Personal Growth

Failing Forward

Hi there! I’m just going to dive right into this and talk about something that is SO relevant it hurts. Wait for it…[insert suspenseful silence to build anticipation here]…FAILURE. Gasp! A few months ago I was sitting around a table with my friends, swapping talk about hopes and dreams, and it seemed like I was talking a lot about all the things I would do if whatever wasn’t in my way. After thinking about why I never take any of the necessary steps towards living my ultimate life, I decided to plunge into the waters of my mind and figure out what my problem was. After a little self reflection, it turns out that all of these “whatevers” are closely related to one thing: the thoughts inside my head. These thoughts had me believing that I shouldn’t even try to work towards my dreams, because there’s a chance that I will fail. I had a fear that I would fail. A fear of failure. Okay, we get it, but let’s dissect that a little bit.

The fear of failure is deeply rooted somewhere inside our subconscious, that little place inside our mind that we are not fully aware of. Sometimes, our subconscious mind creeps into our conscious mind, like a sneaky little snake. “How’d you get there little buddy?” Our subconscious mind does such a great job of blocking things out, that sometimes we don’t even know we are having this fear when it shows up. When we don’t know the root of our fear, it can be hard to interpret because instead of being upfront, this fear shows up in other ways, like in the form of excuses. You might hear low self-confidence saying, “I’m not good enough,” or procrastination chiming in with, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” while anxiety is over in the corner shouting, “but what if all of these things go wrong?!” Are we getting somewhere? Let’s continue. The definition of failure is entirely unique to us as individuals, but underneath the layers of excuses and fear of failing (because who doesn’t love a good emotional parfait?) is a delicious layer, of which is the actual problem. That bottom layer of our emotional dessert, the actual problem, is something like: shame. Ugh, don’t make me say it out loud. Let’s look at it this way, failure isn’t really about us at all. Failure is caring about what other people would think or say about us if they found out we failed. If a tree fails in the forest, but no one is around to see it, does it really fail?

Maybe, you’ve been pre-shamed. This sounds similar to the thoughts in your head, but they are actually said by real people in your real life. Before you even gave your dream a chance, you were shot down by someone who didn’t believe or understand you. Maybe you’ve heard from a teacher or boss that you aren’t good enough. Maybe a parent has told you that you aren’t strong enough or smart enough. Maybe you have heard these words so much that you believe them. Let me ask you something, “Have you tried?” No one knows your limits except for you.

For me, the excuse was that I was not good enough to be a writer. This excuse was layered on top of low-self confidence, and of course, shame. I was afraid of the shame I would feel if someone reacted negatively to my words. I was afraid of the shame I would feel if someone knew I was a writer, but they knew I was not a good one. And because of this fear, I spent years telling myself that I wanted to be a writer but never wrote a single thing. I spent years keeping my dream a secret because I thought if anyone knew this delicate information, they would find out that, I, Danielle, was already failing.

Let me tell you a little secret: I am writing this article, and it’s going okay, so far.

After years of failing to take a chance on myself and of failing to believe that I could write something that was worth anyone’s time, I decided to jump head first into the deep end and pour my soul out, in the most public way possible. How? First, I changed the story I was telling myself. I changed the words in my head from, “I’m not good enough” to “maybe, I might be okay.” (Try it!) Second, I decided that my dreams are my own, and I alone will decide if I am good enough; no one else. Third, and most importantly, I decided that if I was going to continue to fail, I needed to fail in new ways that challenge my growth. I needed to fail in the right direction. Those three things, combined with a little splash of bravery, got me here. I’m writing, instead of not writing. Although it is terrifying, if I fail this time, I know that I can go down failing forward.

Welcome to Self Love Coffee, I’m so glad you’re here.

-Dani

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3 thoughts on “Failing Forward”

  1. It was like you were writing straight to my heart! I literally have tears running down my face. Thank you, it is time to change how I talk to myself.

    Like

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