Failures, we all have them.
Whether you quit your diet or workout program or fail to reach a goal you’ve wanted so badly, you can taste it. These are basic examples of personal failures, but there is no need to spell them out for you.
Because we have all been there.
Failure sucks whether it is your fault or a series of circumstances have conspired against you. Whether this failure is big or small, it feels the same in your gut, at least temporarily. Now, advice gurus will tell you that failure is part of the process and is expected in this thing called life.
You’re advised to fail forward, learn from mistakes, put them in your rearview mirror, or fail better. This is well-meaning advice, but what if your failures haunt you like Casper the Friendly ghost? What do you do then?
There are no easy answers, so let’s explore this using yours truly as an N=1 example.
A Past Failure Can Be Paralyzing
On a highly personal level, I have a problem with anger, particularly aggressive anger. This anger has gotten the better of me time and time again. No matter all the techniques and therapy to try to put a dampener on it, it can still rear its ugly head at any moment.
And this haunts me.
Sometimes I get stuck in my head, and these past failures play like an endless loop, and quite frankly, it can be paralyzing. Failure thoughts usually don’t stop me from doing stuff, but it puts me in a shitty frame of mind. Then if others around me are lucky, I will take this out on them.
If something else I failed at crops up for some reason simultaneously, then everything else can grind to a halt. Does any of this sound familiar?
Yes, you have moved on, failed forward, etc., but at random times, past failures come back to haunt you. It cannot only haunt you but also stop you from doing what you want to because you don’t want to experience it again. You don’t want another failure on your resume, as that feeling sucks.
Here’s How I Deal With A Past Failure….Now
I’m very fortunate to be able to afford a therapist whom I pay to listen to my issues not related to mental illness.
My therapist is fantastic at sorting through my junk and calling me out on the false narratives I feed myself. During a recent session, I was talking about the subject of this article and how it influences my current behavior.
His solution is simple but challenging.
He said,” Sooner or later, this thought or action will leave your current thoughts and drop from your current state of mind. It is up to you whether you drop it now or later. Why cause you all this mental anguish between now and then by thinking about it?’ Drop it and move on. You can’t change it, but you will learn from it.’
Dropping it is easier said than done. The simple act of saying to yourself, ‘ drop it,’ is a refreshing slap in the face to stop this constant loop of failure thinking from taking over your mindset. If this resonates with you and you can relate, tell yourself to drop it. Doing so might be the solution you need.
Although it sounds too good to be true, it is helping me, and hopefully, it will help you.
Past failures may haunt you like Casper, no matter what the advice gurus say about failure being part of the process. These thoughts can paralyze you and may stop you from doing what you want. Telling yourself to drop it sounds so crazy that it might work. Give it a shot sometime, and you might be pleasantly surprised.