Feeling like a Failure?

Everyone makes mistakes, right? Everyone frees like a failure sometime, right?

Yes. Everyone has tripped or spilled milk, but what about the big stuff?

I never had to deal with anything really big till I went to college, and there it was. I was failing a class. I had never failed anything in my life. I’m not a math person, but usually I got by. This time---statististics was overwhelming. No matter how hard i studied for the tests, I just wasn’t getting the grade I needed for grad school. I didn’t really know how to deal with the issue except feel overwhelmed and cry. I even slept with my book under my pillow in hopes it would somehow help.

I spent weeks in panic not knowing what to do. By the end of the semester I  managed to pull up the grade, not to an a by any means but I didn’t fail. That semester I learned that I never wanted to feel like that again. The truth was, I did- more than once. Mistakes are a part of life. Sometimes you can control the situation and sometimes you just can’t. It is how you deal with them that make all the difference.

Sometimes the greatest opportunities come from "failures".

Sometimes the greatest opportunities come from "failures".

The Worst Case Scenario

I immediately jumped to the worst-case scenario. I was failing a class so I was failing out of school and I wouldn’t be able to get a job. In one swoop of my imagination I had ruined my life and I could not get past it in my mind.  Thankfully, I had a roommate who reminded me that I still had the rest of the semester, I could retake the class, and even if I did fail the class it was not the end of the world. I needed an outside perspective to keep me from my downward spin and from making any rash decisions.

Not Making a Bad Situation Worse

So while I was in my pit of worry I could not think clearly and I almost made a bad situation worse. Not just this time, but also so many other times. Sometimes, unfortunately, I did make it worse but it was always better when I could think clearly. It helped to talk to someone else. I needed someone else to help me think clearly- someone who was outside of the situation.

Making Other People’s Opinion of You True

What are they going to think? This went through my head over and over.  I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I didn’t want them to think badly of me. No one ever does.  It’s easy to let someone else’s opinion push you into decisions.  I always wanted to save face. I wanted people to think the best of me, but sometimes that can be a lot to bear.  No matter how much another person can persuade or threaten or even guilt- in the end, the decisions were always mine. Even to feel bad about my decision.

So what do you do after a “mistake”? Face it and move on. The worst thing you could do is avoid or just live inside the mistake.  Staying in the same place of blame and confusion will do no one any good.

The fact is sometimes “mistakes” are not “mistakes”- They just feel that way. Sometimes they just take you in different directions. And sometimes the direction can be much better. Maybe failing a class can inspire you to change your major to something you really love. Ending that relationship can leave you open so a new, better one can begin. Getting fired from one job could lead you to a much better career. Maybe having that baby will actually give you the motivation you need to start making better decisions. Accepting you have an addiction can lead you to get help and lead a much richer life.

Did you choose a bad roommate? Choose a bad boyfriend? Got drunk at a party slept with a guy and are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy? When dealing with the big “mistakes” or even the small ones, take a moment to step back.  Just remember to breathe, don’t make rash decisions, talk to people who can be objective or have gone through similar situations, and don’t do anything out of fear, desperation or shame.