One of the biggest hurdles to overcome on our journey is failure. Many people shame failure and I can see why.

The biggest reason of all is that deep down we have a deep-rooted fear of it. It has the potential to keep us stuck in place for a very long time.

But it also creates a defeatist attitude. We victimize ourselves not just in the area we failed but in others.

It’s not so much of a surprise why people are quick to hate on failure. Not to mention see people in weak positions when they do fail.

But why exactly do we shame failure?

Why do we shame those who fail in a big way?

Because as a lot of us know in order to grow we need failure. Some of the most important lessons we learn stem from failure.

It Begins When We’re Older

Our hatred for failure can easily be traced to when we are older in life. We shame failure as adults because we recognize that the process of failure sucks.

But when we are kids, we’re not exposed to that sort of thing. We are encouraged time and again to fail. Not to mention many things we need to learn require us to fail. From learning how to walk, speak and stand up, we fail to do those things.

And yet we continue to push forward, eventually learning to do those things.

But as we get older things start to shift. We realize that failure not only makes us upset, but selfish too. Research shows that when we fail, we’re less likely to offer money or time to others. On the other hand, success makes us more generous.

We realize those things subconsciously which can very well be a reason for us to shame failure. We refuse to admit that we failed.

It Creates Shame

But likely the biggest reason we shame failure is that it makes us feel ashamed to begin with. When we fail, we immediately think that something is wrong about us.

I know when I lost a couple of my writing clients recently, I felt a tinge of that. Even looking in the past when I experienced a setback I wondered if I was doing the right thing. Or maybe something was deeply wrong about me and I didn’t know why.

These sorts of feelings are common after we experience failure. It’s a huge emotional shock to our system. And it’s great grounds for us wanting to instinctively protect ourselves.

We don’t want to think about what others think of us when we fail.

And that alone can scare people and make us do what we normally do when we experience failure. We become our worst critic.

We start to attack our own faults. We either focus on our behaviour specifically or we start to purposely avoid people. It’s through this where we realize that failure sucks. And it’s us instinctively doing that that is the problem.

What Can We Do?

So what can we do about this? Because just seeing failures as lessons isn’t going to cut it. There is more to it than that.

Because no matter what you do, those emotions are still going to be there. You won’t be able to purge them completely, but there are some other tricks to consider.

Instead of focusing on the experience it’s done on yourself, focus on the specific behaviour that led you there. It’s akin to seeing failures as lessons because it focuses on the things you can control.

You can’t control the events that happen to you, but you can control how you react and what you get from those events.

This is a powerful strategy because it makes you realize you had a role to play in your failure. And you can trace it back to a specific behaviour.

When I lost a few clients, I looked at my work and realized I could’ve done better. I wasn’t that invested in the work or I neglected to look over the work and make changes. This is more tangible than thinking that I’m a terrible writer.

Everything that we do and everything that happens to us is connected. There is always a cause and effect. When we recognize this, we begin to understand why we shame failure but above all how we can move past the shame and grow even more from it.


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