Finding the Brighter Side of Failure | The BridgeMaker

Finding the Brighter Side of Failure

By on Oct 03, 2010


I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison

The brighter side of failure is a place of power, love and forgiveness. When life issues one of its many challenges – divorce, loss of a job, addictions – waiting in the darkness is a light that will guide you to a better place.

Failure, we believe, should be avoided. We think failure will cast a shadow over our spirit and it will keep us from feeling successful, happy and good. When we experience failure, our self-confidence is damaged. It can take our breath away and fill us with a sense of hopelessness.

However, there is a brighter side of failure – a side that can be nurturing. Failure can provide the path to healing and can lead us closer to who we were made to be when we pause long enough to hear its message.

To find the brighter side of failure, open your mind, and your heart, to these sometimes harsh, but important lessons:

  • Be okay with not being perfect

    Accepting failure can be difficult because it goes against what we think to be true. We believe we have to be perfect in everything we do. But there is value in accepting our imperfection because by doing so, we are allowing our humanness to exist, and perhaps thrive.

    I became less anxious and happier when I realized it was impossible to be perfect all of the time. This revelation has been freeing and it has lead to new ways of thinking and seeing the world. I’m more comfortable in my own skin now that the pressure of being perfect has been lifted.

    No longer do I dread failure. I welcome it because it’s a sign my heart is still alive and eager to try new things.

    If you are hesitant to acknowledge your imperfection then do something you have been reluctant to try, but do it anyway. If you fail, take a step back and consider what you have learned from the experience and then realize being imperfect has not killed you. You are really okay after all.

  • Keep a journal

    Our lives are full of activity. I believe we do more in one day than our grandparents did in a week. Because of the increase in our activity there is a corresponding risk we will endure more failures.

    Keeping a journal and writing about this activity, especially the resulting failures, is a good way to keep track of everything that happens and expressing how a failure has impacted your life.

    When acknowledging your failures, there are two key questions to ask: (1) Why did this happen? (2) What good might come from it?

    Try not to rush your answers. Careful discernment can be enlightening and will lead to a better understanding of what can be learned, and avoided, the next time.

  • Acceptance

    Accepting failure is to be fully aware of the present moment without judgment or shame. Accepting failure is the best way to accept you a little more each day. There is a difference, however, between accepting failure and reconciling yourself to it.

    You don’t have to settle for failure, but by accepting failure when it happens, you are providing some needed grace and self-care. You are accepting yourself as being appropriately, and significantly, human.

  • Ask for help

    When we fail, we are not alone. Everybody fails.

    Because of this, we are eager to help others. We understand the feeling all too well. Our capacity to show compassion is a gift we don’t just give to the recipient, but we give to ourselves, too. Compassion provides a measure of comfort and hope. Everyone is invited to receive it.

    The next time you fall short of a goal or when a situation does not turn out as expected, understand there are others who understand exactly how you feel. Reach out to these people. Ask for help and then receive the love and support you deserve.

  • Find the nuggets

    Even in our darkest moments, there can be nuggets of goodness waiting to be discovered.

    There are many expressions, some clichés now, which illustrate this point:

      It’s always darkest before the dawn.
      What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
      When God closes a door He opens a window.

    These proverbial statements point to a central truth: There are no accidents without value.

    No matter what happens in our lives, there is a greater good unfolding. Call it faith; call it divine intervention or call it just plain luck, but for every failed circumstance there is something extraordinarily valuable waiting to happen.

  • Here’s the brighter side of failure

    Through failure we try harder. Through failure we are given the chance to do a gut check and see how badly we want whatever it is we are trying to accomplish. Through failure we better understand the effort required to achieve our hearts’ desire.

    Failure issues a challenge. If you refuse to risk failure then you have failed before you even started. However, waiting on the other side of failure’s challenge is a brighter place – a place called happiness.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

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  • Gina, all comments and opinions are welcome here. When I fail, I do feel badly about myself, but I’m learning to look for the good things that can result.

    In fact, I write above, “There is a difference, however, between accepting failure and reconciling yourself to it.”

    So, my plan is to keep trying and never allow failure to have power over me and drive me to quit.

    I hope to read your comments here again soon.

    – Alex

  • Gina

    If only it was that easy to accept failure. Many things prevent all from accepting failure, accepting being a less than perfect individual.

    I am sure that this post is not suggesting that it is easy to get to the point of accepting failure or imperfection. I certainly hope not. For many this is a deep-seated issue.

    It’s a hard road, to be okay with failure, to be okay with failing. A list of five easy steps to accepting failure and in a brighter light, no less, is unfortunately of little help to these people.

    I should end this on a brighter note: I believe that life should be lived with gratitude and in a positive manner and wholeheartedly applaud your efforts to point all in the direction of seeing things with a more positive perspective. I guess I am just trying to bring a more critical eye to things.

    Apologies for upsetting anyone, author or those commenting. 😛

  • You are so right Alex, there is no such as perfection in this world – only beauty.