Using Failure as Feedback When Mourning

"What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down."
~ Mary Pickford

Are you experiencing seemingly insurmountable challenges in assuming a new role due to the death of your loved one? Have you made mistakes in developing new skills needed to fulfill that role? Do you feel you are a failure because you continue to have "bad days" and are not "being strong?" Nothing could be further from the truth. Grief has a tendency to disorganize and confuse. Yet it teaches through the mistakes we make.

More importantly, if you are a control freak (as some of us are) or a perfectionist you are bound to confront situations as part of the unfair process where you make the wrong choice. Failing is an inevitable experience because without it we never learn or grow in our ability to cope with change. So where can we start to put failure in its proper context?

1. First and foremost recognize that early in our lives we are all overzealily taught by parents and authoritarians that failing is taboo. This is done directly by implying how bad it is not to be successful and nonverbally by the way we are looked at when we do not come up with the right answer. This means on an unconscious level we build and reinvigorate the belief that failure has no redeeming value. It is just plain bad. Such an unconscious belief is devastating as we get older because it diminishes self-esteem and hurts our ability to cope well.

2. We can dramatically alter that belief. How? By seeing failure as an integral ongoing part of life in many respects. Since we continuously have to make changes through life, hundreds of new experiences will bring successes and failures right up to the end. The death of a loved one is one of those sad experiences that throw many new challenges at us, many of which we have had little or no preparation to manage. We are forced to learn through trial and error.

3. All of this boils down to working on our inner life to see failure as feedback, giving us direction on the next move to make. Mourning is certainly not the best time to have to be thrust into changing our inner life to see our mistakes as opportunities. Or, to try something different, perhaps to seek out the wisdom of others. But historically, that is exactly what millions of mourners have accomplished. They have not let their miscues take away their commitment to persist and endure. You can follow the same path. Misunderstandings and misinterpretations are an inherent part of life. No one sails along unaffected.

4. How can you begin to use failure and increase the old program you were given? Start by vowing not to take failure so personally. Everyone fails at different times. Keep that in mind when something goes awry. It's part of being human. Next, give yourself the freedom to make all the mistakes you want but do not make the same mistake twice. Profit from each experience and plan on what you will do differently the next time that situation comes up again. See it as opportunity in the making. This is the new belief to adopt in place of the limiting belief.

Balance failures by focusing on all the good things you still possess. We often forget that we are blessed with friends, husbands, wives, children as well as all the successes we have had up to this point in life.

5. Let's go back to the quote at the beginning by the Canadian American motion picture actress Mary Pickford. It is an excellent statement to use as motivation to carry on. The only "failure" that exists is the refusal to get back up as you mourn. Then take a new road, try a different method, or seek a resource that can give you the information needed to conquer each challenge on the road to healing. We all possess that ability which can be called forth from within. Keep on keeping on. Such an attitudinal change will help immensely in adjusting to the new circumstances of life.



Source by Lou LaGrand

Tags:

Leave a Reply