We’ve all heard phrases like “Failure is the stepping stone to success” which are made to make us feel better about failure and console us, but truly in that moment, sometimes it might feel like the end of the world. It feels like the blood, soul and tears that we put in for a certain task, relationship or event did not count at all.
To conclude, on the very first look, failure sucks. It makes us feel a whole lot of things, feeding the hate monster within us. That can get frustrating because failure is inevitable. The worst bit about failure is that it might stop us from putting in effort and ever trying again. The thought of failing fills us with so much fear that it often leaves us frozen.
Before talking about what to do about our fear of failure, let 's take a deep look at how we are setting ourselves up for fearing failure.
Being overly critical about ourselves
We are paying more attention to our inner critique which is feeding us information that belittles our sense of self, hurts our self esteem. The inner critic might say “Oh you failed at this, and therefore you aren’t good enough.” or “You can’t even do this right, you are worthless.” etc. This critique might place our entire self worth on that one instance where we didn’t perform well or didn’t get what we wanted.
Viewing Failure from a shallow lens
Seeing failure as something that you can not move forward from, or as “The End”. This finality with which we view failure might make us fear it more.
A desire to be perfect
This desire neither leaves any room for error, nor does it calls for any flexibility which may further worsen our fear of failure as it increases our anxieties.
So what do we do about this fear of failure?
Beware of the inner critique and put things into perspective
Know that when we fail at things, our inner critique plays up by telling us certain things that might be hurtful. It’s important to put those things into perspective for ourselves. For example: failing at a task does not have to mean you will be horrible at all the other things you try!
Viewing Failure from a deeper lens
Acknowledging that failure does bring about some uncomfortable and difficult emotions within us and understanding that in actuality, this failure might actually be the beginning of a new journey for you is crucial. Also, reflecting on your learnings from said failure might give you a clue on what to do (or not to do) the next time you are faced with a similar situation. helping alleviate some of the ensuing anxiety.
Working on strengthening your self worth
Your self worth is made of multiple perceptions of yourself in multiple aspects of your life, and the knowledge that failure at a certain point in life might dwindle your self worth but won’t destroy it. Also, knowing that there are other aspects of your life too which you are good at that might feed into your self worth and lessen the impact of failure.
Viewing yourself as human
Realising that you are fallible and not perfect might lessen the blow of failure and help you set realistic goals for yourself!