Failure As Our Teacher



By Dr Jeanina, Consultant Psychologist, Founder Blue Lights Wellness


Let’s keep it real: very few among us, will say out loud 'ok, well that didn’t work out, so let’s dust ourselves off and try again'. Reality is, that waves of sadness, disappointment in oneself or the other, anxiety and fear to start again will more likely will kick in first. That bitter taste in our mouth, a lump in our throat and strain on the chest. Perhaps a kick to our ego, embarrassed in not succeeding or even feeling so vulnerable, our soul feels fragile and naked. Now, I am all for positive thinking and dust yourselves off and try again, however, everyone deserves that moment to sit with it. Let your emotions run its course and give yourself the time you need to just let it out.


Naturally, there will be a turning point where we have to decide - Do we change our perspective or do we give in and not try again?


So here is my thought: What if we see failure as ‘setback’ or even as a ‘standstill”, a moment that awakened us? A lesson, a teacher, who is tough, that one, who keeps us motivated and try again?


Of course: situation and individual remain unique. Did we fail that relationship, where we gave our all? Did we not perform as we would have hoped at work? Or did we spend too much money, when we should have been more careful?


Regardless, life is for the living and success is not created overnight, it comes with set-backs and lessons, and sometimes the harder the fall, the bigger the rise. As, when the lesson is learned, the green flags for healthy relationships, with others oneself, our careers and money are really seen; we have a chance to truly grow, learn and reset.


Believing in yourself and finding yourself surrounded within a positive environment or among those, who just like you, want to keep pushing forward, to create, to live and to breathe the life you envision. Yes, sometimes the odds are not in our favour and there will be eb and flow, that’s when your ‘failure as your teacher’, steps in.


So here we go, when we have digested our emotions and are ready to choose to go forward, where do we start?


Priorities, Priorities, Priorities!

What is important for you? What do you need in a healthy relationship? or what is the career, which leaves you feeling satisfied and achieved? Having failed, provides you the lesson on what did not work for you, in turn may help you to envision what does work. So why priorities? Write down what really matters to rebuild that foundation. Designing a successful life is like building a dream home, one has to lay the foundation first.


Change your game plan and embrace it!

Think about when you were younger and the first time you played monopoly. Did you really understand all the rules, Or did you learn gradually over time? I certainly didn't know what I was supposed to do and reading an instruction manual is not everyone’s forte. Regardless, paying attention, change your approach and keep trying. This will truly help you understand what works for you. How to master a game and in this case master your own game of life. This is where embracing change steps is. . Embracing changes is communicating to our brain and re wiring it for positive outcomes. Sure, easier said than done? That little, big moment, where you may feel triggered to give up, is that moment to embrace yourself learning, changing and persevering. You win some, you lose some, embrace the process to keep going.


Self-belief, cancel + delete the ones limiting you!

Set-backs and failure leaves some vulnerabilities in all us, whether in our conscious or our subconscious mind. Remind yourself, you are not alone. Different situations still can leave similar imprints of worry to not succeed again. Affirmations, are a great tool to rewire and limit those negative beliefs. Whether you have chosen to repeat affirmations to yourself in the mirror or write them down, both methodologies have helped many among us. Examples of affirmation are;

‘I deserve a happy and healthy relationship’

‘I am worthy of success’

‘I am my present, not my past’

‘I am resilient’

“I am courageous’


The part where we take responsibility

Often it is simply our human nature to point fingers at others, or circumstances, why we failed, the test, the career or our relationships. And fair enough, environment, timing, knowledge, and awareness, does play its part. Nevertheless, we need to do introspection and acknowledge, where we did not follow our gut or kept going, when everything told us not to do so. Awakening in this sense is your lesson to take responsibility with your priorities in mind and to follow your own gut. Persevere and understand happiness, wellbeing, and success, is an inside job. That’s the part where all of us are responsible. The blaming game


will only provide temporarily relief, perhaps not at all? Feeling responsible for one self and learning, master the acquired knowledge and life experience will lead to better decision making. With that said, it will also create room for improvement. As once you are aware and awake that your success is your responsibility, life offers you many more visions, roads to wander and destinations to visit.


Exit comparing yourself to the other!

From my point of view, comparing oneself to another is a mind game on its own. We can’t control what others think, one’s behaviour and responses are about oneself and decision making often relate to those primal instincts as safety and security as well as “the society” one lives in. Keep this in mind, focus on yourself. Your path, your dreams, your definition of success and happiness and relationships. As a good teacher will tell you, you only do the best you can do. You are here, to outshine yourself not the other. Knowledge is your personal power to improve, without being distracted by other people’s lives or successes.


‘Life is a school'