6 Essential Steps To Grow Through Failure…

6 Essential Steps To Grow Through Failure

Success and Failure

It has been said that our lives can be summarized by a series of successes and failures. Success is easy to grasp—something goes well for you and the Universe seems to open up.

Your recognition makes your popular at work, and that extra money in your pocket makes you boast that new material item with luster.

But what happens when we meet failure? This yin and yang balance is an important equilibrium, but it can often feel as though the low points are exceptionally drab.

Feelings of low self-worth, self-pity, and low self-esteem can tie themselves to your failure. But is this a justified response? If failure is as natural as success, how do we meet such an obstacle with grace and acceptance?

It’s hard not to get caught up emotionally when things don’t turn out the way we want. Frustration sets in when all that hard work turns out to be for nothing.

It’s disappointing when you put so much time, effort, energy, and excitement into someone or something that ends up going awry. What do you do when life gives you lemons?

Here are some steps to take to ease the stress and make damage control less painful.


1. Be an observer

Pretend to see the situation as an outsider. Get a bird’s eye view of the situation, and try to see the big picture. If you feel like everything is messed up, be specific about what you are experiencing.

How much of your problem is really a problem, and how much is your anxiety? Is so-and-so really mad at you, or do you just think they are mad? Get the facts by observing the situation with a fresh perspective.

2. Tell someone

Talking about your problems might be difficult, but opening up about your feelings is a sign of emotional maturity. It is also necessary to allow the gifts of love, acceptance, and forgiveness inside.

Ask for a trusted friend to simply listen, not necessarily offering advice, and speak exactly what it is you are experiencing.

You will feel so much better, and may be able to see your situation with more clarity when it is shared.

3. Consider your options

It might be good to talk this one through, too. Write down your options.

Consider every option, even if t seems silly at the time. Sometimes, the solution is right in front of our face, but it takes looking at it in a different light before we can recognize it.

4. Sometimes it’s best not to act

What you don’t say or do can be just as important as what you do. The key in damage control is to stop. Think. Wait.

When emotions are strong, they can sometimes speak for themselves, rather than allowing your head to think through your options and find a more tactful way to say something. In yoga, this is called satya, or speaking the truth.

When we are emotional, we tend to say things what we don’t mean, and that is the same thing as not speaking the truth. Satya also refers to holding your tongue, because telling the truth would cause harm or pain to someone.

Sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all.

5. Brace yourself

Make sure you have a backup plan. What happens when you fail? When the job is gone, the relationship is over, or that thing is ruined, what will happen next? If you find yourself baffled by this question, you might end up reaching for an unhealthy fix which can be more damaging in the long run. What has been your pattern? Do you reach for drugs, alcohol, or locking yourself in your room surrounded by greasy Chinese take-out and pizza boxes in the face of failure? Do you demonstrate self-defeating behaviors in other ways?

Make a plan to head off the trouble before you get in too deep.

Pick a safety person; someone you can count on to be there when you need to talk. Let them know that you are in a bad place and might need a pick-me-up. Chances are, just knowing someone is behind you will ease the fall.

Also, think about what else you might need. If money is going to be a problem, conserve your resources.

Don’t go on that shopping spree, hold off on investing in that extra thing you don’t really need right now, and unfreeze that credit card.

If you are going to need a place to stay, start looking around. Being prepared will help your failure to be much less damaging.

6. It’s okay

Everybody fails. Everybody. It’s okay. You are okay.

I don’t have any easy advice for this part. I completely understand the immense sense of self-pity that accompanies failure of any magnitude.

Believe me, it will not last. Failure follows the same rules as grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Practicing yoga as you heal will make the transition through each stage easier. Make time for morning meditation, pranayama, asanas, proper diet, and relaxation.

Avoid staying in bed all day, eating carbs and sugar, and forgetting about the yoga studio. This will only make you feel worse. And whoever said “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” speaks a little bit truth.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and you will learn valuable lessons that will last a lifetime like acceptance and compassion. Maybe a touch of humility, too.

Om Shanti.


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April Saunders

April Saunders is the founder and design director for VIE, a boutique yoga and wellness studio in Okemos, Michigan. After…

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