Resiliency in the Face of Failure
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Resiliency in the Face of Failure

Updated: Jan 7

By Spencer Nageleisen, Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)


Feelings of being a failure, inadequacy and self-doubt accompanied by situations of uncertainty can leave us with feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation. In these states we may come to doubt our own skills and abilities. It can be a source of overwhelm and a major challenge to overcome. It can feel extremely discouraging and very overwhelming to have all these successive failures in attempting whatever we are trying to succeed at. Whether it be in school, work, relationships or some other facet of life, these feelings are all a part of what it means to be human.


Achieving success is predicated upon self-knowledge of our interests, values, strengths and understanding what drives us. The combination of these factors are the blueprint for building our self-efficacy. It is important that we engage in regular reflection activities to achieve our goals and generate motivation towards these goals.


Self-compassion is an important component to building our resiliency and optimism in the face of failures. From the standpoint of common humanity, everyone fails, makes mistakes and feels inadequate sometimes. These experiences of personal failures are part of being human; these are experiences we all share. By meeting these feelings with self-kindness rather than self-criticism, we are able to actively open our hearts to ourselves and receive the soothing and comfort in the midst of emotional turmoil.


To decrease anxiety and self-doubt, we may try exploring our personal values and identity. A stronger self-awareness and an appreciation of values will help pinpoint the source of our apprehension and self-doubt. The regular engagement in self-reflection of current coping skills, strengths and resources, and weaknesses to build on self-awareness. With this clearer self-awareness as a background, we can make the necessary changes and find ways to incorporate these strengths and coping strategies.


We must be able to recognize and allow the feelings of failure and inadequacy before designing an action plan for goal-directed behavioural changes. These goals should be self-chosen and self-directed interventions over healthful ‘advice’ forced upon us. If you need any help in building your self-awareness, self-reflection, or developing goals for change feel free to reach out.

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