re disappointed with our personal failure.

If you’ve ever looked at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself how you got to that point, you know how difficult it is to realize you are not living up to the person you thought you were.

Personal Failures – When we let Ourselves Down

Today I would like to address personal failure—not professional or academic failures, but the pain you feel when you let yourself down on a deeper level and have failed yourself.

Personal failures can be the ones that are the hardest to accept and move past. Although failure is a part of life and will inevitably touch each and everyone of us whether it be romantically, professionally, or spiritually, personal failures hurt on a deeper lever.

Contrary to the common failures we will face within our lives, personal failures are difficult to move past because the responsibility of those failures is our alone.

When the core values you uphold as a person are questioned, and you’ve seriously fucked up, you realize that you’ve failed to be the type of person you wanted to present to the world, it can be very difficult to accept. Whether your personal failure was as small as a white lie to a friend, or as large as cheating on a significant other, you will likely feel a dissonance within yourself as you struggle to understand and overcome just how shitty you’ve acted.

Below, I’ve outlined a few tips that have helped me accept my own shortcomings and that have helped me grow as a person.

1. Embrace your emotions

When you face a personal shortcoming, whatever it may be, you will likely feel a wave of negative emotions. Your mind might spiral into self hatred, you might feel scared for yourself and you might question everything about who you are.

I advise letting those feelings in—do not push them away or try to block them out. Do not linger on the thoughts or accept them as truth, but listen to your mind and meditate on what is happening within yourself.

Doing so will help you understand why your brain is thinking in the way it is and will give you insight into the relationship you have with yourself.

2. Accept Responsibility

The key to moving past any personal failure is to accept responsibility for your actions. Ask yourself why you didn’t live up to your values—what exactly caused you to fail yourself? Once you accept that the responsibility is yours, you can look at ways to understand and cope with that knowledge.

Below are a few tips which have helped me cope

3. Talk about it

Often when we’ve failed ourselves, we might feel the need to hide away from the world what we’ve done.

This is a defense mechanism, but an unhealthy one. Keeping everything bottled inside yourself is going to make you feel worse and alone.

Instead, reach out to friends, family, or close ones and explain to them what has happened and ask for guidance and understanding.

If reaching out to those close to you seems too difficult, consider talking with a counselor or therapist about what has happened.

The important part is to get your thoughts and feelings into the world so you do not isolate and overthink by yourself.

4. Do not let the failure define you

Too often when a personal shortcoming feels too difficult to move past, we define ourselves by it.

If you have hurt your best friend in an angry outburst, for example, you might consider that you are an emotionally violent person and stay fixated on that emotional response.

Do not define yourself by your failures. We often fall short of the ideal version of ourselves—it is a flaw of the human condition. Strive to learn from them and understand that you are not perfect but are working on being better every day.

Failures can be something that happen, but we have the choice to not let them be what we are.

5. Learn from your failures

Some failures might have far-reaching consequences such as losing a valued friendship, or a significant other. When you face your own failure, it is important to learn and grow from it. Sometimes the consequences are inevitable and will leave you confused and hurt, but if you learn from the experience and work to increase your self-esteem, values, and worth as a person, you will have done all you can to better yourself and grow as a person.

Learn from your failures and strive to develop emotional maturity. Doing so will help prevent another failure of the same kind.

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