Society has a taboo around failure. It’s fine to talk about once we’ve overcome it but when we’re in the thick pit of it, failure isn’t very romantic. It’s uncomfortable and it hurts. This week I went home to my family and friends, declaring that “I’ve failed.” Because my family and friends are the most awesome people in the world, they cheered and said, “Amazing work. Congratulations! At least you tried.”
I’m a failure. A massive failure. In fact, it seems I’ve become so bloody good at failing that I’ve become successful at it. How ironic is that?
There’s grace in recognising our mistakes and sinking deeper into them, until they’re no longer mistakes at all. Within failure there are life lessons. Failure is not about my value as a human being but the independent and dependent moments, and the small or big lessons I can take from them.
This kind of growth requires real candor, introspection and honesty. And there’s a risk in taking that leap – exposing ourselves to criticism, pointing out our own errors in judgment, apologising for times our tongues spoke too soon, and taking the chance we might not like what we find or who we are on our path of self-discovery. We don’t often think of it this way but authentic honesty is a risky virtue. It’s one that can push us to the fringe of change. Real honesty about our failures takes real bravery. I think it’s worth the risk.
Every time something goes wrong – every time I mess up and fail – I grow more comfortable with failure, and know that I can turn it into something useful, even delightful if I so desire.
Failure is fuel. When others make mistakes, I learn to appreciate them for the gifts they are, and to embrace and forgive other people’s mistakes just like I want them to embrace and forgive mine.
Learning to see the potential in failure – the laughter, the joy and comedy in it – doesn’t take away the sting of rejection, humiliation or questioning self-worth. Failure still hurts and it’s still uncomfortable. But my new perspective on failure has taught me to embrace the opportunity and spontaneity of it, even when I feel like there is none.
I’ve learnt that you can either fail feebly or fabulously. I choose fabulously. Getting rejected from something or someone can lead to new friendships and opportunities, or it can allow me to recognise the flaws in myself that I need to improve upon in order to become a better person.
Let’s rewrite the narrative around failing.
Failure is necessary.
Failure is how we learn, grow and evolve.
Failure teaches us a better way.
Failure does not define us.
Failure is a gift.
Let’s choose to see the beauty in failure.
It’s never as bad as we fear it will be.
My love of failure has only just begun.