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It’s Okay to Fail and Admit it

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By Angela Schaefers

I’ve been intrigued by the notion of those who have failed at something and were outed. For the most part, if you are rich and/or famous and you commit a blunder of some sort, (and someone finds out!) you are outed to the world! What is intriguing is whether people really want to come clean about their failures and mistakes or if they live in fear of being found out. To what measures do any of us go to hide our mistakes?

Perhaps we are all similar when it comes to our mistakes. We may not be superstars, A-list elitists or part of the world’s most wealthiest club but we probably don’t want our neighbors, co-workers or family/friends knowing about our mistakes. And sometimes we don’t even admit to ourselves we have failed. We just go on and if not outed or having no obvious repercussions we can get away with whatever it is.

I think when we avoid facing our mistakes and failures and perhaps hiding them from others, we don’t have the opportunity to learn from them. Interestingly, some of the most successful people have failed, a lot, and made plenty of mistakes too! I think that if they in fact became successful despite the mistakes and failures, they must have admitted these things (at least to themselves) and learned from them to move forward.

I used to be a perfectionist. So failing and making mistakes were really hard for me to accept. Even worse was someone finding out that I wasn’t perfect, that I am human and am flawed. Over time it became increasingly difficult to try and be perfect (and obviously being perfect is impossible) and it was no fun trying to hide things either.

Some of my need to be perfect and seen by others as perfect, was my need for acceptance. I wanted to be liked and accepted. I mistakenly thought that if I wasn’t perfect, I would not be liked. I thought I would be rejected and without anyone close to me. Two things happened to shift my perspective.

-I realized, as I shared my imperfections I was still likeable, loveable and accepted.
-The more I allowed myself to be human, flaws and all, the more I realized EVERYONE else was like me (not perfect!)

Once my perspective changed and I let go of all the ridiculous expectations I had put on myself, I was able to start admitting my failures and mistakes. Then I was able to learn from them. I could see why I made a certain choice or how I had a good intention but external circumstances changed my expected outcome. I also learned to allow myself to be human, to know I am flawed and will make mistakes. I then learned to let go of any self doubt, shame or guilt related to failing.

Fail and Admit It

You can admit your mistakes and failures too! You will survive, no matter how bad it is. You can also learn and grow from them and move forward!

-Say the words “I made a mistake, I failed. I am not a failure. I am human”
-Ask yourself “What can I learn from this failure/mistake?”
-Ask yourself “What can I do differently so that I do not make the same mistakes over and over?”
-Tell yourself “Making mistakes and failing is part of the process of succeeding”

When we can admit our mistakes and failures and know that we are still valuable, we can often began to accept others mistakes and failures. We then realize that we and others are not a mistake or a failure, only some of the things we do are. Empathy for self and others changes everything, trust me I am a recovering perfectionist.

Please share your thoughts and what you have learned from your mistakes and failures.

About the Author — Angela Schaefers is producer & host of Your Story Matters radio show, a freelance writer and an inspirational speaker. Angela interviews those around the globe who have encouraging and inspiring stories to share.

She writes various articles on professional networking, inspiration and why our stories matter! She speaks and shares her story of personal healing, facing stage IV cancer and more to discovering her life purpose. Angela positively impacts the world, one story at a time!

Visit her website at http://yourstorymatters.net

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7 Responses to It’s Okay to Fail and Admit it

  1. Well said, Angela. My mistakes? How long have you got? Richard Rohr said we cannot progress in our spiritual lives without many humiliations. That's the only way, he says, we learn to recognise the false self. There's a free extract from my book, The God I Left Behind, at http://www.theenabling.org.uk and the first chapter reveals a lot of mistakes – not all mine – that shaped me. So let's welcome the mistakes. They enable more progress than successes.
    My recent post What’s here now?

    • Though it's true mistakes can be catalysts of great changes I don't believe it is absolutely required to live situations in which we feel humiliated. Those can hurt us as much as it can teach us. If it hurts us too much, we won't see or hear the lesson that comes with that particular experience. On the other hand if we already have enough self-love then yes, wise lessons can indeed unfold from the humiliating experience.

  2. “Ask yourself ‘What can I do differently so that I do not make the same mistakes over and over?’”
    Before attempting a useful answer, I’d say that one needs to first accept that MOST, if not all we do & say, is decided by whichever aspect of the Ego is only interested in itself (the Me-First Syndrome). That’s the aspect of our ego that makes us as impulsive and as one-eyed about what we THINK we need to be satisfied as any random teenager. To get closer to a correct answer to that important question, one really needs to admit that most of the talking we do day & night is done as a long monologue we call thoughts. By far we spend much more time involved in this monologue than in any real dialogue with anyone. It’s only once we truly want to alter our M.O. from the inside-out, instead of re-acting to other’s actions through various knee-jerks and Me First jabs that we will create for ourselves a better opportunity to begin reacting differently from the inside-out … next time … one next time at a time.

    • I never heard anyone using the term “Me-First Syndrome” but it’s very true indeed. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us!

  3. As humans we aren't perfect. Accepting our own short comings and those of others is an important practice, dare I saw it's even a spiritual practice. Only when we embrace our "Shadow" and our imperfections, can we find greater compassion and forgiveness with our self. As we develop such compassion inwardly, we can offer more compassion and forgiveness to others. In this way, we find greater comfort for our self and in our relationships.
    I write more about compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, and spirituality for daily living in my books – "Path for Greatness: Work as Spiritual Service" and "Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand: Awakening Soul Consciousness for the New Millennium". Feel free to read my blog posts as well on these ideas.
    Peace and Light, Namaste, Linda
    My recent post Now is Divine Right Time to Greet Your Fears

    • Thank you very much Linda for your comment and feedback. Your blog is certainly a great place to visit and I will be happy to promote it on The SunGoddess Magazine Facebook Page! Also would you be interested in becoming a contributor for the SunGoddess Magazine?

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