I’m a failure.

This triggering anyone else’s shame? I had a bit of a breakdown the other day and this floated through my neurons. A lot. Way more than I was willing to admit openly.

The problem with not admitting stuff though, is you already know it. We have to admit things to ourselves because we have full knowledge of what’s going on. And we’re kidding ourselves if we say otherwise.

I’m a failure.

I’ve failed a lot in my life. With career paths, relationships, academia, artistic projects, and even in training my dog.

Anyone who thinks they are a failure is to be commended in their life because failures have lived full lives. They have tried things and have explored without fear of loss. They have boldly proceeded forward knowing that whatever they are pursuing might not work out. They know that there are no guarantees in life but they try anyway.

Failure is progress.

Failure is self-discovery.

Failure is finding out what what’s out there.

Failure is genuine and authentic connection.

Failure is putting your heart into something even if there’s no guarantees.

Failure is bravery.

So I’d like you to indulge me and engage in a little bit of cognitive behavioral therapy here and flip some of the negative thoughts WE ALL HAVE about being a failure. Yeah. Even if you don’t admit it to me, you have to admit it to yourself so you might as well give this a shot.

I’d like you to come up with your own list of the good parts of failure are to you. In addition to the above, you might think of failure as entrepreneurial, open minded, exploratory, adventurous, or even resilient. I like that last one a lot. Write them all down on a sticky note in the format of “failure = .”

We must remind ourselves of these things because life will not. Life so often compounds and piles on all the bad stuff, so it just feels like it’s one thing after another. It’s up to us to fight within ourselves to maintain a healthy mindset that our failures are just a symptom of living full, authentic lives.

As I always say, if this coping skill (the sticky note thing) doesn’t work for you, find something that does. Find whatever that thing is that’s going to help you dig down and say, “If I wouldn’t say that to my friend, I am not going to allow myself to say that to myself either.”

Our failures are beautiful because they are the proof that we have lived fully, unfiltered, and boldly. We are wonderous creatures with scars that brandish and proclaim our undying hope and dedication to the pursuit of life itself. Don’t give that up.