How To Stop Internalizing Your Failures

I completely forgot to write an article for today. I woke up this morning, wrote for something else and midway through the day, I realized it was Wednesday. I failed.

I hate feeling like my writing is rushed because I like to think and really feel my writing. So instead, I thought I going to post a question from our recent book.

“Wait, what? You wrote a book?” – Everyone

Recently, Steven and I wrote a book called “Not So Frequently Asked Questions.” If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because clearly we’re just writers and failed at marketing. We were so focused on the content and quality of the book that we forgot to build anticipation. Here is one question from our new book:

“How do I stop internalizing failure and beating myself up? I have this problem. I internalize everything! If I fail at something even if I worked hard at it and even if some things were out of my control, I get really down on myself for a long time. As this happens I doubt my capabilities, motivation, intelligence etc. and blame myself for every failure in my life. I try to not be like this but it’s just in my nature.” – Angela

Dear Angela,

I’ve personally failed at a lot of things throughout my short life. I’ve failed school courses, businesses, writing, and worst of all, people. I’ve gotten down on myself. It’s hard to pick up and start something knowing all my past failures.

But through all my failures, there is always one thing that stands out. Failures are just another facet of life. Everyone fails. The majority of people, including myself, share your position, so take comfort in that.

There are a few things that I’ve figured out along the way to stop internalizing my failures. It begins and ends with your perspective. If you change the way you perceive failure, you alter how it impacts you.

Failure is okay

You can learn valuable life lessons from every failure. Without them, there wouldn’t be lessons and without lessons, there wouldn’t be successes. Don’t let your defeats be in vain. Learn, progress and strive for something better.

I’ve realized that failures are significantly more common than successes. Life is a series of disappointments peppered with miniature successes. Even the most accomplished person has had more failures than successes.

There’s so much we can learn from our defeats. The moment we see them as opportunities rather than embarrassments, we no longer fear encountering them. Welcome your failures with open arms. Appreciate your failures for what they are: an integral part of building a better you.

Don’t be afraid of disappointment

It is interesting that failure is something everyone experiences; yet most people are afraid of it. They are afraid of screwing up or disappointing someone, or worse, themselves. Sometimes I am afraid too, but we have to rise above these fears.

If you play it safe and stay in your comfort zone, your life will be a basket full of regrets. You will have more regrets about things you didn’t do rather than things you did and failed at. You will regret not allowing yourself to fail more.

When I started working out, I was timid. I was afraid of what people might think. I couldn’t get over the hump of the judgmental stares. I limited myself to certain activities to avoid ridicule.

I was afraid to try new things because people would laugh if I failed. In most cases, your failures only matter to you. In the brevity of human life, failure does not matter.

Failure is necessary in order to succeed

You must fail consistently, for long periods of time. Falling flat on your face is the best motivator. When we started the YouTube channel, I failed consistently. I still fail consistently. Steven is a good actor and compared to him, I’m a peanut.

I made the same mistakes over and over again. I couldn’t wrap my head around certain lines. My bloopers were almost endless as I struggled to achieve a few good takes.

But as I made the same mistakes repeatedly, I slowly learned. Through failures you slowly gain and hone abilities, one at a time. Use each failure as a plank of wood; eventually building a bridge that leads to your goals.

We often get wrapped up in past thinking. The thoughts hinder us from reaching our full potential. It is a barrier designed to prevent you from achieving great things. It prevents you from moving forward.

I hold on to certain aspects of the past, which prevents me from progressing. But in the end, never doubt your capabilities and never doubt the power of failure.

This is just one question out of the nineteen others in the book. I consider my goal achieved if I can help just one person. The value in this book will bring me closer to that goal, but more importantly, it will help you.

I’m sorry again. I promise I will make it up to all of you next week with something spectacular. Until then,

Be bold, be free, and love on.

32 thoughts on “How To Stop Internalizing Your Failures

  1. Failure is not OK. Excellence is the only acceptable result, or at least that’s what I was raised to believe. I didn’t chew with my back teeth at 18 months old & my mother backhanded me as I sat in the high chair. I had sloppy penmanship at 7 years old, so she backhanded me again & insisted I rewrite my homework two, three, four, and five times, until we both grew tired rather than until I learned perfect cursive writing (I’m now 37 and still haven’t mastered perfect cursive writing). I was fatter than all the other girls my own age at 12 years old, and she ratcheted things up, coming into my room as I slept to hit me with a closed fist and scream at me that I had to stop eating everything that wasn’t nailed down. Next morning, she’d make like nothing happened. I brought ho,e a bad report card at 14, she made me kneel down before her and say, “I’m shit” before she beat me. And so on and so forth. I’ve always known I was a failure & that it’s most assuredly NOT OK to be a failure. When I was ten & my grandfather raped me, I convinced myself that somehow it was my fault, that if I wasn’t such a failure, he would’ve kept off me (as if he climbed on top of me to punish me for being a failure), and part of the reason I kept silent about what he did for as long as I did was that I felt like my mother was going to make it my fault. And I was right. When I final,y did tell her, long after his death, she was more angry that I SAID SUCH AN UGLY THING ABOUT HER BELOVED FATHER than at the fact that he had done it. “We don’t talk about those things,” is what she said, we keep quiet, we do what we have to do to get on with life, that’s what it is to be strong. I didn’t keep quiet, I’m not strong, so once again I was a failure as far as she was concerned.

    And you say DON’T INTERNALIZE YOUR FAILURE. Well sometimes that voice that insists that you’re a failure is the loudest voice in all your head and it won’t shut up, no matter what. Two years sober, therapy, antidepressants, & a meditation practice can’t shut that voice up when it gets to screaming.

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  2. I sometimes think we get to wrapped up in the word Failure, if you have tried and not been successful that is not failure, we forget to consider other elements that might have come into play that may have contributed.

    However that being said, it’s also has a lot to do with our approach to the many areas of our lives and we process that going forwards.

    For me it’s about changing my thinking as problems arise, it doesn’t always work, but it does get you thinking about what you can change next time around, when we let the word failure into our thinking it can cloud the issue and in turn make you reluctant to try anything new.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re completely correct! It comes with a change in perspective, in how we perceive failure. Everything in life has positive and negative outcomes. Sometimes you have to try really really hard to see the positive in it.

      Sometimes, I find in failure, trying to see the positive is hard, but like anything else, it comes with practice and diligence. You’ve hit the nail on its’ head by saying, “It has a lot to do with our approach to the many areas of our lives and we process that going forwards.”

      I love that line and this comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you forgot or we wouldn’t have had this great post. One of my favourite books is “Failure: the back door to success” by Erwin Lutzer, a former classmate of mine. If I never failed at anything I would never change anything. I don’t want to be a failure at failing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A great post! I liked it since I encounter failures every day (who doesn’t) and I’m trying to learn something from each one of them instead of beating myself up over something that has already happened and I have no control over.

    I found a great quote on failure and I’d like to share. When asked in an interview: “A lot of people let failure get them down. You’re saying that you’ve got to move on.”, Johnny Cash replied:

    “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space. If you analyze it as you’re moving forward, you’ll never fall in the same trap twice, which I can’t say that I haven’t been guilty of doing. But my advice is, if they’re going to break your legs once when you go in that place, stay out of there.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The American culture is so focused on *success*, and the adoration of champions who succeed in any field, that we grow up fearing failure. The truth is, we learn by trial and error. There is not such thing as an overnight success. In fact, most huge successes are 10 years or more in the making. Those who have done great things have also failed greatly, if you judge them by that standard. Walt Disney’s first company went bankrupt. Thomas Edison found 10,000 ways *not* to make a light bulb.

    Thank you for reminding me that perceived failures are just stepping stones on the way to success. Fail forward, get up, try again. But never give up!

    CONGRATULATIONS on your book! THAT is spectacular!!! 🌟

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elizabeth, you are so right! Failure is so necessary and I think most people successful people with rose-colored glasses. They see them and think, ‘well, they made it’ and not realize the amount of work and failure that was involved. We only see the successes, but as you said, there is often years upon years of failure, trial and error, and hard times behind it!

      Thank you for the wishes! 🙂

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  6. One of my favourite of the ideas that underpin NLP (neuro linguistic programming) is “There is no failure, only feedback!”. Internalise that one and you can have a go at absolutely anything because you cannot get it wrong… Very powerful!
    Thanks for another excellent post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to completely agree with you! If people utilized feedback more, the fear of failure would diminish. Failure and feedback should always be attached because through both they have profound effects on the mind and body.

      Thank you Liz! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderfully written and very significant for this week for me! My close friend responded to my message at the beginning of the week with “Perspective is so very important….” I froze when I read the same words in your article!

    Like

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