Failure is in the definition and in the one who defines it. Some failures are more universal than others, but reactions to particular failures tend to be as individual as the experiences themselves. A failure alone is not necessarily a problem. Instead, the problem is in how you process the event. If you are struggling to cope with a failure, then it’s likely that you need to change how you are thinking about it.

It’s important to identify the emotion associated with the failure. Identifying how you feel about this will give you information on what types of thoughts are leading you to feel this way. You’ll then better understand why you’re being so hard on yourself, which can help you build a framework that use to begin the healing process. If your emotion is anger, then you’re creating an imaginary universe where you would’ve done things differently. However, a much better strategy is to better understand why you took the course that you did, rather than denouncing it. This anger can leave to you feeling depressed, but you don’t have to continue to feel this way.

After gaining a better understanding, it’s important to figure out what you may have learned from the situation. One of the reasons that we remember negative situations so much more readily than positive ones is because there are important lessons to learn from them. This doesn’t mean that we should try to flee from the negative situations and emotions of our pasts. Instead, it’s much better to identify what we have learned from mistakes and failures. If you identify what you have learned, you will be better equipped to let yourself off the hook. You’ll better recognize that without having made that mistake or fumbled through that situation, you would not have the knowledge and wisdom that you have today.

Thus, when it comes to failures, first look at your own definition and determine if you would define it the same way if it was happening to someone else. Then determine the emotions that you are dealing with in relation to this situation, and what thoughts you have that lead to those emotions. Finally, determine what you have learned from the situation, and how this has benefited you. In taking this approach, you’ll be well on your way to feeling content about the past, and practicing the skill of moving forward with more ease.

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