Reframing Failure

On Fire
December 12, 2019

Sometimes it may feel easier to give up and walk away from our dreams. Maybe we feel overwhelmed or disheartened when things don’t work out the way we want them to. Or perhaps we feel as though we’ve tried our hardest and we didn’t quite achieve the success we hoped for.

Learning to accept our limitations or failures, and yet to keep moving forward is part of the process of learning itself. It is not quitting that defines our behaviour, but our capacity to be gentle with ourselves and not to judge ourselves as having failed in the first instance. Not achieving our goals or getting what we want when we want it can more often than not mean that we are simply not ready for that which we had aspired for – yet. We’ve been derailed or had a slight change of plan. There are other higher reasons at play.

Perhaps we just can’t see the greater context of our situation. It may very well be still unfolding. At the very least, there may be important lessons that have been sent to teach us patience, tolerance, resilience – an opportunity to reframe a scenario and grow in a specific direction that may ultimately be better in the future.

Sometimes life is like that and that’s ok. How we see things is more important that how they actually are. Whether we bounce back or take a new turn in a completely different direction can be pivotal, but really doesn’t matter so long as we learn the lesson and keep moving. We don’t always need to know which way to go. We just have to trust that everything will work out and whatever happens is meant to happen for our highest good.

There were many times in my life when I thought I had failed miserably. I didn’t get the results I wanted in an exam. I didn’t follow through with what I had planned. Life seemed to get in the way. I could just never quite get to where I wanted to be. Until I finally realised that I was exactly where I was meant to be all along and that my so-called failures or life detours, we not accidental but actually part of my life course, requisite learning for my own spiritual and emotional growth and development; essential life lessons that I would not have otherwise opted consciously – that they happened for a much greater reason that I was able to comprehend at the time and that they were in fact, a gift.

Every failure is ultimately for our highest good and as such is not really a failure after all. It is instead fuel for learning, life experience that can enrich our growth, our coping skills or our emotional toolkit. Perhaps that is what is meant when we realise that there is no such thing as failure, just lessons or experiences through which we learn to hone our craft or perfect our goals. How I view failure is after all, still a choice that I make. It matters not what others think. Am I choosing to see my failures as my greatest lessons? Can I reframe what it means to not achieve my goals, by looking at my situation differently – with gratitude and love, with an open and gentle heart that asks not why this or that happened to me, but what have I learned from this situation? How has this helped or supported my growth? Where to from here? What have I learned that I need to know now to move forward? In this case, failure is not an option.

So, think about where you may have slipped up or things didn’t really go according to plan. Stop and look for lesson behind the situation or event that has happened. What have you learned from it? What else could this mean? Is there a hidden gift here that you need to notice and take on board? Life will still go on. It’s not the end of the world.

It may in fact be a new beginning or the universe working its magic to guide you in a new unchartered potentially exciting direction that you would not have otherwise dreamed of pursuing but for things having turned out a certain way or another. Again, you choose the meaning you attach to the experience and ultimately shape and create your next move – your life, your future, your way.

Reframe your mistakes. Learn from them, as they are not really failures but lessons through which we can learn more about ourselves. This is your life. You get to design it as you want it to be. So, live fully and boldly.