How Do You Bounce Back From Failure?
Failure is one life’s toughest teachers and it’s always there to tell us a thing or two about what we did wrong. Often times, it feels harsh, unsolicited and downright hurtful. Other times it feels like it’s there, looking back at us from over our shoulders, always hitting those shame and guilt buttons we have deep inside.
Every time failure sets in, there’s also an emotional storm raging inside us – some of us have the ability to weather this storm with more ease, while others go straight through it, leaving no parts of themselves unscathed. But what if there’s a way to look at failure differently and bounce back from it with new-found strength? Here’s how you can achieve this internal shift regarding failure:
1. Reframe the Setback Realistically
When we face failure in our lives we tend to go back to it over and over in our minds and endlessly ruminate everything that happened, without really going anywhere. We place the event in the same light every time we revisit it, without really creating a new context around it. The challenge is to, first of all, be honest with yourself and admit failure in the most objective possible way, without exaggerating the downsides of indulging in your negative feelings.
The next step is to release all emotions when you replay the events in your mind and try to implement counterfactual thinking. You can do this by replaying the events back in your mind and think about what you could’ve done differently, so you wouldn’t be facing this outcome now. This kind of exercise will help you become more responsible, instead of playing the victim and submitting to your emotions, while also providing a valuable lesson for your future endeavors.
2. Don’t Stay in Failure for Too Long
Truly resilient people are able to leave this defeatism scenario early on, while also allowing themselves to feel hurt by their failure. Resilience is actually built on failure, by learning the right lessons and keeping your eyes on the prize. There are so many famous inventors and artists that have failed countless times, yet they didn’t surrender to this negative-colored context and kept striving to obtain the desired results.
JK Rowling, the famous Harry Potter novels author, wrote her first manuscript after a failed marriage, with a small baby she needed to care for all by herself, while her living means were meager and insufficient. And as if this wasn’t enough, she sent her manuscript to twelve different publishing houses only to have her mailbox filled with rejection letters before she finally got accepted. There are many such cases of resilience throughout history, just as there are cases of people who quit on their dreams and goals just before they could reach them. It’s important to get back up and connect yourself with your ‘why’ and empowering emotions as often as you can.
3. Reconnect to What Makes You Happy
Dwelling too long on the negatives can dull your senses, your ability to clearly perceive your life’s purpose and your natural tendency to navigate towards what makes you happy. After each failure, it’s important to take the time and reconnect yourself to what really and truly makes you happy at the time being.
It doesn’t really matter what it is – it may be dancing by yourself in the dark, wandering aimlessly in long walks or singing out from the top of your lungs. It needs to be an activity that solely fulfills you, regardless of what other people say. An activity that heightens your feelings of joy, excitement, satisfaction, and involvement. Whatever it is, engaging in this type of activity after failures will reconnect you with who you truly are and give you the sense of meaningfulness that was perhaps lost in the process. The pursuit of happiness is something we all need to engage in from time to time, regardless of our minor or major setbacks.
Ultimately, failure still remains life’s biggest teachers, regardless of how harsh its teaching style is. By paying enough attention to what new lesson it brings us regarding ourselves and the world, we may be able to bounce back from it sooner, while also finding new and better ways to achieve our goals the second time around.
About the Author
‘Claudia Spataru is a free spirit located in Bucharest, Romania and always in search of answers to life’s greatest questions. She loves to understand how people work, what makes them tick and find ways to help them reach higher grounds. She adores the sea, traveling and laughing.’