Failure – it is not the end

Understanding that failure is part of life is the first step to dealing with it and moving forward.

Getting through high-school as a pimply-faced teen is stressful enough, especially with the added pressure to be “perfect” thanks to social media, leaving no room for failure.

Failure, however, is inevitable at some stage and when that disappointment happens, Ballito-based counselling psychologist Lisa Grant-Stuart said it is crucial to know how to deal with it constructively.

“Teens need to work through failure themselves.

“However, parents also model acceptance of failure for their kids and coach them through periods of disappointment.

“It is often the parents response to failure that is so upsetting for the child/teen,” said Grant-Stuart.

Below are her five tips to help yourself through failure:

1. Face your failure

It’s natural to want to avoid failure and the feelings associated with. Failing is horrible, its painful and its messy.

But, failure is a normal part of daily living and a powerful agent for personal growth and learning. That immensely positive change cannot happen if you deny or avoid failure. 

2. Dissect the failure 

Once you have recovered from the shock of failing, investigate the failure from all angles with these questions:

What happened? Where did you go wrong? Which part of the failure scenario did you not have control over? Has this happened before?

3. Stop, rewind, improve

Once you have explored the failure in detail and pinpointed where you went wrong, think about what you would have done differently.

Most failures can be completely undone for example, if you fail your drivers test, you can attempt it again.

Some failures are permanent and require that you change your response to the disappointment such as not being offered a place at your desired university.

In this scenario, you can choose to either become so despondent that you never study or you can acknowledge that it’s very disappointing, but accept that you will explore other (possibly better) options.

4. Ask for help

Ask positive people in your life to help you with your decision making and failure do-overs.

Some seek the appropriate outside help such as career advisers or pastors, so be open to this.

Serious problems in managing failure may indicate larger self-esteem difficulties, so make sure that you receive professional help from a psychologist or you may find yourself in a failure trap. 

5. Do-over and review 

Once you have completed your course of action, review it and evaluate whether you need to change your strategy.

No matter what the outcome of your efforts, make sure you pat yourself on the back for your successful management of failure.

  AUTHOR
Elana Geist
Journalist

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